| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Elizabeth Twp. Howell house finally gets its historical due

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, 3:41 a.m.

Aleda Menchyk should have far less trouble receiving deliveries now.

A few weeks back, her uncle Herbert Howell, owner of Howell Craft Inc., decided it was time to place a proper monument outside her house, which is nestled on the edge of the woods along Simpson Howell Road in Elizabeth Township.

After all, the home, built around 1870, has remained in the Howell family since their ancestor Col. Philip Howell purchased it from a land speculator in 1796.

“Herb decided we needed this,” said Menchyk, 65, a minister at Calvin United Presbyterian Church in Brownsville. “The whole world was always saying, ‘We can't find your house!' The UPS man was always driving by.”

The sandstone monument not only prominently displays the street address, but tells a brief history of the property that has stayed in the hands of Howell's descendents for at least six generations. The estate once covered more than 300 acres. The family still owns 56 acres, a tract that includes Menchyk's home, the Howell Craft business and Howell's nearby house.

“We had a big family reunion here (in August) and we put it up a few days before that,” said Howell, who turns 85 on Wednesday.

He said the marker is a birthday present of sorts to himself and his sister, Norma Walker, who turned 84 on Sunday.

It's part of a massive restoration project that Menchyk has been overseeing since she inherited the house in 1985.

“Most of the work has been since 2011,” said Menchyk, who has had a lot of hired help. “It basically had to be gutted and redone, but a lot of the inside looks like it's original. I wanted it to look as much like it used to as I could.”

Although the entire close-knit family is proud of her progress, Menchyk said she had to stop short of restoring it too accurately.

“If I was going to be really authentic, it would still have to have a slight roof and a kitchen outside,” she said with a laugh. “And you'd have to walk up over the hill to use the bathroom.”

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or



Show commenting policy

Most-Read McKeesport

  1. Port Vue upgrades office equipment
  2. McKeesport OKs taking vacant homes via eminent domain
  3. C-SPAN bus brings lessons to McKeesport Area students
  4. Duquesne teachers, district reach tentative agreement
  5. W. Elizabeth council mulls replacing damaged garage
  6. Melocchi pleads guilty to leading McKeesport gambling ring
  7. Coalition kicks off effort to revamp education funding
  8. Musical fundraiser carries across generations
  9. Lincoln Way widening project behind schedule
  10. McKeesport man charged with sexually assaulting girl, 11
  11. McKeesport council considers amending adult business ordinance
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.