Sunday, December 13, 2009

Funny story about Mary Flinn Lawrence

Cemetery tour recalls local women's movement

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette

Jennie Benford, an archivist at Carnegie Mellon University, leads a tour through the Homewood Cemetery grave sites of women prominent in social justice battles.
Afternoon sun dappled a rainbow of fall foliage and crows cawed frequently while 18 women strolled through Homewood Cemetery Sunday to learn about local suffragettes.
The women joined the special tour of the 200-acre cemetery hosted by Nancy Bernstein and Steffi Domike of Squirrel Hill, Emily Lippert of Wilkinsburg and Judy Ruszkowski of Highland Park. The tour was auctioned off earlier this year at a benefit for the In Sisterhood project, an effort by historian Patricia Ulbrich to document the local women's movement in the latter half of the 20th century.
First stop was the grave of Rebecca Conner Marchand, a woman who advocated for temperance during the 1840s. She's buried in Section 7, the cemetery's oldest neighborhood.
Jennie Benford, a Carnegie Mellon University archivist who led the tour, said many women joined the temperance movement because they did not work outside the home, putting them at the mercy of husbands, fathers and brothers who spent most of their paychecks on liquor.
Many women who supported temperance also backed women's suffrage because "they realized they would not get anything done without the right to vote," Ms. Benford added.
Three decades later, in the 1870s, Pittsburghers read the sentiments of Elizabeth Wade, who wrote under the pen name of Bessie Bramble. In a wide-ranging newspaper column, she advocated the reform of property, divorce and child labor laws and never shied away from politics.
During the second wave of the local suffrage movement, Eliza Kennedy Smith helped start the Allegheny County Equal Franchise Federation. Her father, Julian Kennedy, a successful engineer, initially served as the group's president.
"This gave them credibility and access to Duquesne Club wallets," Ms. Benford said.
Ms. Smith was one of several suffragists who traveled all over the state of Pennsylvania with a replica of the Liberty Bell. The bell's clapper was tied down and the message was that freedom would not truly ring until women had the right to vote.
Ms. Smith's grandson, Templeton Smith Jr., practices law with the Downtown firm of Thomson, Rhodes & Cowie.
"She was a unique individual. She always made her views known without raising her voice. She never had to. She was very logical and didn't mince words," Mr. Smith said.
Eliza Kennedy Smith's granddaughter, Eliza Smith Brown, is a historian who lives in Squirrel Hill and is writing a book about her famous relative called "She Devils at the Door."
One of Mrs. Brown's favorite stories about her grandmother involves baseball. Pittsburgh, Mrs. Brown said, had a special affinity for the World Series because it was born out of an agreement between the Pirates' Barney Dreyfuss and Boston's Henry Killilea, who decided in 1903 to stage a best-of-nine-games playoff for the world championship.
In 1915, twice-daily newspaper reports were not enough to satisfy the public's demand for coverage. While the morning Post and the evening Sun posted scores every few minutes in their office windows, that caused congestion. So Pittsburgh City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting window posters.
Local suffragettes saw their opportunity for a captive audience and appealed to Herbert Dupuy, a Downtown arcade owner who backed their cause. Local newspapers agreed to call the scores in to the suffragettes.
"The fans would come into this arcade 2,000 at a time. The suffragettes were in this arcade from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and had as many as 10,000 people a day," Mrs. Brown said.
In between the newspaper reports about the World Series, suffragettes jumped on their soap box.
"They held court in this empty arcade and they would get up and say, 'So and so just hit a home run, and by the way, women ought to be given the vote,' " Mrs. Brown said.
When women finally got the vote in 1919, Pittsburgh Mayor Edward Vose Babcock encouraged the "blowing of whistles and ringing of bells."
"I wonder if he was running for mayor," mused Pamela Murray of Squirrel Hill, one of the women who took the tour.
Over at the Flinn family mausoleum is Mary Flinn Lawrence, who grew up at Hartwood Acres, a mansion that's now part of a county park. Ms. Lawrence was the daughter of Pittsburgh political boss William Flinn. In 1915, Ms. Lawrence marched in a suffrage parade in Pittsburgh with her fiance, John Lawrence. The banner was so heavy that she struggled under its weight, and he offered to carry it.

The banner read, "If men can vote, why can't I?" But Mr. Lawrence didn't read it until the parade ended. That's when he understood why so many people along the route were laughing at him.

Nobody laughed at Perle Mesta, the famed Washington hostess who was widowed at age 36 when her husband died in 1925, leaving her a fortune of $78 million. Today, that estate would be worth $900 million. Mrs. Mesta belonged to the National Woman's Party and supported the Equal Rights Amendment.
"She was a king maker and an early supporter of Harry Truman, who made her ambassador to Luxembourg in 1949," Ms. Benford said.
Across the road from the Mesta family mausoleum is Daisy Lampkin, who was known as "Mrs. N.A.A.C.P." An ardent suffragette and civil rights activist, Mrs. Lampkin was a phenomenal organizer and fundraiser. Famed for her hats, she was known as "Aunt Daisy."
To learn more about local history in Homewood Cemetery, check out an hour-long walking tour, "Taking It With You," from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday. It focuses on Section 14, where members of prominent Pittsburgh families, such as the Heinzes, Fricks, Mellons and Benedums, are buried. Cost is $5. To register, call 412-421-1822.
Marylynne Pitz can be reached at or 412-263-1648.

Pic of the Lawrence's at Hartwood

Here's a picture of the Lawrence family taken in the Great Hall of Hartwood back in June of 2008. This picture was taken by one of the Docents there and given to me during my last visit to Hartwood.

From left to right:

Hannah Lawrence (my daughter)
Kim Lawrence (my wife)
Jeff Lawrence (me)
John W. Lawrence Jr. (My dad)
Suzanne Franklin (my mom)
Lee Lawrence (my brother)
Jason "Bink" Lawrence (my nephew)
Lori Lawrence (my sister in law)

There you have it, the entire cast of characters. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New pictures of Hartwood being built!

Hello Hartwood fans,

I was loaned some pictures of Hartwood being built which I scanned in and attached below. I was also loaned scrapbooks from 1924-1927 documenting the passing of William Flinn of which I am busy perusing and studying for research for my book.

I added some comments to the pictures below, enjoy!

This is a view of the mansion looking at the garage - these are now mens and ladies restrooms at the mansion.

This is a view of the mansion as you would pull up the drive at the front (rear) of the home. Note on the extreme right of the photo the cottage (where the tours start) and the main portion of the mansion are not connected.

This is a view of the rear (front) of the mansion. Here again the cottage is not attached to the main part of the mansion. Note the large awning, this room is where the tours start.

View of the rear (front) of the mansion. Another perfect picture showing that the cottage and mansion are not connected. Note the scaffolding on the cottage.

View of the area of where the gardens are now. The driveway up to the front (rear) of the mansion is shown on the left.

Pretty cool stuff eh? I will be posting some other little tidbits in the upcoming weeks.
Take care until then,
Jeff L.

Monday, August 31, 2009

More of Josh's Hartwood pics!

These pictures are so beautiful that I just had to post some more.

Thanks Josh!

Until next time,
Jeff L.

New Hartwood pics posted

Hello everyone,
Our good friend Josh Wisniewski sent us these pictures of Hartwood. Josh took these pictures in August. Thanks for the pictures Josh, they are beautiful.

I will be posting some more pics of Hartwood shortly.
Until next time,
Jeff L.

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Hartwood Pics Found!

Not a very good photo of Mary near the mansion.

Mary at the front (rear) door again.

Mary at the front (actually rear) door of Hartwood - notice the dogs, the temporary door and scaffolding!

Here is a photo of Mary's husband John W. Lawrence with one of the dogs in front of the mansion under construction.

Hello Friends,

Dad was cleaning out his garage last week when he found some more Hartwood pictures taken when Hartwood was being built. They show some neat shots of Mary Flinn Lawrence and John Lawrence in front of the mansion when it was being built! I scanned these photos in tonight; they are the same size as the previous photos that I posted - about the size of a baseball card and are in really great condition since they were taken and developed around 1925-1927.

I have other pictures to post as soon as I get around to them - enjoy!

Jeff Lawrence

Monday, April 27, 2009

Hartwood home movies update!

Hello all!

I just wanted to give you an update on the Hartwood movies. Dad and I stopped at the film company in Coraopolis last Thursday and showed our movies to the owner of the company. We were thrilled to find out that they are in excellent condition for being so old. We left 2 film rolls with him – 1 titled “John and Mary Wedding” and another titled “The Lawrence Boys”.

They transferred the 2 rolls of films onto a DV tape as well as DVD for us. I received everything back this past Saturday (48 hours turnaround) and Dad and I reviewed the DVD tonight that they sent.

The Wedding video is outstanding; it shows the cars pulling up to the church with Mary getting out of the one car as well as all of the other cars with the bridesmaids. There is also footage of the bridal party dancing as well as the sit down dinner – complete with footage of John and Mary at the head table with the fountain flowing that now sits in the hall at Hartwood. There is also great footage of the Flinn brothers as well as Mary’s mother Nancy Galbraith. This video is black and white and in great shape for being almost 100 years old.

The 2nd video shows Dad and Bill on Christmas morning opening presents in front of the Christmas tree in the great room – this video shows Dad is around 8 years old, Bill around 5, and this entire video is in color. There is also footage of horse shows at Hartwood, Mary riding sidesaddle, and even footage of John Heinz and Dad playing around when they were both around 8 years old. There is also footage of Brownie and Dad and Bill on horseback. The reel ends with a winter scene of Dad and Bill sled riding at the front of the house that slopes down to the woods. The footage quality is outstanding.

There are almost 18 more rolls of film to go; it cost us about $50.00/roll to get them transferred. Each roll we have is 7” in dia. and is 16mm. Our goal is to have a professionally produced video that will show the pictoral history of Hartwood.

Until next time,

Jeff L.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mary Flinn Lawrence jumping sidesaddle!

Just wanted to add this photo in as well. This undated photo shows Mary Flinn Lawrence jumping sidesaddle over a split rail fence. The photo measures app. 8x10. See my prior post tonight about other photos that were recently found.

Have fun!
Jeff L.

Hartwood Pictures Found!

Hello everyone,

I visited with Dad this weekend and we went through some old photos that he had and I thought that I would post them due to their interesting content. The first photo below - and we are unsure of who took them - shows the stables probably sometime in the 1950's. They look pretty much back then as they look today.

The photo shown below is of the Hartwood stable master and master of the hunt. His name was Merle Brown - to us he was known as Brownie and he took care of the stables, the horses and all of the riding equipment concerning the foxhunt. Brownie and his wife Alice Brown lived in the house adjacent to the stables. When Mary Lawrence sold Hartwood to Allegheny County in 1974 it was stipulated in the sales contract that the Browns would live rent free in their house until their passing which is what happened.
This photo below is of John Lawrence and Mary Flinn Lawrence posing at what is though to be believed at the site where Hartwood was being built. The photo # on the back is #B29, and when compared to the 2 photos below - which will knock your socks off! - the other 2 photos are dated in the same sequence, which leads us to believe that they were all taken from 1925-1927 when Hartwood was built.

This photo below my friends is one of only 2 photos taken of the Hartwood mansion under construction! It shows the front (actually rear) carriage entrance with scaffolding on the roof and debris piles in the front. This photo # is #B05

This photo below shows the rear patio area (outside of the great room) under construction as well! There are debris piles and scaffolding in this photo as well. Most likely the roof was just being installed. This photo # is B29 as well. If you look closely you can see a worker right behind the debris pile.

This leads me to believe that there are many more pictures from this photo lot to be found! Each of the above 3 pictures measures app. 2.5" x 3.5" and are black and white. I am going to dig into our family archive to find as many of these little pictures as I can. This is a real find because no one had found pictures of the Hartwood mansion under construction until now!
Stay tuned as I will post more pictures as they become available!
Jeff L.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Orienteering at Hartwood 4.18.09

by the Western Pennsylvania Orienteering Club

Where: Hartwood Acres, Allison Park, PA
When: Saturday, April 18, 2009; sign-in 11 AM – 2 PM

What is Orienteering? Orienteering is a competitive form of land navigation. It is for all ages and degrees of fitness and skill, and all-weather. It provides the suspense and excitement of a treasure hunt. The object of orienteering is to locate control points by using a map and compass to navigate through the woods.

What to bring? All you will need to bring is a compass (if you do not have one, we can loan you one), and appropriate footwear to walk in the woods.

Event Details: The courses offered at Hartwood Acres will include Cross Country courses for beginner and advanced beginner, intermediate and experienced orienteers. Cross country courses involve finding a series of control flags in a pre-specified sequence. Come early if you plan to do more than one course.

Sign In 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
· Must Finish the course by 3:30 pm

Instruction for novices: Available on site

Cost: $4.00 per map (family or group can share one map if they wish)

Event Location: Hartwood Acres, Allison Park. On Middle Road, near Central Elementary School. Look for red-and-white arrow signs.

Questions: Contact Jim Wolfe at

Check our website, for complete details and driving directions for this event and the entire WPOC schedule of events.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Family movies update!

Hello friends of Hartwood!

I have exciting news about the reels of family film shot in and around Hartwood from the 1920's-1930's. I have an appointment with a film company in Coreopolis, Pa. next month so that they can review the 16mm black and white films to examine the the condition of the film so that it can be determined whether they are usable at all.

I will update this site once I have further info. I have also been in touch with a video production company to explore the feasibility of producing a video of Hartwood.

Till next time..........

Jeff L.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas decorations at Hartwood

Hello everyone,

I know it's been a while since I posted - only 6 months ;-O - about Hartwood this past Christmas season. Our good friend Amber Bierkan put this beautiful display on and I wanted all of my readers to see it on this blog if they had not in person.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas season as well as New Years and I am optimistic that 2009 will be a great year.

I hope to see you soon at Hartwood, unfortunately we did not get down to Hartwood since June '08 when I last posted. We plan on getting back soon though. I am still compiling info. for my book about Hartwood - it is a slow tedious task but one that I am up for. I will keep you informed about the progress of my writing of my great tome.

In the meantime, enjoy the article and contact me at if you have any info. about Hartwood to share.

Take care until next time,