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Every year since 1988, folks in the part of Pittsburgh called Lawrenceville have organized an annual opportunity to wander in and out of local houses. They call this event "a self-guided tour through Pittsburgh's first neighborhood."

On October 24, 2004, thirteen houses were open for consideration, and once you got a ticket ($8 in advance, $10 on the day of the tour), you were free to make your own path among the unusual
residences in this historical, quirky and increasingly popular

Our WQED crew got to only a few of the featured homes in the course of a very busy Sunday. Kitty Julian, one of the tour organizers, was our guide, and she suggested we start at the home of Francine Gemperle & Ben Hartlage on Main Street. Francine and Ben showed us up and down their slim, tall and handsome, three-story Victorian (built in 1892), and they showed us how they have tried to restore some of the structure’s original dignity.

Next we went to what’s sometimes called the Mowry Mansion, one of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood (1830s), and one of Pittsburgh’s best examples of Greek Revival architecture. Local architect Keith Cochran has owned the place since 2004 and plans to clean it up and restore some of its beautiful aspects, hoping eventually to have his office here.

Our final stop on our abbreviated version of this Lawrenceville Hospitality House Tour was at the home of Jason and Darien Lewandowski, a young couple who moved to Pittsburgh recently and who were delighted to find such a distinguished Italianate structure (from the late 1850s) ready to be scrubbed, painted and revived.

Click on the button to hear Francine and Ben explain how they're making Lawrenceville "greener."


They call the Lawrenceville House a Labor of Love!

Did you know that Frank “The Riddler” Gorshin was born in Lawrenceville? Find out lots of stuff from the Lawrenceville Historical Society.

Lawrenceville is just a very cool neighborhood
. . . attracting lots of arty businesses and residents.

Once you’re on the House Tour, you’re always on the House Tour.

Hungry? Here’s a possibility, a place we visited in Pittsburgh A To Z where L is for Lipinski in Lawrenceville.

The best portrait of Pittsburgh on the web: the blog from Tunesmith & Anthony. These guys are GREAT and truly funny. But thoughtful too. And they write sometimes about Bloomfield and Lawrenceville. Start with Anthony on sandwiches and just wander from there.

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