House tour reflects ‘Roaring Twenties’ affluence and grandeur
Organizers of Westmoreland Historical Society’s annual historic house tour don’t plan the featured sites around a theme, but somehow, one usually seems to emerge.
“When we start asking the homeowners, very frequently one falls into place,” says Lisa Hays, the society’s executive director. “I don’t know how it happens.”
This year, all five tour locations date back to the early 20th century, having been built between 1907 and 1927.
“Those of us born in the 20th century think, ‘Can these really be historical houses?’” Hays says. “But when you think about it, they’re over 100 years old.”
“After WWI — the war to end all wars — there was a spirit of optimism and affluence that led to the Roaring Twenties. Some of the houses reflect that grandeur and exuberance,” Hays wrote in the tour release. “All display the work of the architects and craftsmen that were working at that time.”
They also reflect the personalities of the owners, both past and present.
“These older homes are so much more interesting (than their modern counterparts),” Hays says. “The current owners have kept so many of the original features.”
Set for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 14, the self-guided tour includes five homes in various architectural styles in the vicinity of Greensburg and Latrobe.
Ennis Hall, former Henry Coulter House
The Tudor Revival-style structure on Mt. Thor Road in Hempfield dates to 1922-23 and was designed for Henry Welty Coulter, a secretary for the former Greensburg Coal and Coke Co. and a founder of the Westmoreland Hunt.
The 2½-story house was constructed of local stone with a slate roof. The original estate included stables for Coulter’s horses.
The Coulter family passed ownership of the property to the Sisters of Charity in 1944. Ennis Hall is now used for their housing. Its matching carriage house is now called Marian Hall.
Regina House, formerly called Skara Glen
The 26-room residence on Mt. Thor Road was commissioned by brother and sister William A. and Margaret Coulter and dates to 1927. It is built of brick and stone in the Tudor Gothic style and has a gabled roof with slate shingles.
The home’s interior features the lightly rounded arches, shallow moldings and extensive wood paneling characteristic of the period. A carriage house, servants’ residence, gatehouse, walled courtyard and gazebo completed the estate.
The circa-1912 foursquare brick house sits on an elevated corner lot in Greensburg’s Academy Hill historic district. It features architectural details of both the Colonial Revival and Craftsman styles.
Interior features include a herringbone-patterned wood floor in the foyer and plaster moldings.
The original owner sold the house in 1919 to Michael Manos, a Greek immigrant who founded a chain of theaters in Greensburg, Latrobe, Jeannette and West Virginia — one of which now houses Greensburg’s Palace Theatre.
George and Rose Seiler House
Businessman George Seiler built the red brick-clad home on Latrobe Crabtree Road in 1923 for his second wife, Rose Weis, and called it “Rosina.” Seiler was a president of Latrobe Ice and Provisional Co. and builder of Mozart Hall in downtown Latrobe.
The home on the banks of the Loyalhanna Creek features prominent dormers with Craftsman-style windows, three chimneys and a gable-roofed hood above the front door.
The present owners expanded the home in 2009, while preserving the character and integrity of the original design.
Mason Welty House
Industrialist and entrepreneur Mason Welty built the home on East Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg in 1907 from plans by local architectural firm Truxell & Kline. The brick house is characteristic of the then-popular Colonial Revival style.
Key design elements include a broad front porch with smooth columns, symmetric dormers, a sweeping staircase and large rooms and wide central halls on each floor. The substantial foundation is constructed of stone from Welty’s own quarry.
Advance tour tickets at $25 are available at 724-836-1800, ext. 210; by email at [email protected]; online at westmorelandhistory.org; or in the shop in the History Education Center at Historic Hanna’s Town, 809 Forbes Trail Road, Hempfield.
Ticket-holders will receive a map with directions to each location and a keepsake booklet with historical information and photos.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .