The cost of buying Reduction — a little-known 76-acre village in South Huntingdon where trainloads of Pittsburgh trash were incinerated a century ago — has been reduced.
For a bargain price of $999,900, about $500,000 less than the original asking price six years ago, you can own the cluster of 19 rental homes — mostly yellow brick and block cottages — and a 1914 South Huntingdon schoolhouse converted into a duplex and an A-frame house. The village, along the Youghiogheny River about 2 miles from the Smithton exit of Interstate 70, takes its name from the trash-burning American Reduction Co., which had its plant there.
The owners, David Stawovy of Scottdale, the village caretaker, and his siblings – Jacqueline Janos, 72, of Rostraver; Cheryl Albig, 68, of West Newton; and Jan Stawovy, 61, from Hempfield – recently lowered the asking price after failing to reach an agreement on previous offers.
“I’m not going to give up for nothing,” said David Stawovy, 73, the executor of their parents, John and Amelia Stawovy. The land has been in the family since his parents bought it in 1948 from a Pittsburgh couple, according to the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds.
The property was originally listed at around $990,000 and then increased to $1.5 million, the sisters said.
A buyer would derive income from the modest rental properties, about 15 of which were built nearly a century ago to house American Reduction Co. workers.
The property has attracted several offers from potential buyers, said Dean Korber, the realtor handling the sale for Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in his Rostraver office. The parcel includes rental properties, outbuildings and approximately 50 acres of open land and farmland, plus 25 acres of woods that lead up the hillside to the old Baltimore & Ohio railroad tracks where passengers once rode to Board the train at Reduction Station along the Youghiogheny River. .
Reduction’s sale is complicated by the fact that David Stawovy and his three siblings each own 25% of the property and must agree on a price. David Stawovy said he has not been in contact with his brother, Jan, who is in Westmoreland County Jail awaiting a possible trial for illegal possession of a firearm.
The siblings had offers of $1.15 million and $850,000 in cash, but rejected them, Korber said.
Cheryl Albig said their brother David had to accept the sale price for the property, held as John and Amelia Development LLC, because he is the executor of their parents’ estate, even if the others want it. accept.
“We need it closed. It’s been going on too long,” she said.
They recently rejected an offer of $575,000 to buy the land, Janos said. David Stawovy said during a recent visit to the family estate that the offer came from someone who wanted it as a game reserve.
“There are a lot of deer and wild turkeys here,” Stawovy said.
But, if someone else is going to buy it for a game preserve, Stawovy said he’d rather buy it for himself and his sons.
The two sisters said they hoped any new owners would not kick out the residents, many of whom have lived there for many years. Residents have expressed concerns about their future, Janos said.
“We would like people to continue to live there and not close it down and move these people,” Albig said.
Among those who would be impacted by the sale of Reduction would be Chuck Lanham, who has lived in the village for 22 years.
“I raised my family (two daughters) here. I like it here. It’s nice and quiet,” said Lanham, who was one of David Stawovy’s students when Stawovy taught industrial arts at Yough High School.
The story of reduction
The history of the small village is linked to the city of Pittsburgh, when it was one of the American steel centers at the turn of the 20th century.
A newspaper story about the plant’s closure—American Reduction sold the land in 1940—said the company collected the garbage in Pittsburgh and moved it on Baltimore & Ohio Railroad line cars to company incinerator. The story dates back to 1898.
“They would have 16 trains of waste” every day and about 100 workers to sort it, removing metal and glass that could be recycled, Stawovy said.
All that remains of the incinerator is the remains of the plant’s foundation, which was fueled by coal that Stawovy said was dug on the property.
One of the products from the recycling process was “red oil,” a base for soap production, according to the newspaper report. So much waste was processed that approximately 30 tank cars of grease were pulled from the bin each month.
To ensure the company has a reliable workforce, American Reduction built 15 houses within walking distance of the factory.
Brian Albig, Cheryl’s husband, said her grandmother in West Newton spoke of the terrible smell that wafted through the air as the garbage train passed through town.
“The stench of those railroad cars would make you cry,” Bryan Albig recalled, telling his grandmother.
That all changed when Pittsburgh chose to burn its trash rather than send it into the country.
The beginnings of the family
John Stawovy wanted to buy one of Reduction’s houses to be near his family farm, but the owner offered him the whole village, which he bought.
The houses had well water that was pumped into the houses, with one tap in the basement and one in the kitchen. “Washing” meant filling a bucket, not a tub, said Stawovy, who retired in 2004 as an industrial arts teacher at Yough Senior High School.
An outbuilding in the yard served as a toilet. The toilet paper, Stawovy recalls, was a page in the big Sears catalog at the time.
The village had a small market in one of the houses, but the people of Reduction could buy their meat, cheese and eggs from the Stawovy farm, Valentine’s Dairy, named after his grandfather.
David Stawovy remembers doing chores on the farm while his sisters delivered milk.
“We all helped out,” the sisters said.
The list of properties for Reduction can be found on HowardHanna.com.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Joe by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .