Fort Pitt Block House to get new roof
By Allison M. Heinrichs
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Pittsburgh’s oldest building is getting a new roof.
The Fort Pitt Block House’s cedar shake roof will be replaced starting June 1 with donated labor and materials, the Fort Pitt Society of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution announced Wednesday.
“Every time we get a good wind, the yard is usually filled with toothpicks because the roof is just falling off,” said Kelly Linn, curator of the Block House, a National Historic Landmark in Point State Park, Downtown.
Estimates to replace the roof, which was installed in 1948 atop a roof from 1894, were about $20,000 — much more than the Daughters of the American Revolution could afford. Linn began applying for state grants when Carnegie-based Rickjohn Roofing volunteered to do it for free.
“I said if there’s ever a time to help out, it’s now,” said Rick Gammiere, who co-owns the roofing company with Bobby Wallo. “I visited the Block House in grade school, and it’s just really important.”
The two-week project will give archaeologists a rare chance to look in the building’s attic. “There’s no telling what’s up there, but certainly the architectural information would be invaluable,” Linn said. “We’ll learn how the building was constructed.”
The Block House will be closed during the roofing project, but people are welcome on the site to observe the process and ask questions daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Allison M. Heinrichs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 380-5607.