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Holiday Home Tour hosted Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art

Dawn Law
| Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

The annual Holiday Home Tour hosted by the auxiliary of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley is definitely not a well-kept local secret.

A quick survey Saturday at the museum found that many of the tour-goers picking up pamphlets, raffle tickets and more than a few scrumptious holiday cookies were from Pittsburgh, Washington County and even farther afield.

Margaret Mathis said she travels from Maine every year to take the tour with her daughter-in-law, Leslie McKee , of Bentleyville. Accompanying them were other Washington County residents, Dawn Tomsic and Cindy Conner.

Marge Petrusko and her daughter Julia, both of Pittsburgh, made a birthday gift of the tour to Marge's sister, Berenice Jones, of Export.

They and more than 200 others visited the Ligonier-area homes of Bill and Glenda Dickson, Allen and Beth Wallish and Tom and Kristin Mizikar, along with the Reintgen home and antique shop in the heart of the borough.

Sending folks merrily on their way were auxiliary President Sharon Vito and raffle committee chairwoman Joyce Collins, along with Chris Stouffer, Jill Pifferetti and Marie Emanuel. Also on hand was site coordinator Sommer Toffle with hubby Barrett Goddard.

Also seen: Jim and Maggie Bierer and Heather Bierer, all of Pittsburgh; Joe and Karen Bierer of New Alexandria; and Craig and Sherri Koehnke of West Mifflin.

-- Shirley McMarlin

Academy Hill Holiday

People didn't seem to mind that it looked -- but didn't feel -- like Christmas on Dec. 4 for Greensburg's Academy Hill Holiday Tour of Homes.

The sun was shining, and temperatures climbed to the mid-60s during teas and tours throughout the day, which began at Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

Sarah Distefanis, with her daughter, Brianna, led a tour that began in the stucco-clad 1890 log cabin owned by David and Vivian Lauffer on O'Hara Street. The house, called the Honeymoon Cottage by the Huffs, was part of the Huff family estate, now the YWCA. Vivian served scones she'd baked in a cast-iron oven from 1915.

The procession moved on to a Colonial Revival on North Maple Street owned by Jack Burger. The home has a silver safe that works with a reset combination, and original wallpaper from 1909. Burger has lived in the home since the 1970s and is seeking English tile for roof repairs that are part of an ongoing restoration. "It's a labor of love -- either that, or you've got to be nuts," Burger said.

It was "love at first sight" for Kevin Patrick when he saw his Colonial Revival built in 1910, just up the street. The wood floors gleam, and the walls are deep blue and soothing gray. In honor of early occupant Samuel Sorber, a picture of the attorney and his family hangs in the parlor.

Gene and Janet James ' 1905 Neoclassical Revival, also on North Maple, shows the fondness original occupants Charles and Lucie Hollingsworth had for literature and the law, as indicated by images in the stained glass windows. Book shelves line the walls on either side of the fireplaces in the living room and adjacent room. An annunciator, a device used to indicate the room where a servant was needed, still hangs in the kitchen.

The newest home on the tour, Ashley Nye 's 1919 Colonial/Georgian Revival on North Main Street, was designed by Paul Bartholomew. The home features a cheery painted black-and-white checked entryway, sunny breakfast nook and distressed wood furnishings.

A spiral staircase on the inside, or a three-tier deck on the outside, leads to a stone-walled entertainment area in Paul and Linda Bieterman 's 1906 Colonial Revival on North Main. One room has a sunken floor with a fireplace, and steps climb to the other, which is filled with natural light from large windows.

"These old homes, sometimes they're a money pit," Paul Bieterman said. But he and his wife, like the other owners, think the money and effort are worth the character, history and location.

-- Dawn Law

Photo Galleries

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December Out & About

Out & About December 2011

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