St. Barnabas officials have big plans for newly purchased Treesdale Manor
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Treesdale Manor in Pine Township — the sprawling former estate of oil magnate and apple grower Joseph Clifton Trees, and his wife, Edith Lehm Trees — recently traded hands in a purchase that could help people like the couple's late, only child.
That child — Joe Benedum Trees, who died in 2011 at age 79 — faced life with severe mental disability, reportedly stemming from oxygen deprivation at birth.
People with similar disabilities now benefit from programs supported by the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust, recipient of the $9.98 million paid Oct. 15 by the St. Barnabas Land Trust for 205-acre Treesdale Manor at 660 Warrendale Road.
“We plan to change the name to Trees Manor,” said Robin Taylor, spokeswoman for the St. Barnabas Health System.
The property features a Mediterranean-style mansion built in the early 1900s.
“St. Barnabas plans to restore the mansion,” Taylor said.
St. Barnabas Health System officials also plan to preserve the stately trees that line the property's frontage on Warrendale Road and use the mansion for special events. The acreage eventually will be used for housing for senior citizens, said Taylor, who added that there also could be clinical facilities built on the land.
Proceeds from the sale will benefit more than 80 organizations that serve those with intellectual challenges, according to Bradley Dean of PNC Bank, an administrator of the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust.
Those 80 organizations include the Verland Foundation in Ohio Township; Clelian Heights in Hempfield Township, Westmoreland County; and ACHIEVA, based on the South Side of Pittsburgh.
“The Trees family did a lot of philanthropy ... they really left a great legacy and tried to care for people and that is so similar to the mission of St. Barnabas — of trying to help people,” said Taylor, of the St. Barnabas Health System.
“One of the things that Edith Trees did was set up this trust to help people who had mental disabilities,” Taylor said. “One of the things St. Barnabas does is also help people at the end of their lives who are having trouble with mental disabilities, whether they have dementia or autism. “
Trustees of the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust auctioned the contents of Treesdale Manor's mansion before they sold the estate.
“There were paintings. Oriental carpets. Everything like that was all auctioned off,” Taylor said. “There's one chandelier that's still there.
“The mansion and property were bought as is,” Taylor said. “In the main function room, there are still curtains hanging, but it's been stripped of a lot of what it looked like originally.”
For decades, the mansion at Treesdale Manor served as the late Joe Benedum Trees' refuge and home to his live-in caretakers.
“He was autistic,” Taylor said. “The caretakers — some looked on him as if he was a son because they had been with him for 20 years at a time. He had round-the-clock care.”
Joe Benedum Trees was the third son of Joseph Clifton Trees, who died in 1943 and married Edith Lehm in 1929 after the death of this first wife, Claudine Willison.
Joseph Clifton Trees and Willison had two sons, who both died in tragic circumstances. Son Joseph Gram Trees was an aviator killed in World War I. Son Merle Trees was 10 when he stepped off a streetcar in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood and was killed by a passing motorist.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Photo Gallery: Marshall Township Easter egg hunt
- Hillside repairs to cost $35K more than expected
- Six NA students finalists in Musical Kids competition
- Absenteeism of North Hills School Board member causes concern
- West View schedules neighborhood cleanup day for April 26
- Student activity fee at Pine-Richland could be raised
- Pine-Richland officials look to improve curriculum consistency
- All that Jazz Shaler North Hills Library hosting concert
- Hampton considers adding guidance counselor at high school
- Shaler sets summer paving plan
- Shaler OKs green overlay district to promote riverfront