Days are numbered for the old Baum homestead in East End—but its name will live on through gifts and land grants of earlier generations who helped to build Pittsburgh.
Wrecking machinery today will shatter the lofty walls and demolish the sturdy foundation of the home and barn at 340 Roup Street.
Nearby at 366 South Graham Street lives Mrs. Susanna Winebiddle Baum, to whom the house has doubly warm memories since both her own and her husband's descendants were linked to its building.
"But those of the family who are left, have homes and families of their own now and cannot make use of the old homestead," she said. "We prefer it be torn down rather than remain to house strangers."
East End a Farm Then
The house was built in 1820 by John Roup. Then East End was a farming section, almost as famous for the hospitality of its homes as it was for the products of its fields and orchards.
But before John Roup erected the 16-room house, his family and his wife's family had been making history in Pittsburgh.
Documents in possession of Mrs. Baum point to Conrad Winebiddle as the first of the family in this district.
Although he was born in Germany, he was allied with the British forces when he came to America. He was a well-to-do youth.
Tannery Supplies Troops
When the Revolutionary War started, he joined the Colonists. He had a tannery at the forks of the road, now Penn Avenue and Butler Street, and tanned much of the leather used for outfitting the Colonial troops in marching boots.
He was married in 1761 to Elizabeth Weitzel. Their children were Barbara, Philip, Kitty and Conrad Winebiddle.
The home where the children was [sic] born was near the site of Second Avenue and Wood Street. The property extended down the Monongahela River banks.
It was the lovely Barbara Winebiddle who married Jacob Negley. He took his bride to the East End where the families owned 500 acres of farm lands.
Meantime, Jonas Roup, a farmer from Lancaster, Pa. and his family settled in Pittsburgh. Their son, John, courted and married Kitty Winebiddle. His sister Susanna, was courted by Philip Winebiddle whom she married in 1806.
Mansion Replaces Cabin
Kitty and John Roup built a log cabin home, near the site of the present Baum house after their marriage but in 1820, when Roup had made a name for himself as a thrifty farmer, he erected a large 16-story [sic] home for his wife and their only daughter, Rebecca.
It was not a native Pittsburgher, however, who won the heart of 'Becky Roup. She fell in love with William Penn Baum, who had come to the town as a child from Baltimore. They married in May, 1832.
With such a large house and farm lands to be cared for, it was natural that John Roup insisted his daughter and son-in-law make their home with him.
It was in this way, since Rebecca Baum had nine sons, and one daughter, the estate finally became known quite as much as the Baum homestead as the Roup.
Noted for Charity.
Noted for their charity and hospitality, the family became a stronghold in East Liberty. They counted Jonas Roup McClintock, mayor of Pittsburgh, in 1836, among their kin. They entertained statesmen and governors at their home. The parlor, with specially reinforced floor, was the scene of some of the gayest social affairs and dances of the years before and after the Civil War.
Brigadier-General James Scott Negley, who spent most of his boyhood days on the Baum farm, was buried from the home with full military honors.
In 1877, during the strike riots in Pittsburgh, the Baum Grove was headquarters for the State militia.
Mrs. Kate Baum Shillito, the only daughter in the Baum household, was the last one of the family to occupy the home. She died two years ago, leaving the property to Mrs. Susanna Baum.
Farm lands are long since gone and the acres where grain and corn used to grow long since have given place to rows of houses and apartments.
But in the names of Baum Boulevard, Roup Street and Winebiddle Avenue, memory of the pioneers will last in years to come. Gifts of land for the building of streets, railways and churches further carry on the tradition. The youngest member of the family today is William Winebiddle Baum, nine months old, grandson of Mrs. Susanna Baum.