An Older Home in Beaver Examined
by Eleanor Stout Courtney
Many homes in Beaver, Pennsylvania, are over 100 years old and their classic exteriors are admired by residents and visitors. One such home is at 922 Second Street, built in 1895, still covered by its original slate roof after 123 years. In 1900 a picture was taken of this home, then the residence of a minister. Present owners are Joe and Mary Rubino.
My memories of this home go back to the 1930s when my family lived at 952 Second Street. The 922 red brick home with its football field front porch was unoccupied. To the neighborhood children it was The Haunted House. With excitement and daring we played in the largest backyard in the neighborhood, sometimes sneaking to its back porch to peer in the kitchen window. On days that we felt the most adventuresome we slipped around the side of the house where steps lead to the big front porch. Cautiously looking in these windows, we admired the gas lit chandeliers, the down stairs fireplaces, the elegant staircase. There was no electricity in the house and a pump was on a kitchen counter.
A surprise of my young life was when, in the late 1930s, my daddy bought this lovely home. We all shared in the excitement of restoring this house, wallpapering most of the rooms, removing the pump on a kitchen counter. I remember the original bedroom assignments, the nursery for my two-year- old brother which eventually became my mother’s sewing room. Four more bedrooms accommodated the family, another fireplace in my parents’ room.
The huge dining room has a bay window and accommodated our holiday crowds of over 20 relatives, the fourteen grandchildren, children of mine and my siblings, at their own table, making memories that have lasted a lifetime. My high school diaries indicate that we used the living room fireplace often. The house has two other fireplaces. We lived with a coal furnace for years before converting to gas. In the back of the house is an entry to the basement where we had a washing machine with a gadget where we fed the clothes to rinse them. Clothes were hung in the basement or outside. My mother insisted that the clothes be hung in order, the socks together, the underwear sharing the same area and the sheets very carefully hung. Most laundry clothes including sheets were ironed. The house had a built-in ironing board at the bottom of the back stairway designed so the servants would not use the other staircase. We had no servants or cleaning help. All the children had assignments to keep our home clean.
Third floors are a plus in older Beaver homes. Our third floor was for playing. One huge room the length of the house my sister called the ball room. But the other two rooms were “school rooms” with numbers on the door and two twelve-year-old teachers in charge of the younger kids we dragged in from the surrounding blocks. My mother died in 1993 and, while I was cleaning out the house, the numbers on our school room doors in the attic were still there. Other older Beaver residents are full of similar memories which your readers should be encouraged to share. For the realtors in Beaver, Daddy paid $5,000 for the house.