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Ghosts at PGH’s Community College

Byers Hall - Wikipedia image by Lee Paxton
Byers Hall – Wikipedia image by Lee Paxton

Something strange happened at what is now Community College of Allegheny County, PA. The campus is located on Pittsburgh’s historic north side along Ridge Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The college,  located on Pittsburgh’s North Shore is surrounded by scenic PNC Park, West Park, and Heinz Field. The  grounds contain about 10 acres and officially opened as an educational facility in 1966.

Of particular paranormal interest, the campus has Byers Hall which includes the Byers-Lyon House located at 901 Ridge Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA. In 1974, the Byers-Lyon House was added on to the National Register of Historical Places. Today it serves housing the offices of the President; and the Visual Arts Center.

The mansion was built in 1898 along what has been called Pittsburgh’s Millionaires’ Row, which includes homes of many wealthy and influential individuals of the City of Allegheny now part of the City of Pittsburgh.   

According to the book, “Ghost Stories of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County” by Beth E. Trapani & Charles I. Adams III, published by Exeter House Books in 1994, students at the college claimed to have seen a ghostly figure of a woman clinging to the iron fence which surrounds the second floor porch of Buyers Hall.

The Byers-Lyon House was where, in 1902, the tragic death of millionaire Alexander Byer’s youngest granddaughter occurred. Byers daughter Maude and husband John Lyon lived in the mansion with their 4 year old daughter. One evening a young German nanny fell asleep after watching the child. The little girl fell from walking on a “glass light shaft” floor, or skylight which shattered, plunging her 70 feet below to her death at the foot of the stairs.

By the next morning family members discovered the suicide of the nanny by hanging herself in the same light shaft high above the stairs. Written in the dust of the light shaft were German words that when translated mean: “Please forgive me.”

For many years claims of ghostly sobbing noises can be heard at various times. A small child girl ghost has been seen wandering around sometimes holding hands with the nanny. Many college students have claimed the two ghosts of the granddaughter and the nanny still roam the building.

Some spirit activity has somewhat diminished over the years as CCAC removed the skylight in hopes perhaps that the spirits may rest in peace.

Visitors on the Allegheny County Community College’s north side campus can take a peak at Byers Hall; open daily from 8 am to 4:30 pm during the school year.

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