When Gail McClaskey purchased her home at 406 S. Olive more than 20 years ago, she said she was struck by the small size of her yard.

When Gail McClaskey purchased her home at 406 S. Olive more than 20 years ago, she said she was struck by the small size of her yard.
“I kept thinking, what a tiny little yard. It was so little,” McClaskey said. “Now, it’s about all that I can handle. I’m glad that it’s small.”
McClaskey’s talents for handling that yard earned her this month’s honors from Pittsburg Beautiful, along with Bill and Jane Wintle at 308 Webster and VanBecelaere’s Machine Shop, 504 N. Grand.
“I was very surprised and honored that I was selected,” McClaskey said. “I appreciated that somebody else noticed. I think Pittsburg Beautiful is a nice program, and they do a great job. It’s nice to take pride in our community.”
McClaskey’s honors came from more than just yard work. Along with the property’s landscaping, she said she has painted and stripped the wood work, redone the inside of the home and put a new roof on it.
“As far as the inside of the house, it’s an old house and needs and needed a lot of work,” McClaskey said.
But McClaskey said she enjoys working in the yard, and it shows both in the front and back yards. McClaskey has several pretty mums in the front yard, but takes extra pride in the backyard. That’s where McClaskey keeps a variety of plants, from roses to annuals and petunias. She also has several statues and outdoor wicker decorating the back.
“I like to fix it up for my grandchildren, so that they can have a place that is kind of fun,” McClaskey said. “I also really enjoy my screened-in front porch. One of the things I enjoy most about my house is that I can decorate (the porch) with the seasons.”
Bill and Jane Wintle’s plans for decorating their property changed with age.
“I always told people when I was younger I wanted to be able to buy a house where you could grow trees,” Jane Wintle said. “But when we retired and moved back to Pittsburg in 1992, we were old enough that we needed to buy somewhere where the trees were already grown.”
The result, Jane said, was that the Wintles picked out their property at 308 Webster.
“I always loved this area of Pittsburg,” Jane said. “We bought a house that we think had a lot of character to it.” But it was in need of some serious updating. Jane said that the home was stuck in the 1960s, and added that the landscaping and grass had been neglected.
“I tell people that I had to scoop up acorns by the spoon shovel,” Jane said. “It got to where each year, we tried to do more. We had a nice band of grass, so we moved to shrubbery, and so on. Whenever we get to where we are pleased, we always move on to something else. We keep adding to it.”
That work, Jane said, was part of the fun. Previously, the Wintles lived in a ranch-style home that was difficult to dress up. But in their home on Webster, the Wintles purchased a home Jane said was built with the same bricks used for Lakeside School. Once the Wintles redid the inside and brought out the outside with lighter and brighter colors, the home was starting to take place.
“I was surprised when we received the award,” Jane said. “There are a lot of other people who work really hard on their house and their yards. It’s kind of impossible to get around and honor each one, so we were very pleased when we were selected.”
Surprise and pleasure was also the reaction from VanBecelaere’s Machine Shop, said Joel VanBecelaere, vice president.
“I was kind of shocked,” VanBecelaere said. “I know that they do businesses, but at the same time, you think of it as more of an award for homes.”
VanBecelaere said he was also surprised to get noticed because of the business’s location on 504 N. Grand, outside of any of the city’s industrial parks. But that location didn’t hide the work on the business, which VanBecelaere said included an addition, new offices and more decoration on the front of the building. That front, which previously featured a metal look, was redone into a softer, stucco-like feature, and new windows were also added.
“We were just trying to dress it up a little bit,” VanBecelaere said. “We certainly appreciate recognition for that.”

Pittsburg Beautiful will meet at noon this Monday at the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce office, 117 W. Fourth. The organization meets at that time and location on the first Monday of every month, unless otherwise indicated. Call Louis Stroup, Pittsburg Beautiful president, at 231-6619 for more information.