Save This Old House: Pennsylvania Federal Style
This nearly 200-year-old sturdy house has four bedrooms and is zoned for commercial and residential use
Published October 2012
Location: West Newton, Penn.
Contact: Patrick Shattuck, 412-464-4000
It seems crazy that a sturdy, nearly 200-year-old house built by a celebrated veteran of the War of 1812 who became an influential state senator could almost be demolished. But that's precisely what happened a few years back when the Borough of West Newton couldn't find a buyer for the house that John C. Plumer built for himself and his new bride, Elizabeth, on the banks of the Youghiogheny River in 1814. Thankfully, a local nonprofit snatched up the 2,000-square-foot house, giving the place a second chance. Now the group is hoping a knight in shining tool belt will turn it into a home, a business, or both.
Shown: The Federal-style clapboard house was built in 1814. The owner doubled its size with a brick addition (on the right) in 1846.
The four-bedroom, one-bath house boasts Federal-style millwork, wide-plank flooring, exposed brick walls, built-ins, and mantels. Located downtown, it's zoned for commercial and residential use and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Though the house sat vacant for the past three years, the structure is in pretty good shape. The roof, replaced in the 1980s, is sound; the plumbing and electrical systems work, but the furnace needs updating. Easements require owners to seek approval for exterior alterations. West Newton is a quaint town 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, with a newly revitalized Main Street. It's just waiting for someone to come and restore one of its oldest and most treasured houses.
A brick smokehouse remains out back.
The main staircase retains its hand-turned balustrade.
A back staircase runs from the first floor to the attic.
Two first-floor parlors can be divided with the original folding doors.