Peculiar Pittsburgh

Just how old is your old Pittsburgh house? Here’s how to find out

We looked into a Mexican War Streets row house for a Peculiar Pittsburgh reader.

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mj slaby / the incline
MJ Slaby

The Mexican War Streets row house was built before the neighborhood was even part of Pittsburgh — and its latest chapter included five minutes of fame on HGTV.

But exactly how old is this old house?

Knowing when a home was built isn’t always clear, and that’s why a reader, who wanted to remain anonymous, asked this of Peculiar Pittsburgh, where you submit queries and The Incline staff investigates (Ask us here.):

Is it possible to date the construction of my North Side row house to 1864?

A realtor told the question-asker that his house was built in 1910. But while on the Mexican War Streets House & Garden Tour in September, the owner learned that a house near his was from 1864, prompting him to wonder if the realtor’s estimate was accurate.

In October, this house was even featured on an episode of “House Hunters,” where it fit the bill for one of the house hunters, but the other not so much.

It turns out, the owner was right to wonder about the age of his house. Archives, maps and preservation experts point to the house being built in the 1860s. Here’s what we found — and how you can determine how old your house is, too.