It’s the middle of November, and I’ve got more vacation days left this year than you can shake a stick at. Andrew is living at home for a year and can look after the dog. Time for a road trip. We decide to head south.
First stop turned out to be Pittsburgh. Jeez, who knew this was such a nice place. We were just passing through, but had to stop downtown to find wi-fi, and the place was alive. The Steelers were playing the next day, and the x-mas tree had just been lit. People everywhere.
We used Hotel Tonight, a same day hotel booking app for the iPad, to book a room at Manions on Fifth, a renovated private home on Pittsburgh’s version of “millionaire’s row”.
Willis F. McCook commissioned the design and construction of the McCook Mansion in the early 1900’s as home for his family, which included his wife Mary and ten children. An industrialist and one of the nation’s first corporate lawyers, McCook was Henry Clay Frick’s attorney, representing him in Frick’s celebrated fight with Andrew Carnegie.
Apparently, the fight with Carnegie fetched close to $40MM for Frick, and McCook’s share of the judgement were sufficient to pay the $300K costs of building the mansion.
McCook even built a second mansion next to the one we stayed in as a wedding present for one of his daughters. After McCook’s death, the family lost the home during the Great Depression. It was used as a public building for a time and, in 1949 was purchased at a sherrif’s sale by Emil Bonavita Sr.
In 2004, the upper floors were destroyed by fire, and the building sat vacant for years.
After a complete renovation, it was re-opened as a hotel in 2011.
Next stop is Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater house.