Barnabas Hilands

Barnabas Hilands was another early settler who moved into the West View/Ross area shortly after the land was opened to settlement, in 1795. After moving here with his family, he died from exposure to the elements. His widow, Martha Hilands, and his children inherited the land.

 

Fred Schwitter

 

Frederick C. Martsolf

Frederick Christian Martsolf was one of the first developers to build homes on undeveloped land in the area. Martsolf built 50 homes after coming to West View in 1904. During this period of home-building, he was inspired to create a new community. He was the driving force behind the incorporation of West View and was elected its first president in 1905. Meetings of the first borough council were held in Martsolf's residence at 212 Martsolf Avenue. Today, Martsolf is considered the "Father of West View." Unfortunately, Martsolf would not live to see the great community West View would become, as he passed away unexpectedly in 1907.

Frederick C. Martsolf was born in Butler, Pennsylvania in 1848. As a young man, he served two years in the Civil War and then went west and spent the next twenty-four years in Arizona working as a successful building contractor. He returned to Pittsburgh and joined a contracting/construction business with two of his brothers and then his three oldest sons. Between 1897 and 1904, he bought and developed West View" more than 50 properties in McKees Rocks, Stowe, Chartiers, Bellevue, and Ross, working frequently with the Allegheny-Bellevue Land Company. About the same time, he discovered the pleasant valley in Ross, which was the site of the Schwitter Dairy, Blind Florals, and the Five Mile House and knew he had located the place where he could implement his "new century" vision of suburban life away from the dirt and smoke of the steel mills and the noise of city life. He built 50 houses in the West View area and gathered support from interested locals and the Allegheny-Bellevue Land Company. His vision for the land included modern transportation, police and fire protection, water and sewer systems, streets and laws. By the end of 1904, the Land Company had bought over 700 acres of land, which covered one square mile to develop. On March 20, 1905, due to Martsolf's tenacity and drive, West View Borough was incorporated in County court. Frederick Martsolf was elected president of the first seven-member Borough council. The new West View Borough was an area full of dreams, community spirit and a leader to see the dreams become reality. Martsolf built a house for his family and was influential in the organization of the First Presbyterian Church of West View. Frederick Christian Martsolf died suddenly on December 14, 1907. His death left a large gap in the Borough leadership. The street where he built his home was renamed Martsolf Avenue in his honor. It is a tribute to his vision, determination and perseverance as the "Father of West View", that we are able to celebrate in 2005 the centennial of the Borough he created and loved.

Fred Schwitter was born on March 3, 1847 in Canton Glarus, Switzerland. He immigrated to the United States in 1866 and eventually made his way to Allegheny County. He was a silk dyer by trade, but he found it hard to find employment at his trade in the United States. After taking several odd jobs, he started a small dairy business in 1871. His dairy business did well, so well that in 1881, he purchased the old Morrow homestead, which contained 75 acres. He built a large mansion on Perry Highway at the current location of Bellaire Apartments. In addition, he was an early supporter of the railway system and helped get it extended to his home.

Casper Reel

Casper Reel was born in Frankfurt, Germany on May 11, 1742. He and his family immigrated to America and originally settled near Baltimore, where his mother and two of his siblings were killed in a Native American attack. By 1774, he had moved to Fort Pitt where he eventually enlisted in the Continental Army, serving under George Washington and fighting at the Battle of Brandywine. In 1791, Reel obtained a 727-acre farm in Pine Township for his service in the army. He built a cabin in 1792 but was constantly under attack by Native 

Americans, so he left his cabin temporarily and returned in 1795. He went on to own over 800 acres of land and was one of the wealthiest men in the area. He died on October 10, 1824 and is buried in the Reel family cemetery, located near the 18th hole of the golf course. Reel is considered the first settler of West View/Ross.

the Schwitter farm                                                                                                                           Fred Schwitter Sweet Home Dairy delivery carriage