Tour of historic Tarentum landmarks to mark borough's 175th year
Tarentum has accumulated plenty of landmarks in its 175-year history.
And on Saturday, those landmarks will have stories to tell.
A bus tour of 15 Tarentum historic landmarks will start at 10 a.m. at Riverview Park's snack shack.
Hostess and local historian Cindy Homburg will guide those taking the journey to the landmarks, and narrate the backgrounds of each.
"The tour will take approximately two hours," Homburg said. "We will be able to go into some, but not all, of the landmarks."
One stop will be the Malarkey House on East 10th Avenue, built in 1892 and now the home of the Paz, Paz and Paz law office.
"It was the Walters Funeral Home from the 1940s until our family bought it in '84," said attorney John Paz. "I knew it was a very old building. We didn't buy it for its history, but we've restored it."
Paz has installed Willliamsburg-style historic wallpaper prints, enclosed the front porch and placed furniture to complement the French Empire-era architecture.
The old dining room has been restored as a conference room.
"There would be a button to summon the maid," Paz said. "There was a ballroom on the third floor, and there was a stairway to the roof."
The Malarkey House brick was provided by the McFetridge Brick Co. of Creighton.
"The place is gorgeous," Homburg said. "After the Malarkey family built it, they went out West, but returned to Tarentum."
Other buildings with historic landmark designation plaques include the Pollock Masonic Lodge on Lock Street, built in 1907.
The lodge was named after District Deputy Grand Master Alexander M. Pollock.
"It's about the only landmark still used for the reason it was built," Homburg said.
One of the other landmarks is the Lardin House Hotel, located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Wood Street.
One of Tarentum's earliest hotels, it was built in 1864 by Daniel Lardin.
Notable guests there included President William Howard Taft, frontiersman Kit Carson and temperance advocate Carrie Nation, who lectured an audience at the Tarentum Free Methodist Church on the sins of alcohol and smoking.
John B. Ford, founder of the American plate glass industry and Ford City borough, stayed at the Lardin House once he found that the sand on the banks of the Allegheny River was conducive to glass making.
Other stops on the tour will include the Tarentum railroad station; the old trolley and bus barn that now is the home of Highland Tire; the old YMCA; the Grandview Elementary School, formerly Tarentum High School; the Chapman Drug Store, corner of Lock and Fifth; the Kennedy Bank at Lock and Fifth; the Humes House on East Ninth; the Kennedy House on Lock Street; the Riverview Park monument; the blockhouse where Bull Creek meets the Allegheny River and the historic designation of Tarentum's founder, Judge Henry Marie Brackenridge, at the First Commonwealth Bank, corner of East Sixth and Corbet.
The tour is part of Tarentum's 175th anniversary celebration.
George Guido is a freelance writer.