The Home at 1900
(formerly 1766 Ballinger Street)
The Haunted Mansion
At the corner of Whited Street and Ballinger, originally addressed as 1766 Ballinger Street and now listed as 1900 Whited Street, next to the one-time West Side Belt Railroad tracks, sits an old mansion that has been converted into a restaurant.
The home was built in the 1850s and was the home of Jacob and Mary Smith-Hays. Jacob was a prominent landowner and the father of Milton Hays, owner of the Pittsburgh & Castle Shannon Railroad. Milton's biological mother was Jacob's first wife, Jane, who passed away when he was just a child. The three photos below show some of the inside of the Hays home and are shown here courtesy of Jacob Hays' great-great-great grandson Tim Harrison.
The stately home was once a rest stop along the railway line for passengers heading to downtown Pittsburgh, and also a place to rent carriages for funerals. It is also rumored that it was once the site of a brothel and has reportedly been the seen of several hauntings over the years.
There have been more than a few deaths that have occured here over time. A judge once hanged himself on the third floor, another patron mysteriously fell from a third floor window, and a pregnant woman tumbled to her death on the second floor steps. The home was also the residence of the mother of renowned Pittsburgh psychic Mr. Charles. She passed away inside the home.
In more modern times, several families lived in or rented space in the home, and each has their own special memories of their time in the old Hays home. Others used to marvel at the mysterious mansion, some refering to it as the "Munster House." Without a doubt it built up quite a reputation as one of the unique residences in well over a century as private living quarters.
Purchased and renovated by restaurateur and saloon owner Larry Vichie in 1984, the building was home to Larry's Roadhouse for thirty years until closing in 2013. Employees who worked there were oftentimes witness to strange occurances, such as objects disappearing, electrical disturbances, footsteps being heard and apparitions being sighted. One waitress saw the shimmery figure of a Victorian woman on the steps which eventually faded from view. Others, after filling candy dishs, returned to find the candy scattered on the floor, although the dishes remained in place on the counter.
An employee of America's Security Choice, an alarm dealer that had the contract to put in an alarm system for the place reported a series of odd knocks on wall's, strange shadows and the sound of doors slamming as he installed the system. He was apparently pretty spooked by it and was no longer interested in returning.
In 2014 the building was sold to an investment group and and the new owners began an extensive remodeling effort. Their plan was to open a restaurant, banquet and meeting hall. The results were stunning until one day in 2015 their funds ran out and the remodeling stopped. Whether they plan on continuing at a later date or selling the partially completed building remains to be seen.
It also remains to be heard whether construction workers may have witnessed any strange phenomenon within the building's 160-plus year old walls. Maybe the ghosts of the past wish to remain undisturbed. Only time will tell.
Click on images for larger pictures.
Last Updated - April 29, 2019
* Top photo provided by Christine Merkel Brandau - Special thanks to Rich Cummings *
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