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  1. Building Pride in the Kids––That’s What It’s All About!

    PHLF member Russ Coe (1916 – 2017), who generously donated to PHLF’s educational and neighborhood revitalization programs, always reminded Executive Director Louise Sturgess that our main goal in education was to “build pride in the kids!” PHLF does just that, through field trips for many school groups and other creative programs year-round, serving more than 5,000 young people.

    Between May 1 and June 8, PHLF led 21 walking tours for school students, 9 full-day bus tours, 2 mural-making activities, and 1 full-day trolley tour (including an oral-history program with SLB Radio). In addition, PHLF published Neighborhood Stories, Including Mine, by fourth-grade students from Pittsburgh Colfax; made its Portable Pittsburgh kit available to two schools; welcomed four new summer volunteer interns; and selected ten college-bound students for scholarship or honorable mention awards!

    After participating in a full-day field trip with PHLF, a teacher from Pittsburgh Colfax wrote: “This was the first (and maybe only time) that most of our third-grade students had visited the places we toured today. They all felt proud of where they live and were treated as people who are respected and expected to do great things.”

    A teacher from Pittsburgh Greenfield added: “Thank you donors! What a gift of knowledge to the students. And the fact that this opportunity comes at no cost to our city school is a gift to the teachers and parents.”

    We thank the McSwigan Family Foundation and corporate donors for generously contributing to our educational programs so they are affordable––or provided at no cost, thanks to the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.

  2. Thank You, Interns

    Catelyn Cocuzzi and Lydia Strickling, both from Duquesne University, and Lauren Henry from Point Park University, completed volunteer internships with PHLF, from January to mid-April 2018. “We are always grateful to have the help of young people who are interested in history and knowledgeable about Pittsburgh,” said Executive Director Louise Sturgess. All three interns helped with various educational programs. In addition, Catelyn and Lydia inventoried hundreds of color slides taken by William Rydberg of buildings designed by Henry Hornbostel, and Lauren completed a tour script for our Firstside Area Walking Tour in October.

    The interns summed up their experiences with PHLF as follows:

    “In the time that I spent working with PHLF, I was reintroduced to the beautiful city of Pittsburgh. As a native of this city, I have taken its beauty and history for granted, but this organization and its mission has opened my eyes to all that it has to offer, both historically and culturally. I am beyond grateful for PHLF’s preservation efforts and the opportunities that it has provided me with.” ––Catelyn Cocuzzi (Masters in Public History, Duquesne University)

    “One of the most valuable things I gathered from my time with PHLF is how important it is to pass down and share historical information with younger generations. There is so much to learn when looking at Pittsburgh history and it was amazing to be able to share some of that with elementary school students. They were always engaged and excited to learn about the past, which was so great to see. Learning history can be both fun and interactive.” ––Lauren Henry (History, Point Park University)

    “My internship at PHLF was a very valuable experience. Not only did I get to see another side of the field of public history, but I also learned a ton about my hometown. Thank you to everyone at PHLF for this great opportunity!” ––Lydia Strickling (History, Duquesne University)

  3. Students Present Models Showing New Uses for a Historic Building

    We have gone the whole nine yards. We built a model that we messed up on countless times. It took hard work, patience, high order thinking, and drive to complete this model. We have put much effort into the project, trying to find the final result that would make us content. We have gone through many steps to complete the process. ––The Nerds

    Eight teams of sixth-grade students from Eden Hall Upper Elementary School participated in PHLF’s third annual Architectural Design Challenge for the Pine Richland School District on April 24. Their challenge was to transform the Morledge House Garage on Chatham University’s Eden Hall campus into a place where people from the community could come to learn about the Eden Hall campus and interact with each other.

    Each team developed a sustainable and meaningful program and spoke convincingly about their ideas to create:

    • a black-box theater and museum highlighting Chatham’s history;
    • a technologically advanced museum about Chatham and sustainability;
    • a laser tag arena (by expanding the building underground). Players would win by answering questions about Chatham and sustainability.
    • an activity center for sustainability, where everyone would make model cars using reusable materials that they would bring from home;
    • an escape room where participants would find their way out of the woods, and a learning center with information about native plants and aquaponics;
    • an escape room where people would use sustainable practices to solve missions to save the world;
    • an art studio, with photographs, exhibits, and paintings highlighting Chatham’s history; and
    • a woodworking workshop (recalling the original use of the building) and lounge.

    The award recipients on April 24 were:

    • First Place: The Lasarchitects
    • Second Place and Student Award: Axolotl Army
    • Third Place: Raspberry Architects
    • Honorable Mention: Crafty Crusaders
    • Penguin Award (most important lesson learned from taking a risk): RB2 Architects

    We thank the following architects and educators for volunteering their time to comment on and judge the student projects: Cat Adams, architect; Kelley Folts (Canon Design); Roger Hartung (IKM); Nicole Kubas, urban designer; Paul Tellers, architect; and Samantha Weaver (CMU School of Architecture). PHLF is able to host this Architectural Design Challenge, and many other place-based educational programs, thanks to generous funding support from the McSwigan Family Foundation.

  4. Building Pride/Building Character Programs Peak in May

    Please keep these programs alive! Students really respond to the activities and remember them for years to come. They help them learn about the history of their special city! ––Pittsburgh Public School Teacher

    In mid-May, PHLF will publish Neighborhood Stories, Including Mine, by a group of fourth-grade students from Pittsburgh Colfax. Inspired by a walking tour of the Squirrel Hill business district in October 2017, the book features student essays and artwork in Chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 3 provides space for any interested child to add his/her story to the book, and Chapter 4 includes tips and worksheets for exploring any neighborhood. “Erin Dulak, the fourth-grade ELA Teacher at Pittsburgh Colfax, collaborated with us on this project,” said Louise Sturgess, executive director of PHLF. “We are hoping that a second edition of the book can be distributed to Carnegie branch libraries for use during special programs with families and to all fourth-grade students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The book is a gem.”

    Between April 25 and June 4, nine Pittsburgh Public Schools will participate in PHLF’s full-day bus tour to five historic places that help third-grade students understand the story of Pittsburgh. They associate “character-building words” with the City-County Building, Allegheny County Courthouse, Fort Pitt Museum, Fort Pitt Block House, and Duquesne Incline and try to become like those landmarks: “responsible, tolerant, respectful, and proud,” etc. The students enjoy the experience because they are with their friends and teachers, exploring the places they have learned about in Social Studies and meeting their Council representative, members of the Mayor’s staff, and experts at the Museum, Block House, and incline.

    Third-grade students from three schools will also participate in PHLF’s Strip District Stroll after reading a book that is set in the neighborhood in the 1930s.

    PHLF’s “Building Pride/Building Character” program is primarily funded through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. Many thanks to our corporate donors.

  5. Sacred Heart Church Special Program

    PHLF members and friends are invited to attend a free program and tour on Sunday, May 20, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 310 Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

    John Kelly of Kelly Art Glass, Al Tannler of PHLF, and docents from Sacred Heart Church will present: “George Sotter: Glassman, Painter, Storyteller––The Spectacular American Gothic Stained-Glass Windows of Sacred Heart Church.” The afternoon will include several brief presentations in the auditorium about the window restoration, stained glass designers, and architect. Participants will then be invited to walk around the church and talk with Sacred Heart docents, who will be stationed at significant locations.

    In Pittsburgh Architecture in the Twentieth Century, Al Tannler writes: “The groundbreaking for Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (1926-54) was March 7, 1924; the choir and sanctuary were dedicated in 1929, and the façade window was dedicated in 1931, the year [architect Carlton] Strong died. His successor firm, Kaiser, Neal & Reid, completed the church.”

    Participants will be able to admire the impressive stone carvings, woodcarvings, and murals, as well as the stained-glass windows, designed by George and Alice Sotter and made in Pittsburgh at Hunt Stained Glass Studios. To establish the design parameters of the 1,200-square-foot façade window alone took eight years of study to develop the content and four extended trips to Europe to refine the artistic ethic. Those 54 panels illustrate the History of the Catholic Church in America. We’ll examine this masterpiece as well as the 108 storyboards in the aisle windows. Then we’ll review the additional 4,000 square feet of stained glass in the main church, Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and Lady Chapel, which was completed by George Sotter’s wife and partner, Alice, after his death in 1953.

    Program details:

    • This program is free to the public. Donations are welcome and will be used to help fund the restoration of the Lady Chapel.
    • Reservations are appreciated. Please call Sacred Heart: 412-661-0187.
  6. Guided Tours of Historic Oakmont Country Club

    Few golf courses in the world have the fabled history of Oakmont Country Club, a National Historic Landmark and host of nineteen major championships to date. Now, you can join the Oakmont Archives Committee on a walk through the historic golf course and clubhouse, and enjoy a one-of-a-kind tour.

    The Oakmont Archives Committee offers tours of Oakmont Country Club on the following Monday mornings, from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.:

    • April 9 and 23
    • May 7 and 21
    • June 4 and 18
    • July 9 and 23
    • August 6 and 20
    • September 10 and 24
    • October 8 and 22
    • November 5 and 19
    • December 3 and 17

    Tour participants will be guided through the handsomely preserved 115-year-old clubhouse by one of Oakmont’s golf historians. Learn about the founding of the club, and the family that made it possible. A stroll through History Hall showcases the history of the US Open at Oakmont, with historic photographs and beautifully crafted cases housing memorabilia and championship artifacts. Gaze upon the club’s collection of USGA trophies and see the original men’s locker room.

    Weather permitting, guests will tour the historic “inland links” golf course and see the extraordinary vistas, narrow fairways, and treacherous sand bunkers, including the iconic “Church Pew” bunker. Guests will also have the opportunity to test their putting skills on Oakmont’s world-renowned putting surfaces.

    The tour ends at the Oakmont Professional Shop, where participants may browse through a wonderful selection of apparel, equipment, and memorabilia only available at Oakmont.

    Tour Details:

    • The Monday tours are free. Donations are welcome, with the proceeds going to the Fownes Foundation.
    • Each tour date is limited to fifteen participants. Disabled access is available.
    • Advance reservations are required! For reservations, contact Oakmont Country Club: 412-828-8000.
    • All tour participants must arrive at the club by 8:45 a.m. on their tour date.
    • Light refreshments will be provided by the club.
    • Casual attire and comfortable shoes are encouraged, but please NO JEANS OR DENIM.
    • Photography is welcome.
    • For further information about the tours, contact the Oakmont Archives Committee: 412-828-8000, ext. 257 or
  7. Student Presentations on Former G. C. Murphy’s Building

    I was able to experience changing my community. ––Middle School participant

    The Architectural Design Challenge is my favorite gifted competition because of the creativity. ––High School participant

    Nineteen middle school teams and four high school teams from Westmoreland County Schools presented their models and spoke passionately about their plans for reusing two vacant buildings in West Newton during PHLF’s 22nd annual Architectural Design Challenge on March 22 and 23. The historic buildings, at 123-127 East Main Street, were formerly occupied by the G. C. Murphy Company.

    We thank Yough Intermediate Middle School for hosting the final presentations and the following people for volunteering their time to comment on and judge the student projects: historian Mike Cahall; Angelica Ciranni (Green Building Alliance); Kelley Folts (Canon Design); Roger Hartung (IKM); urban designer Nicole Kubas; retired teacher Jan Mori; Jessica Stuck (PWWG); architect Paul Tellers; James Washabaugh (Engine 30 Architecture); and Samantha Weaver (CMU School of Architecture). For the first time, one of the judges––Kelley Folts––was a former design challenge participant while a Franklin Regional student in sixth through twelfth grades!

    Many of the student teams showed how the buildings could be adapted as a youth hostel, which was the program suggested because of the proximity of the buildings to the Great Allegheny Passage bike path. For example, Franklin Regional Middle School (Team A) proposed an:

    Art Deco-themed youth hostel and diner … . The re-design of this once-flourishing G. C. Murphy Building complements West Newton’s past and the building’s past and paves the way for the rehabilitation of the energy and vigor of downtown West Newton. Our design includes a youth hostel, a diner, a bike storage room, a rooftop lounge, and various other necessities. A goal of our building is to be as green as possible. … However, the main goal of our design is to attract more people into West Newton, especially downtown West Newton, and to make it more energized.

    Other teams suggested that the buildings be adapted for use as:

    • A fitness center and juice bar
    • Parker’s Place, a hotel and café (named for the distinctive Parker-truss bridge in West Newton)
    • Vinoski Winery and Riverbank Bed and Breakfast
    • PetNet (a pet store) and the Come-and-Go Hostel

    Each team created mixed-uses for the buildings that would serve the West Newton community year-round, as well as people biking on the trail. The models were well constructed and incorporated green building and handicap accessible features. Several teams surveyed the West Newton community to determine the best uses for the buildings; many teams researched the history of the community and incorporated historical themes into the new uses they proposed; one team spoke directly with Bill Callahan, Western PA Community Preservation Coordinator, to find out exactly what it meant to be located in a National-Register-eligible Historic District.

    “We were tremendously impressed with the amount of research and time the students spent on this Architectural Design Challenge,” said Louise Sturgess, Executive Director of PHLF. “All the students spoke eloquently about their concepts and impressed and inspired us.”

    The award recipients on March 22 were:

    High Schools:

    • Monessen: First Place
    • Penn-Trafford (Team A): Second Place; Student Award
    • Penn Trafford (Team B): Third Place
    • Yough: Honorable Mention; Penguin Award (most important lesson learned from taking a risk)

    Middle Schools:

    • Greensburg (Team B): First Place; Student Award
    • Penn (Team A): Second Place
    • Trafford (Team B): Third Place
    • Greensburg (Team C): Honorable Mention
    • Trafford (Team C): Penguin Award (most important lesson learned from taking a risk)

    The award recipients on March 23 were:

    Middle Schools:

    • Yough (Team B): First Place
    • Yough (Team C): Second Place
    • Franklin Regional (Team C): Third Place
    • Franklin Regional (Team D): Honorable Mention
    • Yough (Team A): Honorable Mention; Student Award

    We thank everyone for participating and are grateful to the community of West Newton for their support and enthusiastic welcome. PHLF is able to host this Architectural Design Challenge, and many other place-based educational programs, thanks to generous funding support from the McSwigan Family Foundation.

    PHLF hopes to involve middle and high school student teams in suggesting new uses for the roundhouse on the Hazelwood Green site in Pittsburgh during its 23rd annual Architectural Design Challenge that will begin in the Fall of 2018.

  8. “The Pittsburgh That Stays Within You” Is Available from PHLF

    The teachers have asked me to pass along their positive reviews and their request to secure a class set of 30 books. ––Erica Guadalupe, Secondary Literacy Coordinator, McKeesport Area School District

    The book was given to our Board members to be a constant reminder of how important the history of the great city of Pittsburgh is and the many experiences enjoyed. The book is truly an inspiration to maintain this history and to remain committed to preserving it. ––Sandra Pack, President, Allegheny Historic Preservation Society, Inc.

    Thanks to a generous grant from The H. Glenn Sample Jr. MD Memorial Foundation, PHLF has copies of The Pittsburgh That Stays Within You, by Samuel Hazo, to distribute to educational institutions, libraries, historical sites, and nonprofit organizations. A distinguished poet, author, and professor, Mr. Hazo was the founder and director of the International Poetry Forum in Pittsburgh from 1966 to 2009. This collector’s edition includes five essays by Samuel Hazo, written in 1986, 1992, 1998, 2003, and 2017, and photographs by 16-year-old Paige Crawley.

    Following the book’s release in the Fall of 2017, PHLF has distributed more than 750 books to more than 35 organizations, including the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County libraries, regional university libraries, public and parochial schools, community development professionals, the City of Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County Bar Association.

    Please contact Louise Sturgess, PHLF’s Executive Director, with your request if you are interested in receiving books to use for educational purposes:; 412-471-5808, ext. 536. We are happy to honor requests while supplies last.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633