March 1, 2019

Preservation Personals: A Riverside Retreat Outside Pittsburgh

  • By: Emma Sarappo
The street view of the John C. Plumer house. Its exterior is protected by a preservation easement.

photo by: Christa Ross

West Newton, Pennsylvania 15089.

If you’re looking to restore a property with a unique pedigree, I’m the right choice. You’ll have to put in some funds to return me to my 19th-century glory, but with a listing price of $55,000 and the potential to turn me into a lucrative business, I’m a steal in the long run. Trust me: At the ripe age of 205, I know all about the long run.

My original wooden side was finished in 1814, but my larger brick addition didn’t make its debut until 1846. Today, both sides give me over 2,700 square feet of available space in nine rooms.

My first owner, John C. Plumer, was an early European inhabitant of the area. He built me after his service during the War of 1812 as a retreat for himself and his new bride on the bank of the Youghiogheny River. I’ve been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, and thanks to the hard work of multiple preservation groups in West Newton, I have an easement protecting my exterior in perpetuity.

Don’t worry about restrictions, though: I’m zoned as commercial and residential, so once you’ve fixed me up, the possibilities for my interior are endless. I’m right next to downtown West Newton’s business district, and just across a bridge from the Youghiogheny River Trail, a recreational space that brings thousands of enthusiasts and bikers traveling the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., right past me. I could be a bed-and-breakfast, a local event space, a general store—or I could just be your own private home, conveniently located next to town and to the great outdoors.

For more information, check out my listing. Looking for a different kind of home? See others on our historic real estate site.

The upstairs of the John C. Plumer house is full of details ready to be restored.

photo by: Christa Ross

My riverside location was great for my first owner, John C. Plumer, who owned mills across town.

A room inside the John C. Plumer house.

photo by: Christa Ross

I'm zoned residential and commercial, so this space could become just about anything you'd like.

Emma Sarappo is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She can be found writing or in the kitchen of her century-old DC rowhouse.

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