Endangered Historic Sewickley Mansion
The future of the historic Sewickley Mansion at 202 Beaver St. will likely take a turn for the worse when the sale is slated to close Tuesday. The Presbyterian Church is purchasing the historic pink mansion with plans to raze the house to make way for a new youth & education center. The three-story mansion was originally built in the 1800s, which was later remodeled by Samuel Grant Cooper in 1914 with the help of architects Alden and Harlow. Most recently it belonged to the late Caroyln Coyle who had lived there with her husband and raised their children since the 1950s. Tom Graham, chairman of the church property committee said original plans called for refurbishing the Coyle house and using it for the youth building instead of building a new structure. An architect hired to evaluate the structure, however, determined the home’s condition is too poor to accomodate that use, Graham said. It would cost between $1.5 and $2 million in addition to the $825,000 purchase price to renovate and make the house usable for a youth center, Graham said. The home, to be converted for that use, would require the installation of two fireproof stair towers, an elevator, a sprinkler system and bathrooms serving all floors, he said. Melissa Farlow of Thorn Street said she’s never been one to get involved in issues, but in this case, she said she felt a strong need to do so. The home abuts her backyard, and she said it is significant to the community. “I came here because of the character and feel of this community,” said Farlow of Thorn Street, a National Geographic photographer. “It’s hard not to look at this building and realize what a gem it is.” Farlow said a group of residents is willing to raise the additional funds to cover extra renovation costs if that would mean salvaging a piece of town history.