Glenshaw Century Club house tour benefits Shaler students, local nonprofits

Friday, November 8, 2019 | 12:01 AM


Since 1961, the Glenshaw Century Club has kicked off the holiday season with its annual house tour raising funds for local nonprofits and scholarships benefiting Shaler Area High School students, according to club publicity Chairwoman Susan Ball.

This year’s tour, featuring three Glenshaw houses decked out for the holidays, will occur from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 9. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

Meanwhile, the club will host a free craft fair and tea table at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1719 Mt. Royal Blvd., also from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests will find crafters, vendors, an auction of chance, raffles and food trucks.

The Glenshaw Century Club recommends house tour visitors ride a free shuttle from the church to the homes.

Many in the area are familiar with the historic “house on the hill,” with its winding, private driveway belonging to current owners Becky and Bruce Knickelbein. Previous owners, the late Christine and Marcel Moortgat, opened their Moortgat Studios artificial flower business on the property in the 1950s.

In 2017, previous owner Tom Nega said the Moortgats had supplied silk flowers for defunct department stores Gimbels, the Joseph Horne Co. and Kaufmann’s, as well as other East Coast and Canadian locations.

The Moortgats built the house from 1930 to 1932, using ceramic roof tiles and imported Belgian bricks featuring a German smear, or mortar wash giving it an old, European look.

The home has three bedrooms, two full and two half bathrooms, two fireplaces, and a four-car garage. The property boasts two staircases — a spiral set entering the foyer, and another entering the maid’s quarters off the remodeled kitchen.

Donna and Mark Mastandrea’s Victorian home first belonged to Nancy Shaw, a descendant of the founder of Shaw’s Glen, or Glenshaw, in 1885.

In the 1990s, owners Chip and Kathy Dougherty restored the Victorian residence to its original character by replacing the home’s electricity, plumbing and drywall and refurbishing its woodwork. The Doughertys sold the property to the Mastandreas in 2001, who updated the kitchen, added air conditioning and a concrete basement floor. The Doughertys will return to share information regarding the property’s history and restoration with tour goers.

Finally, Earl and Allyson Mahon will welcome attendees to their house built around 1905 for original owners Robert and Marie Conning, who were charter members of Elfinwild Presbyterian Church, now located at 3200 Mt. Royal Blvd.

Ball said, prior to joining the club, she used to attend the house tour with her mother and friends.

“It was just such a community and friendship event, to do the tour and have a cup of tea and a couple cookies to sort of kick off the holiday season, and I think a lot of people feel that way about it,” she said. “They’re obviously glad that we’re benefiting the community with the scholarships and the charitable organizations, but it really is a nice community event and we appreciate the support from the community.”

Earlier that weekend, people may visit Greg and Colleen Juran’s Glenshaw residence during the club’s formal gala 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8. The event will feature wine, soft drinks and appetizers. The $60 admission also includes tickets to the house tour the following day.

In 1887, Louis Titzel built the home as a summer getaway for his family living in Oakland/Wilkinsburg. An original pump house, functional water fountain, woodworking and fixtures remain. Colleen Juran noted that concord grapes and a “parade of flowers” grow from the Titzels’ plantings.

The Jurans purchased the home from Louis Titzel’s widow, Elizabeth. They had always admired the property but weren’t necessarily in the market for a new home. Juran said the couple made a low offer on the home and were surprised to learn that Titzel had accepted it.

Juran’s real estate agent told her, “You were the only couple that came through and said that you weren’t going to destroy the integrity of the house, that you were going to bring it back to the way it was in the 1800s.” Elizabeth Titzel returned twice to ensure that the Jurans upheld their word.

Advance tickets are $20 at the Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw, or by calling 412-487-5595.

Tickets are $25 at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1719 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw, on day of event. For the formal gala, reservations are required by calling 412-486-7361.