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Old Edgeworth home will be moved, not demolished

| Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, 12:27 p.m.

The new owner of a century-old stone Edgeworth home that some say is historic will move the structure instead of tearing it down.

Rebecca Whitlinger, a spokeswoman for the owner, Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, said Monday by email, “After an exhaustive review with his team, and at a great expense to Mr. Tull, the home will not be deconstructed. Instead, it will be carefully relocated to another prominent site on the property.”

Under the name Three Rivers Trust, Tull, who is partial owner of the Steelers, purchased the property Nov. 14 from Harlan and Cynthia Giles for $5.5 million, according to Allegheny County real estate records. He plans to build a home for his family there.

Representatives for Tull applied Dec. 4 for a demolition permit, then requested an extension on the permit to Jan. 15 in order to submit plans to the borough engineer.

Millcraft Development Services is the development representative for Tull, and Mosites Construction was selected as construction manager for the project, Whitlinger said.

Lucas Piatt of Millcraft Development wasn't available for comment.

Representatives of the Sewickley Valley Historical Society and concerned citizens vowed to fight plans to demolish the former Walker family estate, built in 1904 by William and Jane Walker.

Historical society Executive Director Harton Semple told Edgeworth council recently that the home known as “Muottas” is a treasure that should be preserved. The home was built the year the borough was established and was made from stone from the property, he said.

He described the house as an “organic, elemental house sprung from the land itself.”

Whitlinger said Tull instead will construct a home “more suitable for a 21st-century family with young children.”

Two other homes with history in the Sewickley Valley were demolished in the borough: steel tycoon B.F. Jones' estate, built in 1899, came down in 1991, and the Thomas Leet Shields house was razed in 2002.

The Walker home cannot be viewed from public access points.

The home and several photos are included in “Historic Houses of Sewickley Valley” by Stephen Neal Dennis, and Margaret Henderson Floyd's book, “Architecture After Richardson.”

Bobby Cherry is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-324-1408 or rcherry@tribweb.com.

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