"I love art, I love history, and I love to teach," says Greenblatt. "Carlow's program at the Cranberry site and online was made especially for people like me."
More than 10.2 million viewers tuned in to the 2014 premiere of
Masterpiece Theatre series, Downton
Abbey, the fictional tale of the aristrocratic
Crawley family and their servants in post-Edwardian England.
Downton aficionados have lived vicariously
through the sinking of the RMS Titanic and the First World War, and
are now immersed in the glamour and social confusion of the roaring
Local Downton-lovers may not realize it, but
Pittsburgh's true tales of turn-of-the-century high society rival
the Abbey's fiction. For the real scoop, they need look no further
than the Sewickley
Heights History Center, directed by Dana Greenblatt, a current
art education graduate student at Carlow's Cranberry campus.
The Sewickley Heights History Center's 1931 American Austin, manufactured in Butler, Pennsylvania, by the American Austin Car Company. The original price was $450.
In those days, when Pittsburgh's steel industry was in its
infancy, industrialists and business leaders lived in Old
Allegheny, across the river from Pittsburgh. When pollution became
chokingly thick, the industrialists relocated to the rolling
countryside of Sewickley Heights.
The exquisite mansions they built-referred to as "cottages"—were actually working farms maintained by myriad servants and
featuring stone walls, gatehouses, formal gardens, tennis courts,
and swimming pools.
Heights History Center, located at 1901 Glen Mitchel Road in
Sewickley, Pa., offers a unique collection of film, photos, and
vintage attire, combined with antique cars and carriages, recalling
the lifestyle of Pittsburgh's early industrialists.
Dana Greenblatt, Master of Education with Certification in Art Education student (2014) and Director of the Sewickley Heights History Center
A Butler, Pa., resident, Greenblatt's undergraduate degrees in
art history and business led her to positions as an art gallery
curator and high-end interior designer. She also spent time
teaching tennis and snowboarding to area youth. Today, as the
working mom of an active seven-year-old boy, Greenblatt wants to
combine her passions while accommodating her hectic schedule.
Teaching art seemed a perfect choice. And Carlow made it
"I love art, I love history, and I love to teach," says
Greenblatt. "Carlow's program at the Cranberry site and online was
made especially for people like me."
Greenblatt is thrilled that Downton Abbey has
reignited a fascination with Pittsburgh's Gilded Age. She loves
revealing little-known tidbits about local industrialists' lives
and livelihoods-such as how the former Hillside Farm, a 1,100 acre
estate owned by crucible steel co-founder Lewis Park, had an
outside staff of 42 to care for its 30 dogs, 1,500 chickens, golf
course, roller coaster, pool, and fire truck.
The Sewickley Heights History Center Mural by Richard Smith (photo courtesy of the Sewickley Heights History Center)
Whitney Snyder, chairman of the board of the History Center,
says Greenblatt is doing a "wonderful job" bringing history to life
as cultivates the Center's video archives and organizes such events
as the Antique Car Extravaganza, Riding and Driving Party, lecture
series, and The Great Gatsby Affair.
"Dana's positive energy has become contagious to all of us at
the History Center," says Snyder, "which will help grow this little
museum into something very special, not only in the Sewickley
community, but also throughout Western Pennsylvania."
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