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Brentwood hotel to be preserved in art

Pittsburgh Post GazetteThursday, October 04, 2007
By Jim McMahon, Freelance Writer
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Although the days of Brentwood’s historic Point View Hotel are numbered, a local artist with an eye for detail and love of history, has ensured that the images of the storied structure will remain.

“When I learned that efforts to save the building had failed, I knew that I had to make a recording of it to preserve its image and its important role in Brentwood history,” said Tom Yochum, 83, a lifelong resident of the borough.

Mr. Yochum has a close attachment to the popular bar and restaurant that had its beginnings in 1832 as a stage coach stop and later reportedly served as an Underground Railroad haven for runaway slaves headed for Canada. A number of future presidents, including Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and James Buchanan are believed to have stayed in the hotel.

Mr. Yochum is an Art Institute of Pittsburgh graduate who managed to keep his artistic skills active during a 35-year career as a data processor at Mesta Machine in West Homestead. He honed his creative niche in retirement when he began to create pen and ink drawings of local homes and landmark architecture. To date he has done about 150 homes in Western Pennsylvania and has had his work exhibited.

He and his wife, Theresa, have three children, daughters, Lisa and Jackie, and son, Kim.

This spring he completed a drawing of the Point View, along with a likeness of what the structure looked like in 1939, the image copied from an old photograph provided to him by hotel owner Jim Vickless.

The historic hotel, at 3720 Brownsville Road, is slated to be demolished, and a medical professional building will be built on the site.

“The Point View was a great gathering place especially for local servicemen after the war,” said Mr. Yochum.

A World War II Navy veteran, he said the hotel, ”holds a warm spot in my heart.”

He said that Nick Andolina, the owner prior to Mr. Vickless, did a lot for local veterans and sponsored their sandlot baseball team.

Thanks to an arrangement with Dennis Luther, director of the Brentwood Public Library, the octogenarian’s artwork is on display at the facility where 13-by-16-inch matted prints can be purchased for $25 and nonmatted prints for $15.

The artist is donating a percentage of each sale to the library.

“The prints are just fabulous,” said Mr. Luther, who noted that four of the artist’s other local works, including one of the historic Davis farmhouse that was torn down and replaced by a fire hall, are permanently displayed in the library’s conference room.

Mr. Luther said that Mr. Yochum is an accomplished artist and a ”local legend for his pen and ink works.”

First published on October 4, 2007 at 6:17 am
Jim McMahon is a freelance writer.

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