Taken from the Historic American Buildings Survey Report on West Overton, Pennsylvania
HABS No. PA-5654, HABS PA 65-OVTW, 11, 1992

Introduction to HABS:
Historic American Buildings Survey
and Their Report on West Overton
written by K. R. Overholt Critchfield, © August 10, 2004

Anyone interested in researching the history of West Overton should visit the web site of the Library of Congress -- in particular, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Go to their Search page, type in the name "Overholt" or "West Overton," remembering to adjust the search for the exact match of your search words, and you will be shown a list of 17, 18 or 19 listed items that comprise the Survey reports on the Abraham Overholt house, Henry S. Overholt house, and Christian S. Overholt store and house, plus the other buildings at West Overton, including the Distillery, barns, and worker's houses that still exist in the complex. The list allows you access to the drawings, b&w photographs, data pages and caption pages of the various architectural subjects of the HABS study.

This HABS report gave credence to the value of West Overton Village, named to the National Register of Historic Districts in 1985 as "an outstanding example of a 19th century rural industrial village." The report provides a lot of detail to go along with the assertion that West Overton was the site of some very important Western Pennsylvania history. In my presentation of the report, I have included my own notes and a bit of research, but only a few footnotes and portions of the appendices. Be sure to check out the complete report online, which includes some handy census data (years 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880). It is very interesting to see who was living at West Overton, but keep in mind the researchers were only guessing, presenting "an approximation of who might have been in West Overton, based on known names from the Overholt Company ledgers and on relevant occupations."

You will find that with a few exceptions, I underlined the names of individuals throughout the report. I hope this helps you pick out certain individuals. Also, there are no photos or illustrations in the presentation, which is my attempt at making it printer-friendly. Instead, I have placed all the pertinent illustrations on this page.

In their own words, "The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections are among the largest and most heavily used in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. The collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies including examples as diverse as the Pueblo of Acoma, houses, windmills, one-room schools, the Golden Gate Bridge, and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. . . . The Library of Congress presents these documents as part of the record of the past. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times."

Built In America
The Historic American Buildings Survey/
The Historic American Engineering Record

1876 Atlas, p. 53; HABS No. PA-5654, p. 42

West Overton Site Plan c. 1920
HABS No. PA-5654

West Overton Site Plan 1990
HABS No. PA-5654

Canton Zürich, Switzerland

Photos of Individuals Mentioned

~~ Abraham Overholt ~~

Thomas Mellon ~~ Thomas Mellon

Maria Overholt Frick Overholt ~~ Elizabeth Stauffer Overholt Frick ~~ John W. Frick ~~ Henry Clay Frick

Anna Overholt Frick Braddock ~~ Aaron Overholt Frick ~~ Jay Edgar Frick ~~ Sallie Overholt Frick Lott

Henry Clay Frick ~~ Helen Clay Frick

Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania;
Personal and Genealogical, Vol. 2; Northwestern Historical Association,
Madison, Wisconsin, 1904; pp. 239-240; Historic Pittsburgh.

The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians; A Standard Reference;
Leader Publ., Pittsburgh, PA; 1913; p. 124; Historic Pittsburgh.

End of Introduction to HABS Report on West Overton.

Go on to Page One of HABS Report . . . or return to first page of Karen's Branches.