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Tour will feature historical homes, sites

| Thursday, April 20, 2006

To showcase historical homes and sites in the Connellsville area, Nancy Kollar, of Nancy's Fancy Tea Room, has organized a one-day tour as part of the city's Bicentennial Celebration.

"The mayor sent out a letter asking for businesses and organizations to do something for the bicentennial," Kollar said. "I thought of a house tour. I thought that a historical house tour would be something interesting for people to do."

The tour is scheduled for May 7. Transportation will be provided, allowing those attending to sit back, relax and enjoy the experience while learning a bit of the area's history.

"Every town has its history," Kollar said, "and here in Connellsville, we have a little more."

The tour will begin at noon at Nancy's Fancy Tea Room, 428 N. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville. Those attending may park in the lot adjacent to the tea room.

The vintage house, which was turned into a home and business by Kollar, will have numerous historical items displayed throughout, and will focus on the Melassanos family, who once resided there. Visitors may take the time to go through and enjoy the array of antiques and family treasures displayed. A light lunch is planned.

The bus will be boarded at 1:30 p.m., and proceed to the newly opened Gibson Stone House, at 217 W. Patterson Ave. This sandstone house, now owned by the Connellsville Area Historical Society, was once the home of the Gibson family. The Gibsons were important movers and shakers in Connellsville and the surrounding areas, she said. Some of the Gibsons' businesses included a saw mill, nail factory and grist mill, all of which contributed to the thriving economy of that era.

From the Gibson house, the tour will proceed to Col. William Crawford's Cabin, located near the Youghiogheny River. The cabin was authentically recreated and dedicated on June 20, 1976, in time for the United States' bicentennial. Crawford was a well-known soldier, surveyor and pioneer of the frontier.

At the Gibson Stone House and Crawford's Cabin, brief historical presentations will be given by members of the Connellsville Area Historical Society.

The bus will then depart for the Lint home in Dawson, formerly the Cochran House. This stately Victorian mansion was built by coke baron James Cochran and remained in the Cochran family until it was purchased by Eugene and Patty Lint. The Lints restored the home to its original splendor. It boasts eight fireplaces, four bedrooms and an oriental room with leather ceiling and elaborate and intricate teak woodwork. Period antiques help to accentuate the splendor of this masterpiece.

The Lints will be on hand to greet guests and give a tour of their home. Light refreshments will be served as well.

From this point, the bus will depart to its final destination, the Victorian Rose Bed and Breakfast, in Leisenring.

Sporting one of the finest views in the area, the bed and breakfast sits high on a hill. The surrounding grounds make for a splendid and quiet visit.

Built in 1886, it was the home of the mining bosses of Leisenring No. 1 Mine, which was owned by the H.C. Frick Coal and Coke Co. The home remained housing for the bosses until 1953, when it was purchased by owner George Zubeck's parents. Zubeck and his wife, Dianna, have run it as a bed and breakfast since 2001.

One of the bedrooms features an antique canopied bed used in the recent filming of an independent movie featuring George Washington. The actor portraying Washington was filmed in the bed and also had his "death scene" there, George Zubeck said.

George Zubeck is proud of this historic addition to their bed and breakfast, and jokes that "now I can add to our Web site that George Washington slept here and died here."

For the tour, George Zubeck will appear in period attire and give a brief history of the home and surrounding area. Memorabilia from area families and mines will be displayed.

Returning to the tea room, the tour will conclude at 5:30 p.m.

"I hope that the Connellsville community and people from other areas as well will enjoy this tour," Kollar said. "It will be interesting to see and hear all about the homes from a historical standpoint."

Cost of the tour is $15 per person, which includes the light lunch, transportation and refreshments. Seating is limited. For information or reservations, call 724-628-0173.

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