Grant Street & More Walking Tour

With its concentration of major historic buildings and modern skyscrapers, Grant Street is downtown Pittsburgh’s showcase thoroughfare. You’ll explore some of Pittsburgh’s grandest buildings—the Allegheny County Courthouse, City-County Building, Frick Building, Union Trust Building, and William Penn Hotel, among others—and enjoy views from two urban spaces: Mellon Green and Mellon Square. Grant Street is rich in history and full of architectural details that delight the eye.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
412-471-5808, Ext. 527

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Grant Street & More Walking Tour

With its concentration of major historic buildings and modern skyscrapers, Grant Street is downtown Pittsburgh’s showcase thoroughfare. You’ll explore some of Pittsburgh’s grandest buildings—the Allegheny County Courthouse, City-County Building, Frick Building, Union Trust Building, and William Penn Hotel, among others—and enjoy views from two urban spaces: Mellon Green and Mellon Square. Grant Street is rich in history and full of architectural details that delight the eye.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
412-471-5808, Ext. 527

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Career Assessment and Awareness Program – FocusNOW

This free career assessment and awareness program presented by Dr. Herman L. Reid, Jr., EdD, is for young adults (ages 12 to 25) who are interested in developing a personal career plan. Parents are welcome to attend the Saturday session too. Following pizza and introductions, Dr. Reid will talk about career options and skills needed. After taking a brief personality test, participants will create career plans based on their strengths.
Career paths to be discussed include: accounting, auto and diesel mechanic, building maintenance, computer programming, computer specialist, dental assistant, electrician, graphic design, heating and air conditioning, hospitality and travel, legal administration, medical assistant, merchandising management, network management, office administration, paralegal, and welding.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is facilitating this series of six Saturday sessions in historic neighborhoods where it is at work.

Each session is limited to 20 young adults (plus parents)

RSVP required by the Tuesday preceding the Saturday event.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
1-412-471-5808

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Grant Street & More Walking Tour

With its concentration of major historic buildings and modern skyscrapers, Grant Street is downtown Pittsburgh’s showcase thoroughfare. You’ll explore some of Pittsburgh’s grandest buildings—the Allegheny County Courthouse, City-County Building, Frick Building, Union Trust Building, and William Penn Hotel, among others—and enjoy views from two urban spaces: Mellon Green and Mellon Square. Grant Street is rich in history and full of architectural details that delight the eye.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
412-471-5808, Ext. 527

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

Print This Post Print This Post

Grant Street & More Walking Tour

With its concentration of major historic buildings and modern skyscrapers, Grant Street is downtown Pittsburgh’s showcase thoroughfare. You’ll explore some of Pittsburgh’s grandest buildings—the Allegheny County Courthouse, City-County Building, Frick Building, Union Trust Building, and William Penn Hotel, among others—and enjoy views from two urban spaces: Mellon Green and Mellon Square. Grant Street is rich in history and full of architectural details that delight the eye.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
412-471-5808, Ext. 527

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Seven College Students Complete Internships With PHLF

We thank the following interns for volunteering with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation from January through April: Zachary Adams (University of Pittsburgh), Allison Ake (Duquesne University), Kelly Benninger (Carlow University), Colleen Gribbin (University of Pittsburgh), Elise Oberdick (Robert Morris University), Elena Ramsey (University of Pittsburgh), and Elizabeth Stoyle (University of Pittsburgh). They helped primarily with educational programs, publications, and research/archival activities. Read more about the internship of Elise Oberdick.

In addition, Michal Gould (Chatham University) has been assisting us with historical research. Julie Edwards (Kent State University graduate) and Megan Miller (University of Cincinnati) have been using their interior design skills to create new signage for a main street business in Leechburg, and have been a tremendous help with the “People Who Work to Improve Our Communities” career education program.

Beginning in May, PHLF welcomes a new group of about ten more college interns on an unpaid basis to help with summer educational programs, research activities, and preservation activities.

To learn more about PHLF’s internship program, click here.

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Student Reflects on Her Experience at PHLF

Elise Oberdick, a Robert Morris University Student, recently completed her internship with us. Below are a few sentiments on her experience at PHLF.

When searching for a nonprofit organization where I could complete my final internship, I had no idea how life altering my choice would be. Since my first day at the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to my last, I thoroughly enjoyed every second that I spent there.

I was fortunate enough to work on a multitude of projects that furthered my nonprofit business knowledge, and also had the opportunity to work directly with PHLF’s education department. This assisted me in developing skills necessary to realizing my passion––working with children.

One of the most fulfilling projects that I worked on while at PHLF was assisting with a new career education program for the Pittsburgh Public Schools titled, “People Who Work to Improve Our Communities.” I was able to see the program develop and help throughout all the stages. When the program was completed, I was also able to assist with presenting the program to fourth-grade students. This provided me with the opportunity to interact with the students, and to see how much work goes into developing an education program. I was so fortunate to be able to work so closely with the program and gained invaluable experience while doing so.

Another opportunity that PHLF provided to me was being able to assist on some of their many tours. These tours were such an amazing educational experience and they were probably my favorite aspect of my internship. I was able to work with many different age groups and gained knowledge about Pittsburgh that I had not previously known.

The experience that I have been fortunate enough to have while at PHLF has been unequaled in my undergraduate college career. I am so thankful for the opportunity that they provided to me.

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Career Education Program Inspires Students

PHLF staff, docents, and volunteers from AIAPittsburgh’s Young Architect’s Forum (YAF) presented an 80-minute career education program to 12 Pittsburgh Public Schools in April. Teachers commended the program, titled “People Who Work to Improve Our Community,” for “captivating the students, introducing them to jobs they did not know about, and driving home the point that they need to graduate from high school.”

Another teacher added: “Very few times can someone come in and grab the attention of all students. Every student was engaged and ready to learn and explore.”

Fourth-grade students learned about 16 professions through huge, full color posters and “tools of the trade.” They also toured the school (including the boiler room when possible) and discussed the surrounding neighborhood. They figured out how urban designers, architects, engineers, landscape architects, developers, contractors, electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers, carpenters, stone masons, small-business owners, bankers, lawyers, preservationists, and public officials would have been involved in creating or improving their school or neighborhood.

“The real-life objects were great. They really gave the students an opportunity to ‘pretend’,” noted one teacher.

Another added: “The program allowed students to see how things actually work in the school and community.”

PHLF thanks:

  • all the businesses who contributed photographs and information for use in the posters, and the “tools of the trade”;
  • The Alfred M. Oppenheimer Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Fine Foundation, and McSwigan Family Foundation whose support of PHLF’s educational programs helped underwrite this new resource; and
  • Joanna Beres, Valerie McDonough, Jenna Cramer, Phillips Iarrapino, and its docents and college interns (see below) for helping staff members present this program.

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School Tours in Full Swing

PHLF staff and docents are out every day now through mid-June, leading elementary through college-age students on walking tours of downtown Pittsburgh, Oakland, South Side, North Side, and the Strip District, among other places. Major funding support from the Alfred M. Oppenheimer Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Fine Foundation, and McSwigan Family Foundation make it possible for PHLF to keep the tours affordable to school groups.

We also thank the Gailliot Family Foundation and Grambrindi Davies Charitable Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation for underwriting the cost of printing 1,000 specially-designed T-shirts that are given to all students participating in our Downtown Dragons walking tour.

To schedule a school or group tour for the fall, contact Education Coordinator Karen Cahall (412-471-5808, ext. 537), or click here for tour details.

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See You at Kennywood: May 6 and May 24

Kennywood isn’t just about rides and fries. The National Historic Landmark is also a great place for students to sharpen their skills in math and develop an eye for architecture. During Kennywood Education Days on May 6 and 24, PHLF is releasing Geometry at Kennywood, a pocket-sized tablet with 18 problems to solve. Authors Kevin Connolly (Harvard University) and William Prince (University of Pittsburgh graduate) were summer interns with PHLF in 2010. If you want to figure out the diameter of the Merry-Go-Round, or find parallelograms and rhombuses, then contact Louise Sturgess (412-471-5808, ext. 536) at PHLF for a copy of Geometry at Kennywood. Funds from the McSwigan Family Foundation supported the design and printing of the workbook.

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Career Assesment and Awareness Program – FocusNOW

This free career assessment and awareness program presented by Dr. Herman L. Reid, Jr., EdD, is for young adults (ages 12 to 25) who are interested in developing a personal career plan. Parents are welcome to attend the Saturday session too. Following pizza and introductions, Dr. Reid will talk about career options and skills needed. After taking a brief personality test, participants will create career plans based on their strengths.
Career paths to be discussed include: accounting, auto and diesel mechanic, building maintenance, computer programming, computer specialist, dental assistant, electrician, graphic design, heating and air conditioning, hospitality and travel, legal administration, medical assistant, merchandising management, network management, office administration, paralegal, and welding.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is facilitating this series of six Saturday sessions in historic neighborhoods where it is at work.

Each session is limited to 20 young adults (plus parents)

RSVP required by the Tuesday preceding the Saturday event.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
1-412-471-5808


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Stretch Your Legs and Mind! Free Friday Walking Tours Begin May 6

Get out of the office and enjoy a free walking tour this Friday, May 6, from Noon to 1:00 p.m., or on any Friday in May. You’ll explore the Grant Street area and hear about the greatest of Pittsburgh’s great buildings, the tallest of its tall skyscrapers, and the leveling of a great hill.

Meet our tour guide at Noon on Grant Street near Sixth Avenue (in front of the Omni William Penn Hotel entrance).

Advance reservations are appreciated (so we can have enough tour guides and keep the groups small). Contact Mary Lu Denny (412-471-5808, ext. 527).

Each month features a different downtown walk. Join us for all five downtown walks, May through September, always Fridays at Noon. Bring your friends!

Click here for a calendar of events and to register for any of the free downtown walking tours.

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Teachers to Participate in PHLF Professional Education Course

A group of 14 teachers will participate in a fast-paced three-hour class, “Getting Real: Connecting Classroom Curricula to Your Community and City,” offered by PHLF on May 2. Teachers will ride the Monongahela Incline to view the city (and discuss its history and architecture); see a sampling of resources available from PHLF; and identify how they can use the built environment to enrich their classroom curriculum. Louise Sturgess, executive director of PHLF, is the course instructor; the course is offered through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

To register for PHLF’s three-credit summer course (June 21-30), “Community Connections: Pittsburgh Architecture and Resiliency Wellness,” please contact the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. For more details about the seven-day professional development course, contact Karen Cahall, PHLF’s education coordinator (412-471-5808, ext. 537).

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Fairbanks Feature: Pullman Porters and a “Red Cap” Family Story from a PHLF Member

James D. Van Trump Library | Frank B. Fairbanks Transportation Archive | Fairbanks Features

Showcasing a variety of materials located in the Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive

No. 9  Presentation

Fairbanks Feature: Pullman Porters and a “Red Cap” Family Story from a PHLF Member

Judith Esposito, a PHLF member and the daughter of Lewis and Ruth Anderson, has added to the Fairbanks Archive Biographical Railroad Sketches.

She has written a story about her father, Lewis Anderson, who worked for the railroad all of his life. He worked for the New York Central System, mostly in the Buffalo-New York area. In the 1950s and 60s, he was Train Master in Buffalo. At that time, he noticed a most able black man working as a “redcap.” He learned that this young man wanted to be a switchman. Using his influence and in spite of other workers’ displeasure, Lewis was able to get the man a switchman’s job.

You can read the complete Red Cap Story at the Fairbanks Archive, where you also can see the red cap (see photo 5) and the following:

  • Two articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 20, 2011).
  • Photographs from two of the many Pullman source books: Night Trains, by Peter T. Maiken, and 20th Century, by Lucius Beebe.
  • An original sign used by the Pullman Company.
  • Examples of two of the pamphlets used to promote services on the trains.
  • An original red cap hat from the New York Central System, on permanent display at the Fairbanks Archive. Although this cap was worn daily, it is still in wonderful condition.

The Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive is open by appointment on Wednesdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Use of the archive is free to PHLF members (one of the benefits!); non-members are assessed a $10 use fee.

The Archive is located on the fourth floor of The Landmarks Building at Station Square, in the offices of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

To schedule an appointment, email Judith Harvey: fairbanksarchive@phlf.org or contact Al Tannler (412-471-5808, ext. 515; al@phlf.org).

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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PHLF General Counsel Featured by National Trust for Historic Preservation

Anne Nelson, general counsel of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, has been featured as one of the “Professionals in Preservation” by the The National Trust For Historic Preservation’s career center forum.

As the full-time general counsel of PHLF and its subsidiaries, Landmarks Development Corporation (a for-profit real estate development subsidiary), Landmarks Community Capital Corporation (a nonprofit lending subsidiary), and various limited partnerships, Anne was one of three preservation law professionals who discussed what they do and how preservation law is an essential aspect of historic preservation.

Click here for the story.

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Historic West End Church Seeks A Sympathetic Buyer

The former West End A.M.E. Zion Church at 623 S. Main Street in Elliott, is listed for sale.  Designed  in 1887 by the architecture firm, Longfellow, Alden & Harlow  as the West End United Methodist Church, the massive stone Romanesque church sits on a residential street close to the West End border. It has a slate gable roof and a cruciform plan. The gable ends on the north and east facades are dominated by semicircular arched leaded glass lunettes with ribbon windows beneath. The church’s other features include a northwest corner tower with a pyramid slate roof and arcaded open belfry and beneath it are a small stained glass sash and a signature stone. It has a wall turret in the west corner topped by a ball finial. The entrance-way is a large semicircular arch with a date stone above in a corner.

Awarded a PHLF Plaque in 1976, PHLF architectural historian Walter C. Kidney wrote in Pittsburgh’s Landmark Architecture, “[it] is a distinguished church in a hard-to-find place.”  In reality, it is only one block from West End’s historic main street. This building is a significant landmark worthy of saving and continued use.  Click here for more information on this property and its listing.

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Eight Teachers Are Participating in “Exploring Your City”

On Monday, March 21, teachers from Allegheny and Westmoreland County schools met for the first of four classes in “Exploring Your City: Pittsburgh’s Past and Present,” a one-credit, Act 48 professional development course offered by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit.

Each of the four Monday evening classes, from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., combines classroom activities and discussion with outside-the-classroom experiences to explore Pittsburgh from different perspectives. Through a ride on the incline to view the city from atop Mt. Washington, to a scavenger hunt around Station Square, and a walking tour of Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle, teachers are learning how to “read” the city’s built environment and understand how the city has grown and changed over time. During the final class, they will present their ideas for enriching a classroom unit by connecting it to a city exploration or real-world project with their students.

With instructors Karen Cahall, education coordinator at PHLF, and Georgia Petropoulos-Muir, executive director of the Oakland Business Improvement District, teachers are discussing the qualities that make a city livable, urban renewal strategies that have and have not worked, and how Pittsburgh is continuing to redefine itself in the 21st century.

During the last two weeks of June, PHLF is offering a seven-day, three-credit course, “Community Connections: Pittsburgh Architecture and Resiliency Wellness.”

For more information, contact Karen Cahall: karen@phlf.org; 412-471-5808 ext. 537.

Click here for photos and general descriptions about PHLF’s professional development classes.

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August Wilson Book Complimented

More than 200 members and friends attended the book-signing celebration at Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 26 for August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in His Life and Plays, by Laurence A. Glasco and Christopher Rawson.

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation published the 166-page full-color guidebook with funding support from BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania; the Multicultural Arts Initiative; a Preserve America grant from the National Park Service, administered under the Preserving African American Heritage in Pennsylvania program of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; and contributions from 75 more members and friends.

Book sales are brisk and compliments are coming in consistently. To order a book ($8.95 plus sales tax) or for more information, click here to visit our store.

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150 Students Envision New Uses for the New Granada Theater

More than 150 middle and high school students from Westmoreland County Schools participated in the 15th Annual Architectural Design Challenge sponsored by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in cooperation with the Hill Community Development Corporation and Hill House Association. After visiting the Hill District and touring the New Granada Theater on October 26, 2010, the middle and high school students worked in teams for five months to construct 3-D models showing their visions for the New Granada Theater. On March 3 and 4, 2011, thirty-two teams of students presented their models in front of a jury of architects at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The students had exceptionally creative ideas and their models were beautifully detailed. They spoke with conviction about their ideas and described how their plans celebrated the history of the building and yet brought new energy and life to the vacant structure. After participating as one of the judges in the competition, Caitlin O’Hara from Urban Design Associates said: “Thank you for inviting me to be a part of such a wonderful experience today. Seeing the enthusiasm of the students and their attention to the specific details of the project was amazing! It was encouraging to see such a strong interest in the architecture profession and I couldn’t have been happier with all of the results that we saw.”

Architect Bob Baumbach added, “I thought the Architectural Design Challenge was a great success on many levels. The students were fully engaged in the project and they had an opportunity to get a better picture of the Hill District.”

Judges for the two-day event also included: Joanna Beres, Brian DiPietro, Julie Edwards, Sheri Kosh, Kelly Lyons, Canan Mutlu-Akin, Anne Riggs, Richard Schmitz, Leanne Stelluto, Marvin Walker, and Drew Weinheimer. We thank them for their time and thoughtful comments.

Marimba Milliones, executive director of the Hill Community Development Corporation, thanked the students for their hard work and interest in the New Granada. Terri Baltimore, program director from Hill House Association, thanked the students for “loving the New Granada back to life.”

Student recommendations for the New Granada included the following:

First floor: Cafe with WiFi, stage, and open mic; bookstore (with a section for new and old jazz selections); sports bar; 500-seat theater with a restored stage; poetry readings, theater classes, local band concerts, open Karaoke nights on Saturdays; theater for movies, plays, or local presentations; small cafes and dining areas surrounding an exhibit featuring the history of the building; Child Care Center; a skate park; grocery store and pharmacy; and an ESPN Zone restaurant and entertainment facility (for the entire building).

Second floor: A ballroom for dances, formal receptions, graduation parties, and birthday parties; a dinner theater with jazz musicians performing; classrooms for painting, sculpture, music, drama, etc.; a jazz-themed food court; a gym with bleachers, locker room, concession stand; a cafe with a stage and “open mic nights”: Yoga and Zumba classes; paintball; an organic grocery store; the Hill Museum with historical photos and artifacts; a gym and yoga center.

Third floor: Rental office space; a mall with spaces for one large store and eight smaller stores; a children’s art museum with space for local artists to hold classes; ballet, music, and art studios; a jazz-themed restaurant; spa; a community arts museum; batting cages and a pitching practice facility; a community center with computers and internet connections, pool tables, and a TV area.

Roof: Solar panels; a landscaped outdoor lunch area; a rooftop restaurant featuring organic food; an outdoor hot tub and Jacuzzi.

Vacant Lot: A community garden in the vacant lot; a parklet for children; an outdoor barbecue area.

Prizes were awarded and important lessons were learned. Student comments included the following:

“At first I thought old buildings were a waste of time. Now I see there are a lot of cool things in them.”

“It showed us that while you can keep the historical value of a building, you can also throw a new twist into it.”

“This is the most ambitious project that we do all year, and without it, our gifted program wouldn’t be as exciting.”

“I learned to see the greatness in old cities.”

“Fun! Fun! Fun! Do this next year.”

Funding support from the Alfred M. Oppenheimer Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Fine Foundation, and McSwigan Family Foundation make it possible for PHLF to offer educational programs such as these to more than 5,000 students in the Pittsburgh region.

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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PHLF Preservation Society of Tavern Seekers

Pittsburgh’s taverns have long provided a place for good friends to sit back, relax, and enjoy good company. Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation’s (PHLF) Society of Tavern Seekers (SOTS) invites you to join us as we find out about Pittsburgh’s unique gathering places. You will get a chance to discover or rediscover local taverns, while finding out what PHLF is doing to preserve other favorite Pittsburgh spaces.

SOTS events will be held throughout 2011. Please join us in March for our first program of the year.

  • When: Thursday, March 24, 2011 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm
  • Where: Gandy Dancer Saloon inside the Landmarks Building at Station Square
    100 West Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, PA

There is a $5 cover charge at the door, which entitles you to drink and appetizer specials. For $15 you can participate in all three SOTS events in 2011 with the additional bonus of receiving a one- year PHLF membership, but you have to attend the first event on March 24th to take advantage of this membership offer.

RSVP to Mary Lu Denny by March 21, 2011 marylu@phlf.org 412-471-5808, Ext. 527

Or, contact Sara McGuire (saramcguire@phlf.org) for more information about SOTS events

YOU MAY PREORDER YOUR TICKETS BELOW, or PAY AT THE DOOR

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005. Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny, Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, marylu@phlf.org or 412-471-5808, ext 527

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Career Assesment and Awareness Program – FocusNOW

This free career assessment and awareness program presented by Dr. Herman L. Reid, Jr., EdD, is for young adults (ages 12 to 25) who are interested in developing a personal career plan. Parents are welcome to attend the Saturday session too. Following pizza and introductions, Dr. Reid will talk about career options and skills needed. After taking a brief personality test, participants will create career plans based on their strengths.
Career paths to be discussed include: accounting, auto and diesel mechanic, building maintenance, computer programming, computer specialist, dental assistant, electrician, graphic design, heating and air conditioning, hospitality and travel, legal administration, medical assistant, merchandising management, network management, office administration, paralegal, and welding.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation is facilitating this series of six Saturday sessions in historic neighborhoods where it is at work.

Each session is limited to 20 young adults (plus parents)

RSVP required by the Tuesday preceding the Saturday event.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
1-412-471-5808

When

Saturday March 19, 2011 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EDT
Where
Landmarks Housing Resource Center
744 Rebecca Avenue
Wilkinsburg, PA 15221

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Old Allegheny County Jail Museum Self Guided Tour

A PHLF docent is on hand to tell you the story of the place. Completed in 1886 to the designs of Boston architect H. H. Richardson and in use until July 27, 1995, the former Allegheny County Jail was renovated between 1999 and 2001 to house the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. A portion of one of the cell blocks has been preserved as the “Old Allegheny County Jail Museum.” The Jail Museum was created through a grant from the Drue Heinz Trust to PHLF, in cooperation with the Allegheny County Juvenile Court and Curator Ed Urban, former Deputy Warden. The Jail Museum opened in 2005.

Enter the Family Court Facility through one of two entrances. In both cases, you must go through security and NO cameras are permitted.

  • Either enter through the main Ross Street entrance.
  • Or, enter through the great courtyard arch on Fifth Avenue.

Contact:

Mary Lu Denny
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation
marylu@phlf.org
412-471-5808, ext 527

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Preservationists Praise Rehab Plan for Old Morgue

By Craig Smith, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, March 11, 2011

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/lifestyles/s_726879.html

Sam Taylor, principal architect/building manager for Allegheny County department of public works, gives a tour of the old Allegheny County Morgue before it undergoes a $4 million renovation. James Knox | Tribune-Review

As a 14-year-old growing up in Oakland, Sam Taylor went to the Allegheny County Morgue at the urging of his friends to see the bodies on display.

It was a tradition for generations of Pittsburgh teens, he said. Some even took their prom dates.

“When you’re 14, you think you’re invincible,” said Taylor, 59, of Mt. Lebanon. “There was this yellowish light, and the bodies were kind of leaned back.”

Taylor, the county’s principal architect/building manager, is overseeing a $4 million renovation of the former morgue. The building, completed in 1903, was moved the length of a football field in 1929 to make way for the County Office Building.

Allegheny County expects to seek bids for demolition inside the building in late April or early May. That will create an additional 30,000 square feet of office space, while preserving many of the building’s unique features. The plan is to reuse transoms, stair railings and courtroom banisters, Taylor said.

The autopsy room inside the old Allegheny County Morgue will be transformed into a new use. James Knox | Tribune-Review

A $900,000 project that included installing a terra cotta roof and masonry work was completed in 2006.

Officials haven’t determined who will use the space.

“We have a number of departments using leased space, including the Law Department and Economic Development,” said county spokesman Kevin Evanto.

Architect Paul Apostolou, who made a trip to the morgue when he was in high school, said a big part of the project will be undoing the “sledgehammer and hacksaw” approach to renovations over the years.

Preservationists praise the effort.

“I think they are trying to treat it very well for a building that no longer suits its original purpose because of modern technology,” said Arthur Ziegler, president of Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. “It’s a notable building in the government complex.”

The city designated the Frederick Osterling-designed building as a Pittsburgh landmark in 2002. Osterling, one of Pittsburgh’s premier architects, designed the county jail expansion of 1904 and Union Arcade (1915-17), which became Two Mellon Bank.

The "chapel" of the vacant old Allegheny County Morgue Friday was a place of prayer in a somber place. James Knox | Tribune-Review

The morgue building was designed to visually match the jail and courthouse, but by 1929, county government needed more space, according to a history of the building compiled by History & Landmarks. Officials decided a consolidated office building on Ross Street between Forbes and Fourth avenues would be the most efficient. That forced them to relocate the morgue.

The move was an enormous undertaking that took about three months. Work inside the building by the coroner and his staff continued without interruption, though. Temporary gas, water and sewer lines were connected and maintained on a 24-hour basis.

Huge timberwork and steel rails were used to move the building, which had to be lifted to the same height at the same moment. That ticklish maneuver was carried out by 100 men from a Balkan tribe — specialists in moving buildings from the “old country.”

They manned screw jacks that they gave a quarter turn every time a whistle sounded, until the three-story building was 27 feet in the air. It then was moved onto a system of beams designed by Kress-Oravetz Co. and slowly, laboriously pulled by cable to the foundation at 542 Fourth Ave.

Once there, Taylor said, they had to “shoehorn” the building between two structures.

In 2005, voters approved a referendum that eliminated the coroner as a row office, returning it to its early roots as an appointed position, now called medical examiner. The medical examiner’s office relocated in 2009 to a building in the Strip District.


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Historic Designation Rejected for Civic Arena

Wednesday, March 02, 2011
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Historic Designation Rejected for Civic Arena

The city Historic Review Commission refused to designate the Civic Arena a city historic structure today, a setback for those seeking to save the old building.

The panel voted 6-0 to reject the building’s nomination, reversing an earlier decision to designate the arena as a historic structure.

It followed the same pattern that occurred in the early 1990s when the commission gave preliminary approval and then rejected it in a final vote.

The decision is a setback for local preservationists who have been trying to stop the demolition of the 49-year-old arena. It is a victory for the Penguins, who want to use the site for housing, offices and shops.

Before he voted, Ernie Hogan, the commission’s acting chairman, said he did not think the arena met any of the 10 criteria for nomination.

Rob Pfaffmann, leader of Reuse the Igloo, said afterwards he was very disappointed with the decision but would continue the battle to save the structure.

The fight is far from over. The city planning commission and ultimately city council still must take up the nomination.


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PHLF Receives Major Geographical Information Systems Grant

PHLF News
February 28, 2010

The Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), base in Redlands, California, approved a software grant for mission-related work of specialized GIS software, ArcInfo, to the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation that has a valued at $160,000. The award was announced February 25.

“PHLF does a significant amount of work in historic and urban inner-city neighborhoods,”, said Landmarks Chief Information Officer Ronald C. Yochum, Jr., “and understanding the raw data we collect via sophisticated mapping technology helps us better visualize and achieve our goals of successful and sustainable neighborhood revitalization.”

PHLF has been using a version of ESRIs ArcView GIS software to produce maps for our efforts in Wilkinsburg, PA., however we wanted to expand the level of spatial analysis of the raw data, so Mr. Yochum approached Esri and applied for their Non-profit Organization program.

Landmarks will be using Esri’s ArcInfo GIS software for an upcoming quantitative analysis of PHLF activities over the history of the company and will be developing maps of the regions historic assets. The software will also help support staff projects in our education, neighborhood development, Main Street and Elm Street programs, and other bricks and mortar projects.

Esri offers a variety of programs to support groups working for social and environmental benefit. Organizations use GIS to analyze complex situations, visualize problems, and create plans and solutions, as well as increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and helping people make faster and better decisions. More information on this software can be found at www.esri.com.

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