For those who are not from this area or don’t know, CCAC is a community college in Allegheny county (CCAC…Community College of Allegheny County…)
Pittsburgh and it’s millionaires were here before CCAC. As the old millionaires and their families either moved or died, their mansions were sold. Some are still homes, some apartments, and others were absorbed by the surrounding colleges and universities. (We have a lot of those) One such mansion is the Byers-Lyons mansion.
Alexander Byers was one of the Pittsburgh millionaires who made his fortune in iron piping. As many men of his day he had a mansion built. The popular place for families of wealth at the time (1898) was Ridge Avenue…aka Millionaire’s Row.
He, his wife, and their young children occupied one side, while his daughter, Maude, her husband, John Lyon, and their children lived on the other. Maude was an activist of the times, and left her kids in the care of a nanny while out doing whatever it was she did, which her father disapproved of. He felt she should be a proper woman and stay home with the kids.
In 1902, Maude’s 4-year old daughter died when she crawled atop a skylight (my biggest question is how the HELL does a 4-year-old gt on a skylight????) and plummeted to her death when it broke. The nanny who was supposed to be watching her was taking a nap. The next day, the nanny hung herself from the stairwell.
One version of the tale is that the ghost of the little girl watched her as she swung above the steps, witnessed when the body was discovered.
Before she tied the noose, she wrote “Please don’t blame me” in the dust on the stairwell. (Who else is to blame? She was the nanny. It literally was her job to watch the child…which she didn’t do.)
Byers never spoke to his daughter again, blaming Maude for leaving the child in the care of a nanny instead of watching her herself. There had been many sightings of the girl since and the sounds of her crying.
The nanny has also been spotted, running up the stairs or walking together with the little girl. Sometimes the “thud” of her falling body can be heard. And every time the house is cleaned, the nanny’s message is seen again, scrawled in the dust.
The 90-room manse is now Byers Hall, serving as Community College of Allegheny County’s student union building and administrative offices. When CCAC removed the skylight in 1990, sightings of the granddaughter ceased. But the nanny is still around, serving an eternal penance for one moment of inattention.