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North Hills Monthly

Good Ol’ Days House is a Gateway to the Past

Feb 28, 2018 05:02PM ● By Shari Berg

When life gets hectic and the good old days start to sound appealing, you can take a walk back in time at 914 Broad Avenue in North Belle Vernon. Aptly named the Good Ol' Days House, this one-of-a-kind getaway is a gateway to the past. 

Walking into the home is like crossing over into the 1950s, complete with rotary corded telephones and a vintage television set.  Good Ol' Days House is a three-story home “that is truly frozen in time,” according to North Belle Vernon native Melanie Patterson, who spent two years lovingly transforming the old family homestead into a unique guest home for travelers. 

The home has been in the family since 1949, when Patterson’s grandparents emigrated to the United States from Calabria, Italy. The house had been handed down to other family members over the years, with Patterson’s Aunt Janie most recently occupying it until her death in 2007 at the age of 89. “My aunt was the last of her siblings, and no one else from the family stepped forward to express interest in the house,” said Patterson. 

When family came into town to attend her aunt’s funeral, Patterson said that she realized that aside from staying with other family members, the only options for out-of-town guests in the Pittsburgh area were hotels and bed and breakfasts. “I found that there was virtually nothing in our area as far as guest houses, and I thought I would be able to take the house and use it for that purpose,” she explained. 

Patterson brought in a number of contractors to assess the house with the intention of renovating and updating it. “But I started to pay attention to what they were saying, about how walking into the house was like walking back in time, and I decided to take the charm and charisma that was already in the house and just go with it,” said Patterson. 

It took nearly two years of work to get the house in order. Patterson prides herself on the fact that everything in the house is original–from appliances, to curtains, to record players and even the corded telephones. “Everything in this house is authentic,” she said. “There are no reproductions. Everything from the tables and chairs and even the cookware is original to the house.” 

Patterson said some of her past guests have likened the home to visiting the Heinz Museum’s 1950s-era room, which features a variety of items from that time period. “It’s a living museum that you can sleep in and hang out in,” she said, laughing. “It’s quite a learning experience, especially for some kids, who have never seen or used a corded phone. Many of them will start to walk away while using it, not realizing that the cord prevents them from getting too far.”

Aside from being a fun blast from the past, the guest house’s location along Interstate 70 makes it convenient to the Laurel Highlands, Fallingwater and numerous Pittsburgh-area attractions. There is a two-night minimum stay when renting the house. Those who would just like a sneak peek at the place are able to do so during several planned charity events throughout the year, including “Sock it to a Vet” in October and the Christmas PJ Party in December. A complete list of events is available on the Good Ol' Days House website at