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Sewickley

Quaker Valley weighing options for Edgeworth mansion

| Monday, Jan. 22, 2018, 11:00 p.m.
The stone, Colonial-Revival style home, constructed in 1904 for the Walker family and known locally as the Muottas, is located on the Edgeworth property in a spot Quaker Valley school leaders said makes it impossible to build around.
Sewickley Valley Historical Society
The stone, Colonial-Revival style home, constructed in 1904 for the Walker family and known locally as the Muottas, is located on the Edgeworth property in a spot Quaker Valley school leaders said makes it impossible to build around.

A modern Quaker Valley High School could have some historic touches in the form of a century-old manse located on a likely site for the new building.

A stone, Colonial-Revival style home, constructed in 1904 for the Walker family and known locally as the Muottas, is located on the Edgeworth property in a spot school leaders said makes it impractical to build around.

Superintendent Heidi Ondek and school board President Sarah Heres said the district is committed to honoring the home's history and has been in talks with the Sewickley Valley Historical Society.

Ondek said the district wants to “do the right thing with this historic home that happens to be in the way, but could be repurposed perhaps, (we are) certainly exploring all creative options.”

Certain features of the home could be incorporated into a new high school, said Harton Semple, historical society president. He noted that the library is particularly striking, featuring a mural.

However, there won't be any immediate decisions regarding the home. Quaker Valley has an option to buy the land and home for up to $7.5 million from Three Rivers Trust. The sale isn't yet finalized, but officials last week said they hope to close soon.

Business leader William Walker and his wife Jane, commissioned Muottas by famed architects Alden and Harlow, built with locally quarried stone. Several family members had homes constructed nearby.

“The Walkers were community-minded and generous, and their legacy is in their heirs who continue to assist the community,” Semple said.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation issued a plaque for the home in 1995 which recognizes it as part of local history but does not bestow special preservation protections.

Moving the 10,000-square-foot home — again — isn't a likely scenario.

Billionaire businessman Thomas Tull had the residence moved closer to Camp Meeting Road in 2016 to make way for a new residence for him and his family.

He later opted not to build on the property.

Ondek said experts advise “it's structurally risky to move again,” and that district officials have been talking with those in the community to weigh the options.

“The conversations are very fruitful and very positive and constructive around really honoring the history,” Ondek said.

Kimberly Palmiero is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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