PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s a mansion that evokes the elegance of a bygone era.
Former County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dixon bought the Charles Schwab mansion with the aim of restoring it to its former luster.
But Dr. Dixon died last year and has no heirs.
KDKA looked into the fate of the beautiful mansion that Dixon left behind.
It speaks to the grandeur of the gilded age, the 1890s when steel titan Charles Schwab ordered architects to spare no expense on his private residence in North Braddock.
Schwab was superintendent of nearby Edgar Thompson Works and the first president of US Steel, but after his death, the house fell into disrepair, as History Center Director Andy Masich can attest.
“I’ve toured through the mansion, there’s beautiful woodwork and great finishes everywhere, but it’s fallen on hard times, it will take a lot of work to restore it to its former glory,” Masich said.
Dixon bought the house two decades ago, but died last year before he could fully restore it. With no heirs in his will, Dixon left it to the greater public good.
“It could be a boon for tourism, it could be a boon for history, economic development, it would be an amazing bed and breakfast,” said Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. “Who knows?”
Fetterman says while he’d like to explore various uses of the house, his inquiries to Dixon’s executor have been rejected.
The executor attorney, Virginia Cook, would not comment except to say that she’s in talks to sell the house to a private buyer and then donate the proceeds to charity. But the secrecy around the sale worries Fetterman.
“It would be a tragedy for the valley’s version of the Frick Museum to fall into the hands of someone who would want to strip it and sell it for everything that it’s worth,” Fetterman said.
But just who will come to own this house remains a mystery, and that’s what rankles those who feel it should be a matter for public discussion.