Author to hold book signing

Published Oct 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm (Updated Oct 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm)

Pittsburgh author Melanie Linn Gutowski will sign copies of her book, “Pittsburgh’s Mansions,” at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at Barnes & Noble, South Hills Village Mall, Upper St. Clair.

The newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series, “Pittsburgh’s Mansions” boasts 180 vintage images of some of the beautiful homes in Pittsburgh.

In the 19th century, the positioning of Pittsburgh as a major manufacturing center and the subsequent rise of the area’s steel industry created a wave of prosperity that prompted the beneficiaries of that wealth to construct extravagant residences in the city’s East End, across the river in neighboring Allegheny City and into the countryside.

“Pittsburgh’s Mansions” explores the stately homes of the area’s most prominent residents, including H.J. Heinz, Henry Clay Frick and members of the Mellon family, from the 1830s through the 1920s. Firms such as Alden & Harlow, Janssen & Abbott and Rutan & Russell added to the city’s landscape by contributing iconic public buildings as well as expansive private homes.

Many of the residences may be gone, but with “Pittsburgh’s Mansions” they’re not forgotten.

Gutowski is a writer, historian and lifelong resident of the city. Her passion for old houses, particularly old mansions, was sparked at age 6 while attending Citiparks art classes at Baywood, the former Alexander King estate in Highland Park. As an adult, she furthered her interest in Pittsburgh’s stately homes by working as a docent at Clayton, the Henry Clay Frick estate in Point Breeze.

Gutowski has published history features in various Western Pennsylvania and national publications and holds a bachelor’s degree in history of art and architecture and a master’s degree in professional writing.

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