Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 153 Trains & House Tours/Allegheny West

Holmes Hall
The  Allegheny West Neighborhood  consists of only eight blocks on the North Side of Pittsburgh but it’s rich in history with several  restored Victorian homes from the 1800’s.  I learned  some new things about   Pittsburgh’s past  and  discovered  a vast private toy train collection when I helped as a guide for  my friend whose home was part of the Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour. A house tour is  an intimate way to explore architecture  and  lifestyles of the past and present.

Calvary United Methodist Church

There were mansions to modest homes on the tour. The tour started at Calvary United Methodist Church with its French Gothic deign  and  its impressive  Tiffany windows. Some homes preserved the Victorian historical d├ęcor  and others, in contrast, had a modern design. Nevertheless, what struck me the most was that the home owners appreciated the home's past. Although their renovations changed the interior, they  realized  that they were  just the caretaker  of these historical buildings that were standing long before they owned them.
White and Black Scandinavian Design

The last mansion, Holmes Hall, had  beautiful walnut woodwork, a carved walnut staircase, hand painted ceiling murals and a ball room!  Notwithstanding all  this, it housed  a  private train collection. There were two (2) floors of  rare toy trains from floor to ceiling. You saw trains, trains and more trains! My father who builds model trains appreciated this rare collection, confiding  that many of the trains in the collection were ones that he had only read about in his train books!  This private  collection is open to the public  two (2) times a year- on the Christmas tour and on the up-coming  Allegheny West Home & Garden Tour  in June 2016.

Enjoying  the Toy Train Collection at Holmes Hall with dad
House tours are  a visual of the past and their 100 year survival is a reminder  that we are just passing through the time line. Try  one of these  up- coming  tours  in 2016: Allegheny West Home and Garden Tour (June 2016) Observatory Hill (June  6, 2016), Brighton Heights  (June 12, 2016), Manchester (August, 2016), Mexican War Streets (September,2016), Deutchtown (Fall, 2016) and  the next  Allegheny West Victorian House Christmas Tour (Dec 9 & 10, 2016).

Lionel  Trains- floor to ceiling 
Being a  tour guide

Spiritual Reflection
How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then its gone. (James 4: 14)

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