One day recently, I got to go through the beautiful house at the corner of Cedar Avenue and East North Avenue that Justin and Keili Mistovich bought in June. It is one of Deutschtown’s most elegant Victorians and was vacant for more than 30 years.
The house at 1010 Cedar is destined to become the Allegheny Inn, a bed and breakfast just across from Allegeny General Hospital, where Justin is an orthopedic surgeon. Keili is doing her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital. They live nearby on Arch Street in the Central Northside.
They and their crew of family and friends spent the summer cleaning and filling five Dumpsters with detritis left behind from when the place was an apartment building. “Lots of bees and wasps and 100-year-old dirt,” Keili said.
As we walked from room to room examining moulding, dainty little shutters, old wall paper, exposed brick and original lathing, I felt cold drafts as sharp as the rays the sun makes and thought: ghosts.
“Walk close to the wall,” Justin said as I began ascending one of the staircases. I had my hand on the dusty stair rail and realized why it moved. In places, the posts were barely attached to the stairs.
It’s always fascinating to be inside an old building, especially one that has been closed up for decades. It’s a kind of time capsule of absences that you fill in with mental images of people from times past, the things they used and the way they did most of the same things we do.
These two old stoves in the photos are among the leavings. They look to be from the ‘30s or ‘40s.
People often say “if walls could talk” to imply that the walls would reveal scandal. If walls could talk to me, I’d want to hear the everyday stuff.
When 1010 Cedar is a five-unit B&B, the Allegeny Inn will have whatever original parts could be salvaged, including ceiling medalions and hearth parts, Justin said.
During a ceremony in July, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and city Councilwoman Darlene Harris both expressed their appreciation.
“Thumbs up to you guys,” said the mayor. “People passing by here are thinking, ‘Is something finally going to happen with that building?’ The fact that two people my age are doing this is exciting.”
“Thank you so much for having the vision to do this building,” said the councilwoman. “I’ve seen it in beautiful condition and I’ve seen it at its worst.”
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