Hays family restoring Munhall mansion in hopes of lifting condemnation
Community volunteers and the Hays family have worked over the past two weekends to restore the historic Hays Mansion in Munhall.
They are trying to save the house from demolition. Munhall council will decide on Wednesday night whether or not to rescind a condemnation order.
“I can't see any reason why they wouldn't (rescind),” Hays relative Jim Deibel said.
The maintenance has included painting the exterior of the garage, kitchen, main porch and first-floor windows, and interior painting of the Great Room and the study. Lattice above the porch was reconstructed and the rooms were cleaned.
McClaren's Bar in Munhall provided lunches for the volunteers.
Joe McKay of JB Landscaping in Baldwin has been working on the property.
“I'd like to give thanks for the effort put forth between family members and volunteers in the last month,” Deibel said. “This is all so we can show the borough how serious we are about rescinding the condemnation.”
Council vice president Rob Falce toured the mansion on April 7.
“It looks nice, but it still needs a lot of work in my honest opinion,” he said. “I think it's savable. I'm a supporter and I see a possibility for it to be something again. Some of council may disagree with me on that. I'd hate to lose it.”
Riverboat captain Abraham Hays built the mansion in 1832 to replace his flooded home, according to documents from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. It served as a station on the Underground Railroad. Slaves traveled through a tunnel from the Monongahela River to the home's basement.
Fugitive slaves were transported to the area by Hays riverboat captains during coal mining operations on the Mississippi River.
The Hays family has a purchase agreement with the mansion's owner, Riverbend LLC founder Mark Draper of Rockville, Md.
Last November, councilors said the Hays Mansion was condemned because Draper has been promising to fix it up for too many years without action, and the home's dilapidated state interefered with another development.
Deibel said he learned of the mansion's existence only last year, and that he since has found 415 of Hays' descendents.
The Abraham Hays Foundation was started by decendents to carry on the family's heritage.
Information is available online at www.abrahamhaysfoundation.org.
Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.