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McKees Rocks photo contest promotes community, history

Pittsburgh Tribune ReviewBy Melanie Donahoo
Thursday, June 14, 2007

McKees Rocks promoters want everyone to explore the architecture of the borough’s historic buildings with a photo hunt contest sponsored by the McKees Rocks Community Development Corp. and architect John Baverso.

Participants can find a close-up photo of a local building’s architectural feature every other Friday on the Internet at Everyone who correctly identifies the building in an e-mail is entered in a drawing for a Nintendo Wii video game system in October.

Sandy Saban, 55, a lifelong McKees Rocks resident and editor of the community Web site, said she got the idea for the contest when she was taking a walk and noticed the ornate architectural details of some structures.

“I started to look at the buildings, and I started to see all of this brickwork and this fancy stuff,” Saban said. “You just don’t see that anymore.”

Saban said she was surprised that she had not noticed the features sooner and wanted to give others an incentive to discover it.
“I never saw this stuff. I never paid attention to it,” Saban said. “And it’s been here all this time. What a shame that other people probably were like me and just never looked up at these buildings.”

Saban took her idea to Taris Vrcek, the executive director of the community development corporation, and they developed the contest. In addition to the grand prize, the first person to send in a correct answer every two weeks will receive a gift certificate to a local restaurant or business, Vrcek said.

Baverso, the architect for the Sto-Rox Cultural Center being developed in McKees Rocks, donated the prizes.

“One of our greatest assets is our historic architecture,” said Vrcek, of McKees Rocks. “We have such a wealth of it, and a lot of it is undiscovered by people.”

The photos are being posted on Fridays so people have the weekend to walk around and look for the buildings, Vrcek said. They have two weeks to e-mail their answers. The contest is open to everyone, regardless of where they live. The answers to the previous week’s clues will be posted on the site.

Saban said she photographed the decorative features of public and commercial buildings in every part of the community.

“I hope people get a better appreciation of the buildings here and the care and the artistry of the people who built these buildings,” she said.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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