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Category Archive: PHLF News

  1. Corporate Gifts Fund PHLF’s “Building Pride/Building Character” Program

    Several thousand school students, teachers, and PHLF thank the following corporations for donating to PHLF in 2018 and 2019 through the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program:

    • The Buncher Company
    • Dollar Bank
    • First National Bank of Pennsylvania
    • Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company
    • Hefren-Tillotson, Inc.
    • Huntington Bank
    • Maher Duessel CPA
    • PNC Bank
    • UPMC

    “These generous contributions will help fund the participation of 12 Pittsburgh Public Schools in a variety of enrichment programs this January through June,” said Karen Cahall, PHLF’s education coordinator. “Our programs––including poetry and art workshops, in-school presentations, and field trips––help students connect classroom learning to the built environment and build hometown pride in the process.”

    “Funds from the McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation and from the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation also help underwrite program expenses,” added Louise Sturgess, PHLF’s Executive Director. “We have partnered with the Pittsburgh Public Schools for 13 years through the state’s EITC program and always welcome the opportunity to work with the students and teachers.”

    The January 25th field trip to Carnegie Mellon University helped students deepen their understanding of community history and allowed them to make goals for their future, according to one teacher. Several students added the following comments:

    • “I liked looking at all of the sculptures! I really loved writing poems and drawing with charcoal.”
    • “What I liked doing was really everything. I really liked the tour and the poetry and art.”
    • “The most exciting part I liked doing was walking around campus and seeing all the cool and unique (different) sculptures and buildings. Also seeing how many people come here and how many people have been here. Today, I learned a ton of history facts at CMU. I would totally recommend coming here in the future.”
  2. Thank You, Interns

    Natalia Ruano and Sophia Vayansky––both from Duquesne University––and Erin Witt from the University of Pittsburgh successfully completed volunteer internships with PHLF in December 2018.

    Natalia, who will be attending graduate school in New York City for Museum Studies, helped with the Architecture Apprenticeship program and created a series of worksheets to help students learn the Spanish words for features in our built and natural environments. She also created a word search in Spanish and a Bingo game.

    Sophie, who is a Public History MA student at Duquesne University, was especially helpful in proofreading the December issue of PHLF News, suggesting website improvements for the Education pages, and analyzing our tour activity from 2012 through 2018. She also opened a Trip Advisor account for PHLF. Tour participants are now able to give feedback more easily and their comments will help promote our tour program.

    Erin graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s History Department in December 2018. She attended many of the Free Friday walking tours in September and October, taking photographs and developing a list of best techniques and tips based on her observations. She also assisted PHLF’s Archivist and realized that she wants to pursue archival studies in graduate school.

    We are grateful to Natalia, Sophie, and Erin for volunteering their time and talent and wish them much success. They summed up their experiences at PHLF in the fall of 2018 with the following comments:

    Volunteering at PHLF has been a great experience. I got to do many exciting things, from learning about the city in the downtown walking tours to helping second graders learn about their community in Mount Lebanon. Pittsburgh is an amazing city, and every new day being at PHLF showed me a different side of the organization. PHLF has several programs that deal with many communities and involve diverse people from all age ranges and groups. With my bilingual skills, I was able to help the foundation by designing worksheets in Spanish to help children learn about the city and architecture in a fun way. I also got to help in the Architecture Apprenticeship program for high school students, by having some background in Architecture, and appreciate the effort that the architects and urban designers made to inspire the high school students in pursuing that profession. I take this opportunity with me in the next step of my life, moving to New York City to get a master’s degree and pursue a career in Art History. It was definitely a worthwhile experience; I learned so much and would love to return as a volunteer in the future. ––Natalia Ruano, Duquesne University (History)

     Attending the free Friday walking tours was such a fun way to get to know Pittsburgh and meet the committed docents! Everyone was so kind and passionate. I could really get a great idea as to why PHLF is so needed and appreciated! I also loved assisting with projects in the Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive. It was so rewarding to get practical archival experience that helped inspire my professional goals! –– Erin Witt, University of Pittsburgh (History)

  3. High School Students Present Their Ideas for a Vacant Lot in Homestead

    December 4, 2018 marked the fifth and final session of PHLF’s Architecture Apprenticeship program for high school students from various schools in Allegheny County. After touring the Carrie Furnace site and Bost Building, the students presented their designs for a vacant lot at 307-09 East Eighth Avenue in Homestead.

    Kirsten Compitello of Michael Baker, Nicole Kubas of citySTUDIO, David Lewis, a distinguished urban designer and resident of West Homestead, Sarah Medwig of GAI Consultants, Patrick Shattuck of the Mon Valley Initiative, Jessica Stuck of PWWG, and Daniel Valentine, a developer in Homestead, critiqued the student projects and commended them for their concepts that would energize the main street and serve the community.

    The students proposed developing the following mixed-use projects in the vacant lot at 307-09 East Eighth Avenue in Homestead:

    • a laundromat with a café and daycare/after-school center;
    • a candy store with apartments above;
    • shops with biking and hiking equipment, a gym, and a green roof;
    • a community meeting space, greenhouse, and rental space for offices;
    • a community center with coffee and pastry shops, a library, martial arts studio, gym, and rock-climbing wall rising vertically through the three-story building;
    • a toy store with apartments above;
    • a collaborative community space and library with a green roof;
    • a restaurant, office, and apartment building;
    • a computer and counseling center with a deli, food bank, and library.

    Their designs are shown in the gallery of photos below.

    David Lewis reminded the apprentices that “buildings house human beings and human beings always house history and culture. The joy of being an architect is getting to those roots and giving them voice.”

    When asked to describe their Architecture Apprenticeship experience in five short phrases, the students wrote:

    • Eye-opening; informative; worth missing school for; more than I expected; fun, even if you want nothing to do with architecture.
    • Immersive; valuable; educational/informative; decision-changing; perhaps the best opportunity I’ve had.
    • Valuable; learned about Pittsburgh history; improved my drawing/presenting skills; educational; rewarding opportunity.
    • Educational; enlightening; historical perspective; appreciate the city; walking tour.
    • A great time; enjoyable; eye-opening; interesting; fun.
    • Historical; kill two birds with one stone; informational; unexpected (in a good way); inspirational.
    • Growth; problem solving; challenges.
    • An experience (great!); educational; exciting; exposure; creative.
    • Awe-inspiring; building connection; creating interest; experiencing design; learning about green and clean design.
    • Historical perspective; professional exposure; walking tour; Chick-fil-A—David Lewis; conceptual (the “big picture”).
  4. Grants from the McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation Support PHLF’s K-12 Education and Scholarship Programs

    PHLF is one of the only organizations that offers year-round outdoor tour opportunities for schools. We believe in education through exploration and design tours in the real world that are connected to content the students are learning in the classroom. This helps make learning more relevant, meaningful, and memorable.

    “The McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation recently approved two grants for PHLF: $5,000 in support of our Landmarks Scholarship Fund and $30,000 in support of our K-12 Education Programs,” announced PHLF Executive Director Louise Sturgess. “This is tremendous news and we are extremely grateful.”

    PHLF’s education staff and docents will be able to continue a series of programs for thousands of students, including walking tours, architectural design challenges, and poetry and art workshops; expand certain programs to increase their impact on young people; and undertake several new initiatives, such as distributing Neighborhood Stories, Including Mine, produced by fourth-grade students from Pittsburgh Colfax, to many more school students in the new year.

    Since 1999, PHLF has helped 86 young people from Allegheny County pursue undergraduate degrees through its scholarship program. As the cost of higher education rises, the need for our scholarship program increases. More than 1,000 people have applied to our scholarship program during its 20-year history and, with increased funding support, we will be able to help more young people

    We have established wonderful relationships with many of our scholarship recipients and are proud that some have found jobs in Pittsburgh. For example, James Washabaugh (a 2004 recipient) has established Engine 30 Architecture in Pittsburgh. In addition, Kezia Ellison (a 2001 recipient) and Todd Wilson (a 2002 recipient) are both trustees of PHLF.

    It turns out that this year two of our awardees who graduated from different Pittsburgh Public High Schools actually attended Pittsburgh Phillips as third-grade students and participated in our “Building Pride/Building Character” field trip. Chandler Searcy and Giovanna Varlotta are pictured in this photo from March 6, 2009 on the deck of the Duquesne Incline! It’s fair to say that PHLF played a part in developing their love for Pittsburgh.

    Our K-12 Education Programs and Scholarship Program clearly have a positive impact on many thousands of young people. We are grateful to the donors who support them.

  5. The Fine Foundation Awards Grant to PHLF

    Thanks to funding support from The Fine Foundation, PHLF will be able to work with Manchester Academic Charter School teachers and students to create a permanent art display featuring Northside landmarks and local history for their new school that is scheduled to open in the spring of 2019 on the second-floor of the former Carnegie Library in Allegheny Center. In addition, SLB Radio will be able to install a “StoryBox” fixture so people can hear the voices of seven Northside celebrities whom the students interviewed in 2018.

    This educational program helps fulfill the mission of The Fine Foundation by bringing together two focus areas within the Arts & Culture giving category––Art Education and the Visual Arts––and by making a positive difference in the lives of the MACS family. It builds on PHLF’s longtime involvement with the Northside community that began when the city was planning to demolish a row of historic houses on Liverpool Street (where MACS began and continues to have an elementary school).

    Through “Our Northside Neighbors and Our New Middle School,” MACS students will develop more confidence in their artistic and writing abilities; be able to see the beauty of the built environment; develop a greater sense of belonging and feel part of the Northside story; and understand that historic places in their community can be inspirational sources for art and writing.

    “We are grateful to The Fine Foundation for giving us the opportunity to work with MACS teachers and students in this creative project that builds pride of place and emphasizes the beauty and lasting community value of so many historic places on the Northside,” said Executive Director Louise Sturgess.

  6. First-Ever “Architecture Day” in Oakland––Free For Architecture Enthusiasts of All Ages

    Saturday, September 29, 2018
    10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (stop by for any part of the day)
    Frick Fine Arts Building, University of Pittsburgh
    650 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

    Join Pittsburgh’s Architecture Learning Network (ALN) for the first ever “Architecture Day” on Saturday, Sept. 29 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts Building. Learn about architecture educational programs throughout the Pittsburgh region for people of all ages; view architectural work on exhibit; and participate in discussions, workshops, and building tours. 
     
    PHLF, an ALN partner, and other non-profit organizations will host free hands-on activities and exhibits in the first-floor gallery of the Frick Fine Arts Building and will offer a walking tour of the Oakland Civic Center (see below).
     
    Architecture Day
    Hosted by the Architecture Learning Network
    Frick Fine Arts Building, University of Pittsburgh
    650 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
    Saturday, September 29, 2018
    AGENDA
    10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Architecture Exhibit and Table Activities Hosted by ALN Partners
    ––PHLF, UPitt, CMU, Fallingwater, YPA (morning), ACE, AIAS/Freedom By Design
    10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
    • Panel Discussion, Where is Architecture in Pittsburgh? 
    • K-5 Grade Workshop, Fallingwater’s Gnome House Design Challenge
    • K-5 Grade Workshop, Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture/UPitt, Building Up!
    • PHLF Walking Tour, Oakland Civic Center (Advance reservations are required: marylu@phlf.org412-471-5808, ext. 527. Each tour is limited to 15 people.)
    1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    • Panel Discussion, How Sustainable is Pittsburgh?
    • 6-12 Grade Workshop, Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture/UPitt, Analogue and Digital Media.
    • 6-12 Grade Workshop, Fallingwater: Art of Design.
    • PHLF Walking Tour, Oakland Civic Center. (Advance reservations are required: marylu@phlf.org412-471-5808, ext. 527. Each tour is limited to 15 people.)
    Please come!
  7. “Right-Sizing” Is Not the Answer to the Challenges of Our Cities

    By Arthur Ziegler
    President, PHLF

    We don’t know the future; Rust Belt Cities need to stop planning that there isn’t one.”

    I recently saw this headline in an article on the web news magazine CityLab, and I was immediately reminded of what seems to me to be a misguided idea of people who are involved in urban planning, and even in historic preservation, that cities can be “right-sized.” Talk about a top-down strategy to excuse or as they often call it “manage decline.” What is the right size for Youngstown or Manhattan?

    In the United States there are a series of major cities that are attracting young people, tech firms, advanced medical research, and lots of businesses providing jobs and a good quality of life. Has anyone done a study of what those cities share in common in the form of job creation, de-regulation, openness and diversity, public amenities, taxation, and what the Rust Belt cities share in common, and then look at the two groups for differences?

    I have also noticed the trend where we have started calling rust belt cities “legacy cities,” and the primary subject does seem to be managing decline. We do have abundant evidence that retaining historic neighborhoods is one of the prime ingredients to attracting people into a city to live, to visit, and to hold on to the people who currently live there.

    We preservationists should be arguing positively for appropriate changes in our cities that will make them attractive rather than giving up on large portions of our cities.  Fortunately, the latter has been limited in Pittsburgh, but if you look at every neighborhood that has been subject to significant demolition and compared it to the historic neighborhoods where preservation was the fundamental ingredient in continuing to make our city attractive, you will see ample evidence that the “giving up” attitude of those who want demolition is harming the future of those cities.

    In the CityLab article, Jason Hackworth of the University of Toronto, said that “this wave of destruction has not lead to market rebound or a decrease in social marginality. Those Rust Belt neighborhoods with the most disassembly since 1970 didn’t get better—they got worse.” Meanwhile, Alan Mallach, a scholar who was converted from the demolition approach, noted that “demolishing a lot of houses might be removing that neighborhood’s chance to survive in the future.” I certainly agree with him.

    We preservationists should believe in the values of the architecture of our historic cities and encourage change and updating in other ways to compete nationally. Based on careful sensitivity to what is working elsewhere and to the great architectural treasures that we have can build new vibrancy. There is a bright future for rust belt cities, but we must begin with believing that to be true, and then we must have optimism and work towards utilizing the architectural legacy of these cities. Luckily Pittsburgh is doing that.

  8. Audio-Recordings Describe People, Places, and Changes on the Northside

    During a full-day program with PHLF on May 7, 2018, sixth-grade students from Manchester Academic Charter School explored several historic Northside places that have been adapted for new uses, and they also interviewed seven people who live and/or work on the Northside. SLB Radio recently produced audio-recordings based on those interviews.

    Click here to listen to the stories of seven people who live and work on the Northside: Amber Farr, Director of One Northside, The Buhl Foundation; Bill and Kim Gandy, Curators, Allegheny City Historical Gallery; Faith Miller, Human Resources Coordinator, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; JuWanda Thurmond, Human Resources & Volunteer Coordinator, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh; Karamagi Rujumba, Director of Development & Communications, PHLF; Mace Porac, PHLF docent; and Mark Fatla, Executive Director, Northside Leadership Conference.

    Sixth-grade students from Manchester Academic Charter School interviewed these Northsiders during a special field trip and program PHLF planned for them on May 7, 2018, in cooperation with SLB Radio and the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. The students learned more about the history of the Northside and how it has changed over the years, in preparation for their move to their new middle school in the former Allegheny Regional Library in 2019.

    PHLF thanks the McSwigan Family Foundation for supporting its educational programs that help young people explore their community, develop a sense of pride and belonging, and become active citizens.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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