Local Author: Melanie Linn Gutowski
December 16 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Join us for a table signing with local author and historian Melanie Linn Gutowksi! Melanie has written two books on local history, one about the beloved Kaufmann’s Department Store, and another about the history of Pittsburgh’s mansions. Both books are part of Arcadia’s popular Images of America series, and they make a great gift for the history nut or ‘Burgh-lover in your family!
About Kaufmann’s Department Store:
Kaufmann’s Department Store was a force in Pittsburgh retail from its humble beginnings in 1871 until its merger with Federated Department Stores in 2006. The “Big Store” downtown was a landmark shopping emporium with 12 floors of everything from cosmetics and groceries to wedding gowns and lawn mowers. Under the leadership of Edgar J. Kaufmann and his wife, Liliane, the store became a forum for exhibitions of art, cutting-edge technology, and Parisian haute couture. Generations of Pittsburghers hold fond memories of meeting friends and family under the famous Kaufmann’s clock to lunch at the Tic Toc Restaurant, pick up cookies at the Arcade Bakery, or peer into the store’s enchanting Christmas window displays each December.
About Pittsburgh’s Mansions:
In the 19th century, the positioning of Pittsburgh as a major manufacturing center and the subsequent rise of the area’s steel industry created a wave of prosperity that prompted the beneficiaries of that wealth to construct extravagant residences. Wealthy enclaves sprang up in the city’s East End, across the river in neighboring Allegheny City, and into the countryside. Pittsburgh’s Mansions explores the stately homes of the area’s prominent residents from the 1830s through the 1920s. Businessmen such as H.J. Heinz, Henry Clay Frick, and members of the Mellon family commissioned elaborate homes from the preeminent architects of their day. Firms such as Alden & Harlow, Janssen & Abbott, and Rutan & Russell left their marks on the city’s landscape, often contributing iconic public buildings as well as expansive private homes. Though many of the residences have since been lost, Pittsburgh’s Mansions offers a look back at the peak of the city’s prominence.
About the author:
Melanie Linn Gutowski is a writer and public historian based in the Greater Pittsburgh area. She is the author of the pictorial histories Pittsburgh’s Mansions (2013) and Kaufmann’s Department Store (2017), both from Arcadia Publishing. Her history writing has appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Quarterly and the Victorian Society in America’s Nineteenth Century journal. Melanie is a three-time finalist for the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania’s Golden Quill Awards and currently serves on the borough of Sharpsburg’s Historical Commission. (Text and author photo copyright Melanie Linn Gutowski)