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A Look at Our Work in 2014

Dear friends,

As we enter the final month of 2014, I want to reflect on some of the specific results of our work during our 50th year in historic preservation.

In education, we interacted this year with more than 10,000 people through neighborhood and downtown walking tours and creative programming for students and adults. We published eight Poetry and Art books written by students and teachers, awarded four scholarships to college-bound students as part of the Landmarks Scholarship Program, and created a video narrated by Pittsburgh Public School students for their peers in Dunfermline, Scotland. Our staff was supported in this work by 60 volunteers and eight college interns who volunteered a total of 3,800 hours.

At the Landmarks Preservation Resource Center in Wilkinsburg, we ventured further in our educational programming where we offer workshops, lectures, and screen films on physical house restoration skills, architectural history, and urban planning. We had 65 sessions this year and saw more than 800 event attendees.

With the help of James Shipman, an artist and sculptor, we cleaned and restored eight medallions and shields from the former Manchester Bridge (1915-1970). They are mounted as an artistic display on the exterior walls of the Landmarks Preservation Resource Center.

Through the Historic Religious Properties program, we have awarded $95,710 to 12 religious institutions, thanks to support from PHLF and contributions from our members and several foundations.

We completed the acquisition of a preservation easement on Wilpen Hall in Sewickley Heights, thus protecting the facade of the National-Register-listed home, designed in 1899-1900 by George S. Orth, and over 30 acres of surrounding gardens and grounds.

A grant from the Colcom Foundation is enabling us to refurbish 50 of the earliest vintage Historic Landmark plaques. We awarded 17 new plaques to various buildings this year. We also successfully completed the nomination of the Strip District to the National Register of Historic Places and are working on a similar designation for the central business district along Wilkinsburg’s Penn Avenue.

In preservation real estate development, we are in the process of completing the restoration of the last of 10 historic facades in Downtown Pittsburgh that we restored under a $4 million state grant in partnership with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.

Also in Downtown, we are moving along with the restoration of the Thompson’s Building in Market Square where a gourmet grocery store will open in 2015. At 420-422 Wood Street, we completed the restoration of the historic cast-iron facades and Katie’s Kandy, a sweets store, has opened a shop on the ground floor. We are now re-designing the upper floors of the building for office space. Across the street at 413-415 Wood Street, we have started design work for the restoration of the former Weldin’s Building.

Our work outside the city includes the completion of the restoration of the workers’ board-and-batten house in Natrona. In the Main Street National Register District of Butler, we continued and completed placement of new welcome signs, replaced sidewalks, planted trees and installed appropriate new street lights to enhance this historic area. Armstrong and Huntington Bank support this work under the state’s Neighborhood Partnership Program.

On the preservation lending front, we made four loans totaling $764,000 so far, and our loan fund was significantly augmented with a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Treasury, to our non-profit lending subsidiary Landmarks Community Capital Corporation, a designated Community Development Financial Institution.

In Manchester on Pittsburgh’s North Side, where we started 50 years ago, we are continuing our partnership with the Manchester Citizens Corporation and have made available $800,000 of loan capital through PNC Bank. In addition, TriState Capital provided a grant that will help fund restoration of historic houses in Manchester, a commitment of $100,000 a year for six years under the state’s Neighborhood Partnership Program.

Under the same program, TriState is also a valued partner in Wilkinsburg where it provides $300,000 a year, shared equally between our organization and the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation, for historic house restoration in neighborhoods and business development along Penn Avenue.

Our staff has provided technical assistance of various forms for more than 1,500 inquiries and requests. Through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and the PNC Foundation, we had six students as part of the Landmarks Fellowship Program working with us on various forms of data analysis to help us assess the impact of our work in the community.

Of course, this is but a snapshot of our organization in time. As we look back over 50 years, we know that PHLF has improved the quality of life for people in this region and succeeded in showing that historic preservation can be the key to achieving economic, social, and cultural renewal. There is so much more work to be done since our region continues to grow and change. We thank all those who continue to provide financial support, partnerships, and counsel.

Arthur Ziegler
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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