The Frick family home in Pittsburgh may be the only mansion remaining from the Gilded Age show places of Pittsburgh’s millionaire’s row. The “starter home” of Henry Clay Frick, whose wealth and taste in art are better displayed at the well-known Frick home/museum in New York City, this is the childhood home of his daughter Helen Clay Frick, and the place she chose as a more cozy retreat to spend her later years. She established her own legacy here via a modest art collection (her taste was not as good as her father’s, we think), and an endowment to preserve her collections, house and grounds.
We learn from our house tour docent that Helen originally wanted to make a multi-million dollar gift to endow a museum at the University here, but the University eventually declined the gift because she had too many strings attached, like demanding that they collect no German art, because she did not like Germans. So Helen just had a museum built on the grounds of her house, where she could write the rules so that it would display her collection, and no other art she would find objectionable. During our visit, some of her father’s art collection was also on exhibit, on loan from the other Frick in NYC.
|Inside Helen's Museum|
Our docent tells us that with just 25 rooms, this was one of the most modest homes of the rich and famous men living in Pittsburgh at the time, but we find that walking through its elegantly appointed rooms and strolling the grounds is a lovely way to step back into the luxury and excess of Pittsburgh’s Gilded Age.
|Every house needs a greenhouse, and the Fricks had several|