Elizabeth Twp. Howell house finally gets its historical due
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 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.
- Brass plaque stolen from McKeesport veterans memorial
- Steel Valley district’s coaches keep their jobs