Margaret Cust was born in 1809 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Margaret married John Shoenberger in the mid-1830s, where they lived a gracious life in Pittsburgh. They lived in a beautiful mansion on Penn Avenue. Today, their home is the site of Gateway Center. In 1837, they built a second house in Collinstown, which is now called Lawrenceville. The home was the site of the first Saint Margaret Hospital.
Margaret and John Shoenberger lived the idea life in the nineteenth century; however, their wealth could not buy good health and children. Their great-nephew and great-niece were named after them but they died young. Margaret Cust Blair died at age thirteen and Thomas Shoenberger Blair lived from 1848 to 1852. Also, Margaret's health was declining. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1870s. She died at her home in Lawrenceville on August 30, 1878.
After Margaret died, John Shoenberger moved to New York City. He sold his Lawrenceville estate to Allegheny Cemetery. In New York City, he married Alice E. Taylor. John Shoenberger died in New York on November 12, 1889. John left the people of Pittsburgh about $10 million, along with more than three acres of land to build and maintain a hospital to immortalize his first wife. It shall forever be called and known as St. Margaret Hospital. (Brignano, 29)
Throughout the 1970s, the committee realized that St. Margaret didn't belong in Lawrenceville anymore. A location that appealed to the Long Range Planning Committee was the site of Pittsburgh's former water filtration plant, across the Allegheny from Lawrenceville and adjacent to the Borough of Aspinwall. (Brignano, 84) The St. Margaret family broke ground on November 29, 1976. The new building was ready by March 1980. In 1994, St. Margaret partnered up with UPMC Health System. St. Margaret was the first Pittsburgh hospital to affiliate with UPMC. UPMC St. Margaret has stated its dedication to maintain its mission of service to the community. (Brignano, 104)
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