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Category Archive: PHLF News

  1. Thank You Summer Interns

    Rachel Harris (Kent State University), Michael Jacobs (University of Pittsburgh), and Christopher Micsky (Robert Morris University) volunteered with PHLF, May through August, assisting with our archival and educational programs. We thank them for their help and wish them much success as they continue their studies in architecture, public history, and history, respectively.

    Michael assisted primarily with our archives, rehousing several collections in our Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive and also arranging and inventorying our pamphlet collection in our James D. Van Trump Library. Rachel and Chris assisted with our walking tours, taking photographs and observing best practices. Rachel also completed final edits for an Architectural Terms Primer for our docents. Chris and Michael archived our collection of historic religious property grant applications.

  2. Manchester Academic Charter School Students Unveil Artwork and a Story Box Celebrating the North Side

    Saturday, August 24 was a day of celebration for the Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS), PHLF, and the Saturday Light Brigade. Students unveiled North Side: The “Best Side,” a 36-foot-long mural and a “Story Box” of audio clips in their new middle school on the second floor of the former Allegheny Carnegie Library.

    The Fine Foundation and the McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation funded the collaborative project initiated by PHLF and completed in cooperation with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Saturday Light Brigade, Greg Pytlik (designer), and Emily Newman and Hassan Sharif (MACS art teachers).

    “The goal of this project was to give MACS students a chance to show off their skills as artists, interviewers, and storytellers and to help them feel at home in their new school environment, in the presence of artwork and stories they created,” said Louise Sturgess, Executive Director of PHLF.

    The mural includes details of North Side places, from MACS’ elementary school on Liverpool Street to the Carnegie Science Center, National Aviary, Allegheny Commons, Mattress Factory, City of Asylum, Randyland, Children’s Museum campus, Andy Warhol Museum and Bridge, Sarah Heinz House, Heinz Lofts, and Sixteenth Street Bridge. The Story Box includes audio clips from seven community leaders, and from eleven MACS students who talk about their art project, their new school, the North Side, their career hopes, and leadership.

    With the Manchester Academic Charter School on the second floor and MuseumLab on the first floor, the former Allegheny Carnegie Library is full of people, activity, and artwork once again. It’s a preservation triumph––and we commend the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and all their partners for making this historic landmark an integral part of the North Side once again. For years to come, we hope that North Side: The “Best Side” will help MACS students and teachers feel at home on Pittsburgh’s North Side, where they can discover the history, see the beauty, and learn, explore, and belong. These phrases are part of the mural.

  3. Landmarks Scholarship Recipients Celebrate in Dollar Bank’s Heritage Center

    In the photo gallery below are 15 photos from our Scholarship Reception on July 11 in the Dollar Bank Heritage Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. Joe Smith, Senior Vice President of Dollar Bank, and David Brashear, Chairman of the Landmarks Scholarship Committee, welcomed our four new scholarship recipients:

    • Nancy Marie C. Beinlich, from Elizabeth Forward Senior High School, will be studying Biology at The College of William and Mary;
    • Maya R. Berardi, from Avonworth High School, will be studying English at the University of Pennsylvania;
    • Lauren N. Jasper, from The Ellis School, will be studying Architecture at Cornell University; and
    • Francesca Lojacono, from Pittsburgh CAPA, will be studying Architecture at Cornell University.

    Each recipient will receive a $6,000 scholarship award for book and tuition expenses, payable over four years. PHLF’s Scholarship Program unites teenagers from geographically, economically, and racially diverse backgrounds within Allegheny County in their love for Pittsburgh. At a time of transition and new challenges in their lives, recipients are connected with our organization that helps support them as they pursue their educational goals, while keeping them anchored to the Pittsburgh region.

    Photos by Randall A. Coleman, Redd Vision.

    PHLF trustees, staff, and former recipients joined in welcoming our four new winners. PHLF trustee David Brashear initiated the Landmarks Scholarship Program in 1999. Since then, ninety young people from Allegheny County have benefited, and many have continued to stay in touch with PHLF and support our mission. Greg Bykowski, who was one of our first recipients, summed up the value of our Scholarship Program in his note of congratulations to our new recipients:

    Please wish my luck to the honorees. I hope that they enjoy their college experience. Also, please convey my gratitude to those who manage the scholarship. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that PHLF has provided me both before and after being awarded one of the inaugural scholarships in 1999. Can you believe that it has been twenty years?

    A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Greg lives in Pittsburgh with his family and works at Transtar, Inc.

    PHLF’s Scholarship Program is funded by generous contributions from the Brashear Family Named Fund, the McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Landmarks Scholarship Fund, including donations to the 2008 and 2014 Scholarship Celebrations. To contribute, visit: or contact Mary Lu Denny at PHLF (; 412-471-5808, ext. 527).

  4. We Welcome Four New Landmarks Scholarship Recipients

    PHLF Trustee David Brashear, Chair of the Landmarks Scholarship Committee, recently announced that scholarships ($6,000 each, payable over four years for book and tuition expenses) will be awarded to four high-school graduates from Allegheny County:

    • Nancy Marie C. Beinlich, from Elizabeth Forward Senior High School, who will be studying Biology at The College of William and Mary;
    • Maya R. Berardi, from Avonworth High School, who will be studying English at the University of Pennsylvania;
    • Lauren N. Jasper, from The Ellis School, who will be studying Architecture at Cornell University; and
    • Francesca Lojacono, from Pittsburgh CAPA, will be studying Architecture at Cornell University.

    Seventy-one high-school seniors from Allegheny County applied to our Landmarks Scholarship Program this April. Each person wrote a memorable essay about a place in Allegheny County that is personally meaningful and submitted letters of recommendation attesting to his/her academic achievement and community involvement. Essay topics included the Benedum Center, Braddock Carnegie Library, “Clayton,” the courtyard at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Crafton, Duquesne Incline, East Liberty, First Lutheran Church, George Westinghouse Bridge, Glen’s Custard in Springdale, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Mellon Park, North Park, Oliver Miller Homestead, South Side Market House, Strip District, Swissvale War Memorial, and Triple B Farms. All the essays are bound and archived at PHLF. Together they show how young people connect with the historic built environment that PHLF and many others work hard to protect. We thank each person for applying and encourage all the applicants to stay in touch with PHLF through their complimentary four-year membership.

    “The Landmarks Scholarship recognizes students who have achieved academic excellence and possess the potential to make a difference in the Pittsburgh community and beyond,” said Mr. Brashear. Since 1999, PHLF has awarded 76 scholarships and 14 honorable mentions to high-achieving students who are active in their communities and pursuing a college education. Of these 90 winners, 35 graduated from Pittsburgh Public Schools and 55 graduated from other schools within Allegheny County.

    PHLF’s Scholarship Program is funded by generous contributions from the Brashear Family Named Fund, the McSwigan Family Foundation Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Landmarks Scholarship Fund, including donations to the 2008 and 2014 Scholarship Celebrations. To contribute, visit: or contact Mary Lu Denny at PHLF (; 412-471-5808, ext. 527).

    “With additional contributions to our Scholarship Program,” said PHLF Executive Louise Sturgess, “we will be able to award more scholarships. So many of the applicants are especially deserving and need financial assistance. In the long run, we benefit by developing strong relationships with all the applicants since they share our values and care deeply about the Pittsburgh region. We thank the Brashear family for initiating this program that has given our organization the means to connect with so many outstanding young people.”

    The Landmarks Scholarship Program is the culmination of PHLF’s educational programs for thousands of students from grades PreK-12 and the beginning of its programs for adults. It gives Allegheny County students an incentive to excel in school, become involved in their communities, and express their commitment to this region in a meaningful way.

  5. Thank You, Interns

    Michael Jacobs, Tom Lucy, Marc Patti, and Nicole Slaven volunteered with PHLF from January through April/May 2019, assisting with educational programs and archives management. We thank each of them for their time and assistance as they pursued their undergraduate or graduate requirements.

    Tom Lucy, who graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2019, participated in an Architectural Design Challenge with PHLF as a middle school student in 2009-10; his interest in architecture and historic preservation began then. On April 4 and 5, he returned to his former high school in Monessen to help judge PHLF’s 23rd annual Architectural Design Challenge. While there, he visited the school library and found that the model he and his teammates constructed in 2010 showing a new use for a vacant bank building in Monessen was still proudly displayed.

    Michael Jacobs, Nicole Slaven, Tom Lucy, and Marc Patti summed up their experiences with PHLF as follows:

    “I learned about the crucial role that PHLF plays in educating students about preservation and future career opportunities and in preserving a record of the region’s architectural heritage through its archive and library collections. I was fortunate enough to help in both areas by assisting with school tours and career awareness programs and by working on collections and inventorying.” ––Michael Jacobs (University of Pittsburgh, History/Museum Studies)

    “I greatly enjoyed my time with PHLF! It was wonderful to learn about what makes the beautiful city of Pittsburgh great, and to educate others about the city’s important history. Assisting with city tours and in-school presentations for Pittsburgh Public School students has helped me learn about education, programming, and engaging the public. My time at PHLF was truly irreplaceable. I met and worked with accomplished professionals and learned skills that will help me in any future career!” ––Nicole Slaven (Duquesne University, Public History) 

    “One of the most remarkable things about working with PHLF is seeing how preservation touches all manner of people, whether it’s a third grader first realizing the value of his historic school building, a senior citizen reminiscing about a long-gone landmark she used to work in, or a developer earnestly interested in taking history into account on a new project.” ––Tom Lucy (University of Pittsburgh, Architectural Studies, Preservation Track)

    “Between January and May, I helped archivist Lauren Eisenhart-Purvis re-organize several groups of records within the PHLF archives. Under Lauren’s instruction, I also crafted finding aids unique to each of the re-cataloged record groups. Volunteering as an intern at PHLF helped me apply the archival theory and techniques I learned at Duquesne in a professional setting and made me more confident in my ability to practice as a Public Historian after graduation.” ­­––Marc Patti (Duquesne University, Public History)

  6. Oakmont Country Club Offers Free Historic Tours May through December

    Few golf courses in the world have the fabled history, tradition, and legacy of Oakmont Country Club. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark and host of 19 major championships to date, Oakmont tells the history of the game of golf in our own backyard.

    Golf historians will lead participants through the handsomely preserved 116-year-old clubhouse and share information about the founding of the club and the Fownes family that made it possible. Historic photographs, memorabilia, and artifacts in the History Hall document some of the legendary moments during the nine U.S. Opens held at Oakmont. There is a collection of USGA trophies to admire as well. The tour includes a walk through the original men’s locker room. Weather permitting, guests will tour the historic “inland links” golf course and see the extraordinary vistas, narrow fairways, treacherous sand bunkers, and iconic “Church Pew” bunker. Guests will be able to test their putting skills on Oakmont’s world-renowned putting surfaces and will have time to visit the Oakmont Professional Shop.

    Tours are offered on the following Monday mornings in 2019, from 8:45 to 10:30 a.m.:

    • May 13 and 20
    • June 3 and 24
    • July 8 and 22
    • August 5, 12, and 19
    • September 9, 16, and 23
    • October 7, 14, and 21
    • November 4 and 18
    • December 2 and 9

    Essential information:

    • The tours are free of charge. Donations are welcome, with proceeds going to the Fownes Foundation.
    • Each tour is limited to 15 people. Advance reservations are required!
    • For reservations, contact Oakmont Country Club at 412-828-8000.
    • For further information about the tours, contact the Oakmont Country Club Archives at 412-828-8000, ext. 257 or by email at
    • 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.
    • Disabled access is available.
  7. Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh Brings New Life to the Former Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny in Its Award-Winning Renovation

    Congratulations to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for expanding its campus to include the former Carnegie Free Library on Pittsburgh’s North Side. PHLF saved that building when the City of Pittsburgh wanted to demolish it during the era of urban renewal. Working with grassroots North Side groups, PHLF collected 7,000 signatures on a petition and presented it to City Council to save the building.

    PHLF President Arthur Ziegler and Executive Director Louise Sturgess were among the hundreds of people who attended the grand opening of the Children’s Museum “Museum Lab” on April 25. See the gallery below of photos of the architectural details that have been revealed in the brilliant restoration/reuse of the 1890 landmark that now provides maker-space for children ages 10 to 14, and educational space for several partner organizations.

    One of the partner organizations is the Manchester Academic Charter School (MACS). Beginning in late August 2019, the middle school will occupy the second floor of the former library. In anticipation of this move, PHLF has involved MACS students in field trips, radio interviews, and art activities over the past few years, thanks to funding support from the McSwigan Family Foundation. The goal is to help students become more knowledgeable about their North Side home and more aware of the value that comes from recycling historic landmarks.

    In April and May, MACS art teachers Emily Newman and Hassan Sharif are involving their fifth- through eighth-grade students in creating original art based on architectural details of North Side landmarks. Beginning in May, Greg Pytlik, PHLF’s free-lance designer, will incorporate the student artwork, photographs, and other materials to create a permanent art installation for the new middle school. The artwork will be unveiled in late August, at the opening of the 2019-20 school year. It will show the beauty and unique character of the North Side and will help students feel more connected to their new home. In addition, SLB Radio will install a Story-Box featuring audio recordings of famous North Siders who shared their stories with MACS students and comments by MACS students, recorded by teaching artist Randall Coleman.

    “We are grateful to The Fine Foundation for funding this collaborative project,” said Louise Sturgess. “We are impressed with the artwork that the students have created so far and are inspired by the raw beauty of the original building that the Children’s Museum has revealed in its award-winning renovation. It is most appropriate to feature student artwork in a building that has been renewed for the benefit of children.”

  8. Students Envision New Uses for the Former Railroad Roundhouse at Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Green in PHLF’s Design Challenge

    “I continue to love re-energizing old buildings. I love the vast amount of possibilities.”

    ––Westmoreland County high school student, April 5, 2019

    “After participating in two ADC challenges, I have taken a liking to historic buildings and have gained an understanding of the importance of preserving these buildings.”
    ––Westmoreland County middle school student, April 4, 2019

    For the 23rd consecutive year, Westmoreland County Schools participated with PHLF in an Architectural Design Challenge (ADC). PHLF issues a new design challenge each school year focusing on a vacant historic building in either the City of Pittsburgh or Westmoreland County. This was the most ambitious design challenge to date, due to the size and complex shape of the former railroad roundhouse and turntable, but the students were not intimidated. Their ideas, models, and presentations were bold and inspiring, showing sustainable new uses that would benefit the Hazelwood community.

    Click here for a listing of awards.

    To see photos of the models and presentations see the galleries below.

    April 4 Middle School Presentations

    April 5 Middle School Presentations

    April 5 High School Presentations

    Students envisioned converting the railroad roundhouse into:

    • a robotics museum, revealing the role that this region has played in the development of robotics;
    • a train station for a daily commuter train to Pittsburgh and a Hazelwood transit center;
    • a place where people could hang out and have fun with space for a bike course, walking trails, basketball court, and ice-skating rink;
    • a recreation center with a go-cart track, plus a snack bar and movie theater;
    • a museum featuring the history of the roundhouse, plus a memorial garden dedicated to Pittsburgh playwright August Wilson and a tribute to Andy Warhol;
    • an arcade and restaurant with displays honoring the history of Hazelwood and the roundhouse;
    • a science center and planetarium;
    • the Almono Community Center offering music, theater, life-skills, cooking, sewing, and physical fitness classes;
    • a high school for Hazelwood, in anticipation of the population that will be drawn to the community as Hazelwood Green develops;
    • an eco-friendly bed-and-breakfast with three train cars decorated with the history of the roundhouse;
    • a community center with a bike shop, rock-climbing wall, basketball court, healthy eating areas, and performance stage;
    • greenhouses, a chip-making factory, and restaurant that would provide jobs for Hazelwood residents and educate kids about healthy-eating habits;
    • an affordable, family-friendly experimental kitchen called “Below the Tracks”;
    • a medieval castle that would bring the middle ages to life for all who visited;
    • “Pups ‘n Cups”––a dog park, restaurant, and bakery;
    • a greenhouse and farm-to-table restaurant to benefit the community;
    • a shopping center and apartment complex;
    • the Hazelwood Art and Recreation Center;
    • the Steel City Tavern and museum;
    • an Italian restaurant and museum;
    • a multi-purpose community center;
    • the “Peach Pitt Tavern” and “Hazelwood Brewery & Arcade”;
    • the Hazelwood Youth Center; and
    • the Roundhouse Plaza, including a shopping center and “Hall of Remembrance.”

    We thank the following judges for critiquing the student projects on April 4 and 5 and for encouraging this next generation to become actively involved in improving their communities, no matter what profession they pursue:

    • Ray Bowman (Pieper O’Brien)
    • Elmer Burger (architect, retired)
    • Mike Cahall (educator)
    • Anne Chen (GBBN)
    • Matt Conti (GBBN)
    • Kelley Folts (CannonDesign)
    • Melanie Como Harris (IKM)
    • Roger Hartung (IKM)
    • Jenna Kappelt (CMU, ALN)
    • Phyllis Kim (GBBN)
    • Nicole Kubas (CityStudio)
    • Scott Maritzer (Pieper O’Brien)
    • Sara McGuire (educator)
    • Samantha Weaver (educator)
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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