Mexican War Streets House & Garden Tour celebrates 50 years
Deborah Israel and Dan Hosier plan to invite 1,200 people into their home Sunday.
The couple’s house is part of the 50th annual Mexican War Streets House & Garden Tour, held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The oldest such event in Pittsburgh will showcase self-guided tours of homes and gardens throughout the historic North Side neighborhood.
A dozen homes and two gardens will be featured on the tour, hosted by the Mexican War Streets Society. Founded in 1969, the non-profit organization promotes the community and works to preserve its historic character. The general boundaries of War Streets are Brighton Road to Federal Street and West North Avenue to Jefferson Street. Certain blocks are designated by the city as a historic district, which subjects the houses to preservation guidelines.
The map has arrived!
Be sure to check in at the Welcome booth on the Corner of Monterey Street & West North across from the YMCA this Sunday September 8th 11am- 5pm. Tickets are still available. pic.twitter.com/k9c27e9REH
— MexicanWarStsSociety (@MexWarStreets) September 3, 2019
Israel and Hosier have lived in the neighborhood for four years. They were asked to participate in past tours, but said the Garfield Avenue home wasn’t ready.
They now feel comfortable about showing it off after major renovations. They tore out walls, installed new windows, replaced the façade on the front of the house and created an amazing rooftop patio above the garage.
They incorporated artwork by neighbor Glenn Olcerst on the first floor.
Hosier, who works part time for the nearby National Aviary, used reclaimed lumber from other houses in the neighborhood for shelving and tables.
They preserved the wood floors and banisters from the home built somewhere in the 1860s or 70s. The couple purchased the place five years ago. When looking for a new home, he said he wanted a garage and a yard and she said she wanted to be able to see the skyline.
The couple moved to Pittsburgh from Champaign, Ill. “We both love being so close to the (Allegheny Commons) park,” said Israel, who was born at nearby Allegheny General Hospital, and whose mother attended the University of Pittsburgh. “And we always wanted to be part of the house tour, but our home wasn’t ready until this year.”
Israel said they love the welcoming nature of the neighborhood and she lauded the association, which hosts various events throughout the year in addition to the tour.
“We wanted to be a part of this house tour because we want people to see the neighborhood,” she said.
It’s such a unique neighborhood, her husband of 30 years said. The house tour has survived five decades because people see how cool and interesting the outsides of the houses are that they want to see what’s inside, he said. They are happy to open their front door.
“It’s always amazing to see the transformation that happens with an historic renovation,” said Leslie Vincen, the house tour coordinator for the Mexican War Streets Society. “Deb and Dan stayed true to the authentic details of this historic home, but added so many unique and contemporary touches that express their personal style. It’s chic and comfortable at the same time.”
Tickets are $20, $18 in advance.
Event sponsors include Horn Corp. Builders, Eisler Landscapes and Allegheny Millwork.
Note: There will be a Gold Party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mexican War Streets House & Garden Tour from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Mattress Factory, 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side. Tickets are $85, $75 in advance. VIP tickets are $125.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .