The Andrew Bayne Memorial Library rests on four acres atop a shady knoll overlooking the main street in Bellevue. One glimpse tells you that it was meant to be something special.
Inside, spacious rooms hold tall shelves of books, footsteps echo throughout the rooms and generous windows allow the light to shine through. Despite it's use as a public library, there is still evidence that this was once a family residence. I like that aspect very much!
Amanda Bayne Balph, and her husband, James Madison Balph, lived in this home. Mr. Balph was a prominent architect who designed and constructed this lovely Victorian home in 1875.
Following their deaths, the property was willed to Amanda's sister, Jane. It was understood that when she passed the home would be given to the borough. It was to be specifically used as a library in memory of their father, Andrew, and as a community park.
In memory of the sisters, a condition was accepted to change Rogers Avenue to Teece Avenue. Another street, Locust Street would be renamed Bayne Street. Thereby in 1912, Bellevue received the home and acreage. Quite a meaningful gesture!
A historic 400 year old elm tree, known as the Lone Sentinel, once reigned majestically in the yard. It had to be removed in 1998. A lovely stained glass window depiciting this historic tree was given to the library by the O'Hare family in that same year.
FYI: The library houses more than 14,000 titles, offers magazines and reference materials, includes a video room containing children's and adult videos and has a juvenile and children's room. Internet access is also provided, as well.
Hours are Mon.-Thurs. 10am-8pm; Fri. 10am-5pm; Sat. 10am-2pm
To learn more of the Bayne family go to: www.einetwork.net/ein/bayne/history.htm
Address: 34 North Balph, Bellevue, Pa.
Directions: on the corner of North Balph and Teece Avenues
- Family Travel
Antiquing is a favorite pastime of mine, so I really enjoy spending an afternoon with friends or family looking through these interesting shops?
Antiques and Uniques has a great number of vintage items to sort through. I've been gifted with a small juice glass to add to my collection from this shop. I also found two 5 by 7 'shabby chic' floral prints from the 1950's. I kept one and gave one as a Christmas gift--a nostalgic reminder of days long gone.
I particularly like searching for vintage kitchenware here, such as, fiestaware, celluloid handled utensils, embroidered tea towels and the like. When you're done browsing, stop by the Rusty Nail for lunch!
Address: 494 Lincoln Avenue, Bellevue, Pennsylvania
- Women's Travel
Bellevue offers a wealth of 19th century homes, so plan to drive around the town's side streets to spot them. Like most small towns, it has Houses of Worship, a town park or two and of course, a main street lined with shops.
pics 1 & 2 a few of Bellevue's Homes
pic #3 striking Greenstone United Methodist Church
pic #4 the former Bellevue Savings and Loan
Through the years that we've visited my Mom, we've noticed that many of the homes have been restored or have made improvements to the landscape. Pittsburgh is surrounded by hills, so sometimes this is quite challenging.
I'm glad this small town continues to treasure and appreciate its heritage.
Address: Bellevue, Pennsylvania
Directions: 3-4 miles outside of Pittsburgh, Pa.
As mentioned in my earlier tip, the property comprising a Memorial Library and Park was donated to the borough of Bellevue by sisters, Amanda Bayne Balph and Jane Bayne Teece as a tribute to their father, Andrew Bayne.
Shade trees, a picnic shelter, basketball court, playground and monument to the town's fallen sons from WWI surrounds the library. In 1920, twelve shade trees were dedicated to also honor those soldiers who died. Later, in 1921 after a proper ceremony, nameplates were placed on the trees designating their names.
A bronze monument of a soldier stands facing the street, created by Giuseppe Moretti, a sculptor from Pittsburgh. It stands 14 feet tall and is very detailed in uniform and belt with canteen, kit and helmet. His right arm extends the symbol of liberty to the heavens. The plaque reads:
"Erected by the loyal citizens of Bellevue to their patriotic sons who served in the World War. They loved peace, but dared to fight".
The monument was refurbished in 2000 by Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Sokols--their gesture becoming part of a Veteran's Day ceremony.
For more on the history of Bellevue see: www.borough.bellevue.pa.us/bayne/bayne_park.html
Address: North Balph and Teece Ave., Bellevue, Pa
- Family Travel
Situated along busy Lincoln Avenue, the John Hermann Memorial Art Museum contains the impressive collection of the paintings, sketches and watercolors of this local artist. Having never married, he bequeathed his hefty body of work to the town of Bellevue.
Mr. Herman painted a variety of Pittsburgh scenes, but was quite well known in Florida for his watercolor paintings completed on location there. I thought it was interesting that he painted for his own enjoyment, that of his friends and family, but not to sale.
John Hermann had a lifelong love of painting, but waited decades to realize his dream. Out of respect for his father, he joined the family's tannery business as a young man, remaining there for 37 years. After his father passed on, John Hermann became a dedicated artist, rather than just pursuing his craft on weekend jaunts.
Later in life he traveled the world, producing European landscapes and collecting some interesting bronzes along the way, which are displayed in the museum.
John Hermann donated over 1,000 pieces of art to the museum for the public's appreciation. His pieces range from those he created in the early 1900's until his passing in 1942.
Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 12 Noon until 4 pm. There is no admission charge. At one time you could just drop by, but now you must call the telephone number below to arrange a viewing.
*photo borrowed from website below
Address: 318 Lincoln, Ave., Bellevue,Pa
Directions: Along the main street of Bellevue
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits