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Category Archive: PHLF News

  1. Book Celebration: Alan I W Frank House: The Modernist Masterwork by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer

    “A Conversation about the Frank House: Raymund Ryan, Curator of Architecture, Carnegie Museum of Art, with Alan Frank”

    Saturday, December 7, 2019
    1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
    Carnegie Museum of Art
    4400 Forbes Avenue
    Pittsburgh, PA 15213

    Admission to the event is free

    PHLF is pleased to join Carnegie Museum of Art in presenting a conversation and book signing to celebrate the release of Alan I W Frank House: The Modernist Masterwork by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. The Frank House was constructed in 1939-40 on East Woodland Road in Shadyside and is the largest residence designed by Gropius and Breuer, two of the most influential architect/designers in America in the 20th century. The book’s release coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, a German art school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919. We congratulate Mr. Frank on its release.

    Our members and friends are invited to attend the special event and book signing on Saturday, December 7, at 1:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater. Reservations are not needed. Following his conversation with Mr. Ryan, Mr. Frank will autograph copies of the book ($65.00). Published by Rizzoli, the 256-page book includes critical essays by Kenneth Frampton, Barry Bergdoll, and Charles A. Birnbaum––prominent architecture and landscape historians––and is lavishly illustrated with new photographs by Richard Barnes and Richard Pare.

    Recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s most important works of mid-20th-century architecture, the Frank House is also featured in Albert M. Tannler’s Pittsburgh Architecture in the Twentieth Century: Notable Modern Buildings and Their Architects, published by PHLF in 2013.

    In 2016, PHLF awarded a $10,000 grant from its Walter C. Kidney Library and Publications Fund to the Alan I W Frank House Foundation to help fund the book, Alan I W Frank House: The Modernist Masterwork by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer.

  2. Visiting Kelly Art Glass in Millvale

    By Laurie Cohen, PHLF member

    Church of the Redeemer members from left: Reverend Michael Foley; Karen Esch, chair of the Windows Fund Campaign; and Patricia Edgar, Chair of the church’s restoration committee. Photo by Laurie Cohen.

    On Sunday, September 15th, twenty-three members of Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill visited Kelly Art Glass in Millvale. The church is one of the recipients this year of a matching grant from PHLF’s Historic Religious Properties Program. As a result, Kelly Art Glass is restoring four stained-glass windows from Redeemer, including the replacement of plexiglass with vented storm windows.

    John Kelly, founder of Kelly Art Glass, and two of his assistants greeted everyone and explained why older windows sometimes need to be restored. In the U.S., it was generally thought that lead had a lifespan of 80 to 100 years, but when glass historians visited French cathedrals and churches, they noticed that the windows were still in place after more than 400 years. The reason is that the French added 2% of antimony to the lead, a practice that was incorporated in U.S. lead production beginning in the 1960s.

    In preparing to restore art-glass windows, John always looks into the work and history of the original artist. Redeemer windows were created by Howard Gilman Wilbert between 1939 and 1962. Wilbert was the founder of Pittsburgh Stained Glass Studio, the foremost glass painters of their day. He was known for his complicated and beautiful designs. Church of the Redeemer is the only church in the United States where Wilbert designed all the windows.

    For many years, it was common for churches to use plastic storm windows to protect them from the elements or from damage. Unfortunately, the air pocket created between the storm window and stained glass would cause heat to build up, which then would cause the relatively soft lead to buckle. When lead buckles, it takes the window with it, so the window requires “re-lead restoration.” Using a flexible, silicone caulk allows movement of the material, and replacing the plastic with vented-glass storm windows allows the air to circulate. The restoration increases air circulation, pressure equalization, and ultimately, the longevity of the windows.

    John described the process of removing the Church of the Redeemer windows for repair. It was a delicate task because of their condition. The team built a wooden shipping-container-like structure, containing Styrofoam and bubble wrap, to protect the transfer from the Squirrel Hill church to the Millvale studio. No scaffolding was used, which church members appreciated.

    During the restoration, glass worker Pete Boucher discovered an unusual practice. Pieces of glass were hidden behind the lead with the words “by Mr. and Mrs. John Sherriff” etched onto the window. It is rare to find donors’ names incorporated into the glass.

    The narthex screen had buckled, so brass strips were added through the glass to strengthen the window. In some cases, glass was added to increase the visibility of the scenes depicted. In places where glass was broken, the color had to be matched and painted over.

    John and his assistants walked the visitors through the process of glass and lead restoration. First, a template of the window is created by laying a piece of paper over the window and chalking out the outline to create a rubbing. The individual pieces of glass are then laid to soak in a tray of non-detergent solvent for several days, in order to dissolve concrete or any other substance, and are scrubbed. The clean pieces are then placed over the rubbing in the places where they will be reattached, and outlines of the pieces are drawn. The outlines of the glass are nailed into the plywood underneath the rubbing to hold them in place. The thicker pieces of glass are used to create shading. Finally, all of the pieces are held together by the lead.

    Stained-glass window restoration is a thorough undertaking. It sometimes takes years of research to understand the windows’ history and construction before restoration itself can begin. Kelly Art Glass documents all its work, including recording field notes, before-and-after photos, correspondence regarding the windows, and a detailed description of the restoration process. This ensures that future generations know what work was done, so that if restoration technology changes, the necessary adjustments in the work can be made.

    Church of the Redeemer members were enthusiastic during the tour and thanked PHLF for the opportunity to have their windows restored. Their enthusiasm was matched by John’s passion for his work and his delight in sharing some of his knowledge with the parishioners. He said that windows like these are an extremely personal investment, but they bring joy to parishioners and the public for generations.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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: www.phlf.org or contact Mary Lu Denny at PHLF (marylu@phlf.org; 412-471-5808, ext. 527).

  6. 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: www.phlf.org or contact Mary Lu Denny at PHLF (marylu@phlf.org; 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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 archives@gmail.com.
    • 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.
Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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