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Listing No. 26060

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1888 Victorian: Folk

Bigger-Pears House

Situated on an expansive lot, this spacious Victorian features original oak floors throughout, 10-foot ceilings, graciously tall windows each offering park-like-views and a front foyer dominated by handcarved mahogany staircase. The house encompasses 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 5 fireplaces, 3 stories at a total of 3,000 square feet. [scroll below for historical background of this house]
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Bedrooms 4
Full Baths 2
Half Baths 1
Heated Sq. Ft. 3,000
Stories 3.0

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Situated on a tall hillside with commanding views of the surrounding neighborhood; the construction of this stately Victorian was completed in 1888. Homer Pierce, William Bentley, and William M. Bentley purchased the site this house now sits on for $900 on September 6, 1887. The house was constructed for $2,800 and built as an investment property, with construction likely completed by July 1888.

Pierce, Bentley and Bentley hired local real estate firm, Black and Baird to sell the home; which was purchased by attorney Henry J. Bigger and his wife Sallie Pears Bigger, for $4,550 on November 12, 1888. Henry Bigger was born in Dayton, Ohio on June 5, 1848, being raised on a farm. Henry attended Monmouth College in Illinois, and then went on to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he became a practicing attorney. Sallie Pears Bigger was born on October 6, 1856, one of eight children born to John Pears, an owner of Bakewell, Pears & Co., a prominent 19th century glass house company based in the South Side of Pittsburgh. The Biggers would have four children: Henry Jr., born 1882, Florence, born in 1884, Evelyn, born in 1886 and Ada, born in 1889.

The house is of wood-frame construction, resting on a two-foot thick sandstone foundation. Encompassing the home is a front foyer dominated by a handcarved mahogany staircase. The foyer once featured a fireplace, however the fire place was removed and walled over. The house currently includes a total of three fireplaces - all featuring ornate wood carved mantels [the original number of fireplaces is five, unfortunately two have been walled over]. Other features offered in this home are soaring ten foot tall ceilings, six and a half foot tall windows, four bedrooms, two full bathrooms including a first floor guest powder room, all on three stories at a total of 3,000 square feet.

The house remained with the Biggers-Pears family until 1899 (in 1896 ownership was transferred to Sallie Pears Bigger's brother, Harry Pears).

The house was sold in 1899 to Abel Seddon, who was a prominent business man from nearby Braddock, Pennsylvania. Abel, his wife, Ellen, and their three children and one servant occupied the home until 1910, when the family relocated to California to become fruit farmers.

In 1912 William Edmund Moore, his wife, Margaret and their eight children took residence in the house. During this period (1910’s – 1920’s) the surrounding neighborhood developed from a rural wooded/countryside setting into a fashionable, affluent Pittsburgh suburb. The growing new neighborhood was home to Westinghouse executives, bank presidents, doctors and other local business and society elites of the day. Today the neighborhood has retained much of the grandeur of the past, with well-preserved Victorians, American-Foursquares mixed with small mansions situated in park-like settings along shaded tree-lined streets.

William Edmund Moore, who was a bookkeeper for People’s Natural Gas Company, did not enjoy the house for very long, as he died in May 1920. The house remained with the Moore family until 1983, at which time the children of William Edmund Moore sold the house. Following the 1983 sale, the house underwent an extensive renovation, that would have modernized the house to the standards of that time.

The house experienced a succession of owners throughout the 1990's into the 2000's, and recently saw a period of dormancy. The current owners are working to restore the house to its original grandeur.

Archived in July, 2016

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