Monday, January 23, 2017

The new book about Hartwood Acres aptly titled "Reflections of Hartwood" has been released!

The new book about Hartwood was released on November 1, 2016. The book can be purchased via the secure PayPal link that can be found on the website here: http://reflectionsofhartwoodbook.com.

Hartwood has been attracting thousands of visitors every year with it's beautiful park like setting, popular summer concert series and of course the amazing English Tudor mansion formerly owned by my grandparents John and Mary Flinn Lawrence.

Stop by for a stroll around the grounds or to take in a tour of the mansion. Whatever the season, there is plenty to do and see at the estate. During your visit stop by the Hartwood gift shop for a signed copy of my book - "Reflections of Hartwood". Packed full of color photos (many photos have never been seen before) and 196 pages of personal reminiscing's and commentary on Hartwood and the way it was back in the day, there is something in the book for everyone.

Here is a little background on the book:

In 2005 my Dad John W. Lawrence Jr. (or Johnny as he was known as a child or J.W. as he was known in later years) and I were in the process of getting some of our 18mm home movies converted into DVD format. We were very surprised when one specific video came back from the development company. It showed John and Mary Flinn Lawrence’s wedding video that was shot on their wedding day – June 11, 1914, almost 100 years ago.  We were excited to see such an amazing video, and this video is really what started me on my journey to compile family videos, photos and later recorded interviews with people that had a connection with Hartwood.

Every so often Dad would call and tell me that he had a photo of this or a document showing that for my files – he called me the “Official Family Archivist”. I would catalog everything into several piles and put it into my personal library. After a few years of compiling and cataloging material the thought occurred to me that I may just have enough information to write a book about Hartwood. Initially Dad balked at the idea as he was a very private person. I explained to Dad that the book would be about our family history as well as the Hartwood buildings and grounds and mainly for the enjoyment of the thousands of visitors that Hartwood attracts every year. Once Dad realized that the book would be a written celebration of Hartwood he eventually came on board with the idea for the book.

On September 25, 2007 Dad and I walked through the mansion and grounds with a hand held tape recorder as he recorded his thoughts and recollections about growing up in such a magnificent house and estate. Some of his stories I had heard a hundred times –those of you that knew J.W. knows what I am talking about! Other stories I heard for the first time. As I transcribed that audio tape I could hear the emotion in his voice as he described what each room in the mansion meant to him as well as what the people were like that worked and lived at Hartwood.

My motivation for writing this book is to share the resources and documents that I have accumulated. These videos, photos, and documents are to be shared in this book form with the people who love Hartwood, they would not do anyone any good just sitting in my library collecting dust. Allegheny County will own Hartwood for countless years to come; I believe that this wonderful “Jewel of Allegheny County” deserves an accurate and fitting written history.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed collecting all of these wonderful reflections..........


Jeffrey S. Lawrence







Table of Contents:

Pennsylvania Senator and Mogul William Flinn ........................................................ 5

John and Mary Flinn Lawrence: In the Beginning ................................................... 25

Mary Flinn Lawrence ............................................................................................... 35

Mary’s Cadillac ........................................................................................................ 45

John Wheeler Lawrence .......................................................................................... 49

The Sons John W. Lawrence Jr. and William F. Lawrence ..................................... 55
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Bobsledding ............................................................................................................. 66

The Mansion: Design and Construction ................................................................... 69


The Mansion Rooms: Personal Reflections ............................................................. 89

THE COTTAGE SECTION ....................................................................................... 89

THE LIBRARY .......................................................................................................... 90

JOHNNY’S AND BILLY’S BEDROOMS ABOVE THE COTTAGE ..................... 92

THE CONNECTING GALLERY .................................................................................93

THE GREAT HALL .................................................................................................... 94

STONE HALL ENTRANCE ..................................................................................... 100

FORMAL DINING ROOM ........................................................................................ 101

PANTRY................................................................................................................... 104

THE KITCHEN ......................................................................................................... 104

COURTYARD .......................................................................................................... 106

HELP’S PANTRY ..................................................................................................... 107

THE BASEMENT ...................................................................................................... 108

STAFF QUARTERS ................................................................................................. 109

LINEN ROOM ........................................................................................................... 110

CEDAR CLOSET ...................................................................................................... 111

JOHN LAWRENCE’S ROOM ................................................................................... 112

MARY LAWRENCE’S ROOM ................................................................................... 115 


Hartwood Grounds and Formal Gardens .................................................................. 121

Dog Graveyard .......................................................................................................... 123

Formal Gardens ......................................................................................................... 127

The Fox Hunt at Hartwood ......................................................................................... 135

The Harts Run Junior Horse Show ............................................................................. 143

Horse Shows and Competitive Equestrian Events ......................................................149

The Stable Complex and Reminiscences ................................................................... 157

The People of Hartwood: Stanley Preston .................................................................. 167

The People of Hartwood: Lee Eldridge ........................................................................ 173

The People of Hartwood: John Unterholzner ............................................................... 175

Working on the Farm ................................................................................................... 177

A Listing of Known Hartwood Employees .................................................................... 183

Hartwood is Acquired by Allegheny County ................................................................. 187

Filming at Hartwood ..................................................................................................... 189

Miscellaneous Musings ................................................................................................ 191

My Earliest Memories ....................................................................................................191

Hartwood Acres............................................................................................................. 192