Elvis is leaving the building in Lower Burrell
Mickey DePellegrin's house doesn't sit at the end of Lonely Street, but it's sort of become “Heartbreak Hotel” for him.
DePellegrin, 58, of Lower Burrell is known by most Lower Burrell residents and a lot of people throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley as “that guy who looks like Elvis.”
A loyal fan of the iconic “King of Rock 'N Roll,” Elvis Presley, since 1968, he cultivated the Elvis look with the rising wave hairstyle. He even performed as an Elvis lookalike.
But even neighbors who don't know him probably know his white, Cape Cod house.
It sits just below the Route 56 bypass not far from the intersection with Leechburg Road in Lower Burrell.
It's the one with “Elvis” spelled out in pink shingles on the roof. He and his wife, Brenda, have lived there for 38 years but have decided to sell it.
“I love it here,” DePellegrin said. “I love this house. We're both going to be sad to leave it.
“There's a lot of memories here,” he said. “Thirty-eight years is a long time to live here.”
The DePellegrins are selling it because both of them have encountered health problems that make home ownership difficult especially since the house is on a sloping lot.
He said Brenda had a stroke after they returned from a trip West last year and some other problems.
“My wife has become ill and she is losing her balance a lot,” DePellegrin said.
He has problems with his feet and ankles.
“My feet are getting bad,” DePellegrin said. “The right foot I broke in a coal mine back in 1978, and they didn't set it right. I can't bend my ankle much.”
Those problems resulted in him retiring on disability from his last occupation, a baker who worked at Shop 'N Save, now Community Market, in Lower Burrell and Giant Eagle in Buffalo Township.
“I can't cut the grass, I can't plant flowers any more,” DePellegrin said, the sadness evident in his voice. “I can't really do anything because of the incline of the hill.”
They are planning to move into an apartment once they sell the house.
His real estate agent, Carol Lipanot, said, “Everybody knows the house. Of course, he is heartbroken that he has to sell the house after 38 years,” she said. “You don't spell out ‘Elvis' on the roof unless you're planning to die there.”
She said if the three-quarter-acre lot the house is on was not sloped, the DePellegrins wouldn't be selling it. The house has an eat-in kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms and a bath and was put on the market about 10 days ago for $52,000, she said.
Lipanot hopes the house's status as an unofficial landmark will attract interest from prospective home buyers.
“I know this house is a landmark,” DePellegrin said. “Every time the steel trucks pass by, the drivers tell me they say, ‘We're passing Graceland.'”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.