THE WILLIAM C. ROBINSON HOUSE
House & Family History
Built in the late 1840s, the William C. Robinson house was one of several dwellings located strategically between the Saltsburg section of the Main Line Canal and the Kiskiminetas River. However, prior to any permanent buildings or structures, this area was an important part of the industrial and economical development of Saltsburg, Pa.
In 1843, the land was owned by the house's namesake, William C. Robinson (WCR). Robinson married Ann Holdship, which made him son-in-law to one of the richest men in Pittsburgh during the time, Henry Holdship. Holdship owned the largest paper making establishment west of the mountains, and was a founding builder of the city, contributing an estimated $75,000 between the years of 1818-1820. (That's equivalent to about $1.6M today!)
WCR was a partner at Robinson & Minis, founders and engine builders. He was heavily involved in the Pennsylvania canal system and specifically focused on building steamboats and their engines. According to the eminent authority of the time, Robinson's firm erected the first iron hull steamboat built on western rivers. The vessel was constructed in 1839 and was named Valley Forge.
In 1842, WCR sold his share of the Valley Forge and shortly after his Saltsburg land, which was serving as a town center for the growing community of Saltsburg. The land was divided into smaller parcels and this portion was bought by Dr. Thomas Murray in 1846. Murray commissioned the construction of the house one year later.
The original house was built as a modest brick, two-story, three-bay mass, representative of a typical vernacular Federal-style dwelling. The architecture is concerned with domestic and functional use, similar to the houses found on "our nation's oldest residential street", Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia, Pa. The original dwelling did not include the front porch area or any of the rear extension of the building, i.e. the only present-day rooms in the original part of the home are the living room, staircase, Kiski Room (bedroom) and adjacent bathroom. The rest of the house was built between 1886-1891.
After decades of family-living and residential use, the property went for sale in late 2017 in "fixer upper" condition. Looking past the condition, the now-owners - Tony & Amy - were charmed by the house's history, character, and proximity to Saltsburg's wonderful outdoor recreations and local businesses. They bought the house and undertook a two-year, whole-house "DIY" renovation to open the property as a bed and breakfast for all of Saltsburg's travelers to enjoy.
Photo from Historic American Buildings Survey PA-5418. (LOC.gov)
The William C. Robinson house is one of many homes in Saltsburg protected for its historical significance.
In our renovation efforts we attempted to maintain as much charm and character as possible,
while adding some much-needed updates and functionality for comfortable and modern accommodations.
The gallery below contains some of the pictures from our intensive two-year renovation project. Enjoy!
"I stayed at the Saltsburg BnB with some friends for a kayaking weekend on the Conemaugh river. My experience was fantastic."
"Tony & Amy are absolutely wonderful. They put so much thought and effort into every detail..."
"Watching these two transform this beautiful bed & breakfast has been amazing!"