Sunday, November 12, 2006

Honest Abe's Bed?

I was just scanning through some Post Gazette articles and I found this one regarding the possible find of an antique bed Abe Lincoln might have slept in. Amber Bierkan from the Friends of Hartwood told me about the bed and the controversy it is causing with Allegheny County. Sounds like it might be moved to Hartwood for display. Thought I would pass this article on for what it's worth.

I will also be attending the Festival of Lights display this Thurs from 7:00-9:00 pm at Hartwood. This is a great event and a great way to ring in the holiday season.

Be safe and take care,

Jeff Lawrence

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Haunted Hartwood Article


My brother's birthday was yesterday and when our family met for dinner my Dad gave me this article clipped from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that was mailed to him by a friend. Apparently Mary Flinn Lawrence and John Lawrence have haunted the mansion and their story is included in a Haunted Pittsburgh DVD. My Dad said that he could tell some spooky stories from living there. I know that Halloween has past but I thought that I should share this article.

I have some personal papers from MF Lawrence that my father gave me that I am archiving into my personal library and I will post some in the near future. I also have some old pictures of Hartwood taken during construction that I will share.

Until next time, take care,
Jeff Lawrence

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hartwood Family Movies Update

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone had a great summer. Sorry that I have taken so long to post but my energies have been directed elsewhere this summer. Now that fall is hear my schedule is slowing down a bit and I can focus my energies in areas that I have been lacking, such as my family home movies.

I have been in contact with a true friend of Hartwood as well as a former member of the Friends of Hartwood Bill Vorhaben. Mr. Vorhaben and I have been in discussions regarding securing the necessary funding to have home movies shot by my grandfather John Lawrence transferred from the existing format of 16mm to a more suitable and permanent format. The home movies that I have are dated from the late 1920's to the 1940's and I believe are mostly shot at Hartwood. The films are in canisters and are marked as follows:

Mrs Roosevelt & Farm, Pinchots (most likely Governor Pinchot whom Mary Lawrence was good friends with. Also, possible footage of President Teddy Roosevelt and his wife with whom John and Mary Flinn Lawrence were known to have visited).
Unknown - Kids on swingset (most likely my dad John W. Lawrence and my uncle Bill Lawrence).
1926 Farm (Hartwood?)
Ridng Party (probably footage of a fox hint or equestrian show)
Johnny on Terrance (my dad John W. Lawrence on his pet horse Terrance)
Tablet Unveiling
Senator Flinn (most likely unveiling of the tablet showing that Route 8 was named the William Flinn Highway. By the way, most markers on Route 8 misspell William Flinn's name by spelling the last name Flynn, but that is another story best saved for another day - Nothing like honoring a man's good name by naming a highway after him and then misspelling his name!)
Hartwood Horseshow (year unknown)
1924 Farm (probably Hartwood)
Rolling Rock Hunt (most likely footage of a fox hunt)
Children and Pony (I held the film to a light and saw my Dad and Uncle on horseback when they were very little boys).

Pleas check back as I will update the blog whenever new information is obtained.

I am looking forward to touring Hartwood this Christmas with my good friend Chris Shurilla and his wife Teresa. They live in Hawaii and are flying into town for the holidays. Chris and I have been best friends since the 5th grade and he very much wants to tour the Mansion as well the grounds when he and his wife are in town this Christmas.

Until next time be safe and take care,

Jeff Lawrence

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hartwood Great Room restoration is complete!

Hello All,

My father and I attended the ceremony yesterday to honor the craftsman and artisans that have restored the Great Room in the mansion to it's former glory. The room looks as if nothing had ever happened to it, the craftsman all did an amazing job of restoring the room back to pre loss condition.

There was a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by a reception afterward where Sylvia Easler introduced all of the different trade vendors that performed their respective restorations. I had the opportunity to meet many of the Hartwood volunteers that do a great job conducting the guided tours of the home.

The mansion is open this Saturday with free admission so that you can see for yourself the incredible workmanship it took to restore the Great Room back to the way it used to be prior to 2 tons of plaster ceiling falling onto many priceless antiques, walls, and flooring.

Please click the link to take you to the Post Gazette to read their article about the ceremony, check out Dad in the paper!

Check back soon, more to come. Please post your comments.

Jeff L.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Hartwood Timeline

Hello All,

I started compiling this timeline of events related to the Lawrence and Flinn families from Hartwood Acres.

More info. is forthcoming - enjoy !


Jeff L.

1851 – May 26 - William Flinn born in Manchester, England.
1851 – Nancy Galbraith born (Mary Flinn’s mother)
1875 – March 12 – George H. Flinn born (Mary Flinn’s brother)
1876 – Booth and Flinn Construction founded.
1881 – William Flinn elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
1885 – February 5 – A. Rex Flinn born (Mary’s brother).
1887 – February 20 – Mary Flinn born in Pittsburgh, Pa. (from birth certificate)
1891 – February 11 – John W. Lawrence born in Pittsburgh, Pa.
1895 – Good Roads Act written by William Flinn becomes law in Pa.
1898 - James Booth retires from Booth and Flinn and is succeeded by George H. Flinn
1914 – June 11 – John W. Lawrence (age 24) and Mary Flinn (age 27) married, reception at Senator Flinn's house at Braemar. (from marriage license)
1922 – Holland Tunnels built by Booth and Flinn.
1924 – February 19 - Senator William Flinn dies in St. Petersburg, Florida.
1924 – 1927 (app.) Hartwood Acres built.
1927 – April 27 - Nancy Galbraith passes
1929 - March 29 - George H. Flinn passes
1930 – George Westinghouse Memorial Bridge built by Booth and Flinn.
1934 - June 11 - John Frederick Scott born in England - adoptive son of Mary and John Lawrence - later changed to John W. Lawrence Jr. - lived in Grove City, Pa.
1937 - July 16 - William Lawrence born in France - adoptive son of Mary and John Lawrence.
1945 – January 26 – John W. Lawrence dies at age 54. (from death certificate)
1950 - A. Rex Flinn dies.
1960 – Booth and Flinn purchased by the last owner – New York Industrialist M. Edward Lipset.
1963 – Mary Flinn Lawrence in auto accident.
1967 – February 5 – Jeffrey S. Lawrence born (grandson of Mary Flinn Lawrence)
1968 – November 3 – Lee K. Lawrence born (grandson of Mary Flinn Lawrence)
1969 (?) Booth and Flinn out of business (per newspaper clipping – not dated)
1969 – Hartwood Acres purchased by Allegeny County from the Lawrence family.
1974 – October 29 – Mary Flinn Lawrence dies in Pittsburgh, Pa. (from death certificate)
1977 - October 27 – WQED films “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” at Hartwood Acres.
2003 - February 25 - William (Billy) Lawrence passes in Florida
2011 - December 21 - John W. Lawrence Jr. passes in Grove City, Pa.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Hello all,

I believe that the mansion is opening for tours this months after being closed following the Christmas holidays. Make sure you get their early for the tours as they tend to fill up quickly.

As the nice weather approaches be sure to stop out at Hartwood Acres to enjoy the woods and the trails. The summer concert season is starting soon at the amphitheatre located at the west end of the property on Middle Road.

I am still researching Booth and Flinn Construction so if there is anyone out there that has info. on where I can access company records please contact me at

Please check back often as I update this site. Please email me with any suggestions for this site. Also, if you have a site with similiar interests as this site please email me about exchanging links.

Have a great Spring,

Jeff L.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

SuperBowl XL Champs Pittsburgh Steelers !!!!!!!!

Hello everyone,

My family and I are still celebrating the Steelers victory in SuperBowl XL! What a game!

I am looking for other blogs or websites to exchange links with in the Pittsburgh area. If you are interested please email me and we can discuss exchanging links.

Please check back, more details regarding the Lawrence/Flinn families will be forthcoming.

Jeff L.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Christmas Light Show at Hartwood

Hello Everyone!

After enjoying dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse in the Strip District in Pittsburgh Kim, Hannah, and myself drove through the light display at Hartwood Acres tonight. We were treated to an awesome display of lights throughout the 3.2 mile drive through the park. Even though it is 2 weeks past Christmas, the cars were bumper to bumber! It is obvious that it took an incredible amount of work to ready the park for such a display and judging by the amount of cars we noticed the display is well received.

My Aunt Joan told me that many people think the display is better than the display in Oglebay, WV. As mentioned in the brochure that we were given at the end of the display it stated that the display draws in visitors from over 300 miles away. The display contains over 2 million lights.

The fee of $10.00 a carload is well worth it, since this money is donated to local charities in the Pittsburgh area. I took some pictures that I posted above but the quality of the pictures were not that good due to them being taken at night and do not truly capture the true beauty of the lights.

The display is on until for 1 more week until January 15 so go see an awesome light display while at the same time supporting some local charites. My family will definitely make it a yearly event from now on.

See you soon,


Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year !!!!!

Happy New Year! Another year down the drain, but I wish everyone a safe and healthy 2006! My family and I are planning to visit the lights at Hartwood this Saturday 1/7/06 as we have heard that they are bigger and better than ever. Please post your comments to this blog if you have driven through the lights and tell us what you think.

Let's make this the official blog for Hartwood Acres this year. With your posts we can make it happen.

Thanks and have a great new year, I will post soon!

Jeff L.