Posted On: August 9, 2013
by Hanna Stark
“The whole community would benefit from changes to the Game Preserve.” These are the wise words of ten year old Presley Oliphant, a 4th-grader who has started a campaign to improve the South Park Game Preserve.
The South Park Game Preserve is currently home to a herd of buffalo, ducks, geese, and a peacock. Buffalo and a small tribe of Native Americans came to South Park in 1927. The tribe left after only a year, but the buffalo remained. Also in the Game Preserve is the Kiddoo House. Erected in 1788, the building has been vacant for years and has been damaged by the elements and vandals. In Presley’s words, “it appears dangerous and ugly,” as the paint is chipping and vines have grown all over its walls.
Presley wants the Kiddoo house to become an educational and nature center, and believes that this could become a field trip attraction for the surrounding school districts. The history of South Park and the buffalo herd should be inside along with information on the species found in the Game Preserve. Presley wants to install informational plaques in front of the animal enclosures as a way to educate visitors and also could be a way to thank sponsors. Another project Presley wants to focus on is the duck pond. In its current state, a heavy rain causes litter, branches, and other debris to get caught in the pond, as it lacks proper drainage. This is a threat to the duck and geese that live in the pond.
Presley initially wrote a letter with these ideas and presented it to The Friends of South Park. Since then, she has created a website and Facebook page. Her Facebook page has 1,332 likes so one can tell she is gaining the support needed to successfully have these ideas implemented. She has hosted both an Easter Egg Hunt and an ongoing T-shirt sale to promote her campaign. These have already raised $2,575, and Presley has had multiple offers made to donate materials. Her next idea for a fundraiser is a 5k and family fun run, which would end at the Game Preserve.
Presley recently became the youngest presentee at Pennsylvania’s Statewide Conference on Heritage, speaking in July on their Young Preservationists panel. She has made great strides in her efforts to save the South Park Game Preserve, and with added support and community backing, her dreams could become a reality. Find out more here: www.savethesouthparkgamepreserve.com (all photos from that site)
Hanna Stark is going to be a junior at Peters Township High School this fall. She’s passionate about history, architecture and field hockey.
Youth Voices is a new YPA blog series – if you’d like to get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Posted On: June 18, 2013
For the past 10 years, the Young Preservationists Association (YPA) has compiled an annual list of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh region. Nominated by community members, the Top Ten highlights endangered historic sites that have a good chance for restoration and reuse. Among the 100 hundred sites nominated over the past decade, we can count several success stories—the Armstrong Cork Factory, The Union Project, and the Dormont Pool all demonstrate the economic and community benefits of historic preservation.
Join the YPA and other preservation-minded folk as we look back and look forward! We’ll be choosing a Tip-Top Ten – these historic sites have made our list in previous years but continue to present the most viable opportunities for renewal. By keeping them in the spotlight, we hope to increase their chance of a brighter future!
Our event will help kick off Preservation PA’s Statewide Conference on Heritage, happening July 16-19. More info here: http://www.pennbyways.org/ We are excited to welcome conference attendees to Pittsburgh and spread the word about our regional gems.
Celebrate with us at Wigle Whiskey – the first new distillery in Pittsburgh since Prohibition – and enjoy food, cocktails and tunes by DJ Harry Lurker as we highlight some of our favorite preservation opportunities!
YPA’s 2013 Top 10 Event
Posted On: March 27, 2013
In response to plans to demolish and replace the historic but structurally deficient 1922 Beechwood Boulevard (Greenfield) Bridge over the Parkway East (I-376), the Young Preservationists Association (YPA) advocated saving and restoring the bridge’s original ornamental approaches by naming them to the 2012 Top Ten Preservation Opportunities List.
The Beechwood Boulevard Bridge, also called the Greenfield Bridge, was designed in 1921-23 by Charles M. Reppert, chief engineer, and Stanley L. Roush, architect. It was altered in 1980, and much of the decoration on the once-ornate bridge, including a grand series of sculpted lamp standards and urns, was removed.
As noted on the Top Ten list, “The Beechwood Boulevard Bridge was built in 1922 to be a grand entrance into Schenley Park. In 1980, the bridge was rehabilitated, and the original concrete deck was replaced with a steel one. All ornamentation was removed except the pylons and balustrades at the approaches. The arch ring has deteriorated so badly, netting was installed, and a temporary bridge was built over the interstate to catch debris. Since the previous attempt at repairing the concrete arch has failed, the bridge will be replaced in 2015. The new bridge could be designed to replicate the original appearance of the 1922 bridge.”
The YPA attended the City of Pittsburgh’s public meeting on January 16th, 2013, outlining the plans for the bridge replacement project. The YPA is pleased to note that the original bridge approaches will be preserved as advocated. Furthermore, the original balustrades and urns will be replicated across the length of the new structure. To the pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist crossing the structure, the bridge will look more historically accurate than the current structure (after its 1980 rehabilitation).
Structurally the new bridge will be a steel arch instead of a concrete arch. While the new arch will be noticeably thinner than the current 20-foot thick arch, it will maintain the shape of the existing bridge.
YPA commends the City of Pittsburgh for choosing to restore the historic attributes of the existing bridge, while creating a replacement structure of the same general shape. The new bridge will recreate the once grand entrance to Schenley Park and become an asset instead of an embarrassment. Well-designed projects such as this one will preserve the feel of a 1920’s City Beautiful structure for generations to come.
More information on the project can be found here:
Posted On: June 20, 2012
The Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh released its 2012 list of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area during its Tenth Anniversary Celebration held on Saturday, June 2, 2012, at the Union Project.
See photos from the 10th Anniversary Celebration, entitled “Ignite the Next Generation of Preservation Leaders” here:
|YPA 10th Anniversary|
In addition, YPA announced the Michael Eversmeyer Promise Award to Michael Stanton and Open Hand Ministries for his work restoring old houses in Garfield and East Liberty.
Read the full report here: Ignite the Next Generation of Preservation Leaders: YPA’s 10th Anniversary and 2012 Top Ten List
First on the 2012 list is the Pittsburgh Sign on Mt. Washington, which has stood since the 1930s and remains an iconic symbol of both Pittsburgh’s past and great future. There is hope that Lamar Advertising, which owns it, can put some funds into the upkeep of this important landmark. It is also eligible for landmark designation, which would make it the first sign (and perhaps only) in Pittsburgh to be designated as historic.
#2 is New Castle, Pa., Lawrence County
New Castle’s North Hill Historic District has more than 1,600 historic structures, one of the largest in the state, but the City Council wants to weaken their own preservation ordinance, but is willing to work on a compromise with advocates for a stronger ordinance. State and local officials should join YPA, Preservation Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in calling for a stronger preservation ordinance and to retain the historic area review board.
#3 Mayview, Upper Saint Clair, Allegheny County
This sprawling estate for the mentally ill has a number of historic properties which were constructed in 1892 to 1909, with later additions. State Senator John Pippy set up a Mayview Land Reuse Task Force to deal with the reuse of the land and distribute the proceeds from the sale to the state Dept. of Public Welfare. A memorial for what the hospital was and the thousands of people that passed through it will be on the property. It may be possible to reuse the main building as offices in a signature building that would recognize the historical nature of this site.
#4 Former Greensboro Public School, Greensboro, Greene County
Opened in 1903, the Greensboro Public School served this town in southern Greene County until it closed in 1961. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the former school is part of Greensboro’s Elm Street Program, and there is a plan to reuse the building as a LEED-certified Greene County Cultural Enrichment Center. Renovations are estimated to be more than two million dollars. Support from partner organizations, regional funders, and state and federal sources are needed to make this important gem come back to life.
#5 Beltzhoover School, Beltzhoover Neighborhood, City of Pittsburgh
Originally built by Thomas Lloyd and William J. Shaw in 1905, the school was expanded in 1910 and 1923. It served the South Hills neighborhood of Beltzhoover until it closed in 2006. The school is listed in the National Register of Historic Places (1986) and the city of Pittsburgh’s list of Historic Landmarks (2002). In 2009, Beltzhoover Neighborhood Council developed a plan to revitalize the hilltop, called New Life for Beltzhoover. With technical assistance provided by Penn State students, a feasibility study was completed for a proposal that garnered support from numerous agencies and public officials. Similar to the renovation of the closed South Hills High School, additional attention to Beltzhoover School could attract developers.
#6 Race Street, Homewood
Homewood’s Race Street, a five-block area in central Homewood, is a prime example of middle-class black Pittsburgh, with well-kept homes, modest yards, and a friendly neighborhood vibe. However, Race Street, like all of Homewood, suffers from vacant properties (both vacant buildings and vacant lots) and a lack of investment. The Save Race Street Committee continues to lead community-wide cleanup efforts and planning activities. Many homes that are boarded up can be fixed and renovated. In addition, an effort to involve Race Street kids is also in the works to carry on community traditions.
#7 Beechwood Boulevard Bridge, Greenfield-Schenley Park
The Beechwood Boulevard bridge was built in 1922 to be a grand entrance into Schenley Park. In 1980, the bridge was rehabilitated, and the original concrete deck was replaced with a steel one. All ornamentation was removed except the pylons and balustrades at the approaches. The arch ring has deteriorated so badly, netting was installed, and a temporary bridge was built over the interstate to catch debris. Since the previous attempt at repairing the concrete arch has failed, the bridge will be replaced in 2014. The new bridge could be designed to replicate the original appearance of the 1922 bridge.
#8 Turner Cemetery, Squirrel Hill
Established in 1785, Turner Cemetery in Squirrel Hill (next to Mary S. Brown Church) is one of the oldest cemeteries in Allegheny County. Both the cemetery and church are in need of preservation, but no funds are available. The research and fund-raising for preservation is being done by the Turner Cemetery/Mary S. Brown-Ames Historical Committee. The Turner Cemetery/Mary S Brown site has a lot of potential but is in need of funding to help maintain the site, continue historical research, and develop interpretive signage.
#9 Canonsburg Armory, Canonsburg, Washington County
The Canonsburg Armory was built in 1938 at a cost of $85,548, funded by the Public Works Administration. It was constructed for the 108th Hospital, 103rd Medical Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1938. It is one of seven armories built in Pennsylvania with the drill hall on the floor above the administration section. The architect was George W. Brugger of Canonsburg. The armory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Now closed, Downtown Canonsburg has taken an interest in the building’s sale. There are a number of really great options for the space.
#10 Bigelow Boulevard Retaining Wall, Hill District
From as early as 1919, plans were drawn up to create a decorative retaining wall on Bigelow Boulevard, but were never fully realized. But by the time it was created in the 1950s, it was plain and utilitarian in design, with limited pedestrian access functioning purely as an engineering structure. Currently, the wall is in fair shape, but it appears to be crumbling in places, particularly along the Crosstown Boulevard section. The retraining wall remains a bland statement for a city that is anything but. The wall could serve as a large, public mural created by local artists that would be a bold declaration about Pittsburgh’s fascinating past . . . and vibrant future.
Posted On: April 10, 2012
YPA celebrated its Tenth Anniversary on Saturday, June 2, 2012, at the Union Project in Highland Park.
Special guests included WQED’s Rick Sebak and Tom Baker, President of Baker Leadership.
The event co-chairs were Pennsylvania State Senator Jim Ferlo and Cathy Niederberger, Senior Vice President of PNC Community Development.
YPA’s 10th Anniversary, entitled “Ignite the Next Generation of Preservation Leaders,” featured YPA’s new list of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area.”
YPA also presented the “Michael Eversmeyer Promise Award” to Michael Stanton of Open Hand Ministries.
Read the full report and more about the event: http://www.youngpreservationists.org/ypa-releases-2012-top-ten-list
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!
Posted On: December 21, 2011
When YPA started in 2002, we were the only organization in the United States solely dedicated to the involvement of young people in historic preservation.
Now, nearly ten years later, more than 5,500 people have benefited from our programs. YPA pioneered the first list of preservation “opportunities,” called “The Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area.” Since that time, more than $80 million has been invested in sites listed on our Top Ten List.
We held the first preservation video contest for young people, which resulted in the historic designation of the Paramount Pictures Film Exchange in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood, which has been preserved.
YPA’s Youth Main Street Advisors Program provided students at Propel Andrew Street High School and Peabody High School with an amazing sense of accomplishment and opened their eyes to great possibilities. More than 1,200 books have been produced, and many have been sold to generate revenue for students.
YPA’s dedication to African American history resulted in two new protected City landmarks, the first home of the National Negro Opera Company in Homewood, and the New Granada Theatre in the Hill District. YPA also pioneered the region’s first African American History tour guide, called “Discover the Legacy.” More than 5,000 tour guides have been distributed to young people in southwestern Pennsylvania.
YPA held the first conference for young preservationists, the first bike tour of historic sites–”Wheeling Through History”–the region’s first study of the economic impact of historic preservation, and the first Preserve Pittsburgh Summit, which attracted more than 300 students in 2011.
There are numerous individual success stories, which you can read about here: http://www.youngpreservationists.org/about-2
Even our logo is the result of young people. Developed by students at LaRoche College, it was adopted by YPA in 2007.
Our new video highlights several of our accomplishments, which you can view here: http://www.youngpreservationists.org/about-2
YPA encourages you to support the work of this unique organization. You can donate online at:
OR, send a donation to our office:
Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh
110 East Eighth Avenue
Homestead, PA 15120
Thank you for helping YPA Give Life to History!
Posted On: November 29, 2011
Since YPA started in 2002, our programs have impacted more than 5,000 individuals. YPA has presented more than 30 events and activities, published more than 20 unique publications, and hosted more than 30 interns and volunteers.
More than 150 media articles have been generated, and now young preservationist groups have emerged across the country, as well as in Canada: http://histpres.com/list-of-young-preservationist-groups
Behind the numbers, the young people who have participated in YPA’s programs have become preservation leaders across the United States, and beyond.
Preservation Generation 3.0 has arrived!
Let’s meet some of them:
Colleen Schmidt Profile
J’mal Christmas Profile
Tansy Michaud Profile
Sean Capperis Profile
Noel Jenkins Profile
Dawn Webb Turner
Dawn Webb Turner
Posted On: October 17, 2011
Keep up with the news and activities of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh on our Facebook page. Join our rapidly growing list of supporters and connect with like-minded young preservationists around the country, and around the world.
Events and activities will be featured on our Facebook page, so plug into the realtime energy of YPA on Facebook!
Posted On: August 25, 2011
More than 300 students attended YPA’s third-annual Preserve Pittsburgh Summit to tour historic properties and develop ideas about preservation in Pittsburgh.
Held at the Heinz History Center on Friday, September 30, 2011, the Summit featured seven different tours of the Strip, Lawrenceville, and Downtown. The tours included two food tours, a Main Street Lawrenceville tour, waterfront tour, loft living tour, a bridge tour, and a Downtown walking tour. The tours illustrated how buildings get renovated, the technology behind it, the skills required, and the economic and environmental benefits to communities.
The objective of the Preserve Pittsburgh Summit is to develop a model framework for how young people can shape the future of historic sites in their community by using real-life examples in Pittsburgh. The Summit is designed for young people to learn what goes on behind the scenes to bring old buildings back to life. After the tours, young people formed into small groups and reported back to the larger group about what they learned and the potential of historic preservation to transform communities. Themes such as History, Economics, Technology, and Green Building Design were emphasized.
The keynote speakers included PA State Senator Jim Ferlo, Pittsburgh City Council member Natalia Rudiak, and special guest, Felicia Mayro, Director of the Neighborhood Preservation Center of New York City.
Additional images from the event are featured below:
|YPA's Preserve Pittsburgh Summit 2011|
Registration Packet download: Summit Pre-Registration
YPA is grateful to its partners and sponsors, listed below:
Burgh Bits & Bites Food Tour
Cochran & Associates Architects
Coro Center for Civic Leadership
Senator John Heinz History Center
Neighbors in the Strip
Allderdice High School
Allegheny Traditional Academy
Carrick High School
The Ellis School
Martin Luther King Middle School
Pittsburgh Board of Education
Schiller Classical Academy
South Hills Middle School
University of Pittsburgh
Posted On: June 2, 2011
Students at Pittsburgh Peabody High School have published a book about the East End, the first such book by a city school. They held their first book signing ceremony on June 1, 2011, at the Carnegie Library of East Liberty.
See article in the Tribune-Review: Peabody students publish book about Pittsburgh’s East End Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 1, 2011
The book, entitled, “Pittsburgh’s East End: Then, Now and Later,” documents the history, current conditions, and future potential for East End neighborhoods, such as East Liberty, Larimer, and Homewood.
The Young Preservationists Association has been working with students at Peabody High School, in Pittsburgh’s East End, to document the past, present, and future of the school and surrounding neighborhoods through YPA’s Youth Main Street Advisors Program.
The program is a service learning project that connects students with communities through the creation of a student-produced book about the community’s history, present, and future. The program is a journey of discovery that introduces the students to the community and historic preservation concepts, trains them on how to engage with the community, and provides them with tools to take action.
Through YPA’s Youth Main Street Advisors Program, Peabody students studied the history, present, and future potential of East Liberty and surrounding neighborhoods.
The process involves learning about the history of the community from various sources, including school archives, the Historic Pittsburgh website, field visits, photography, and talks with community leaders, such as historian and author (and Peabody alum) John Brewer. In February, YPA conducted an interview workshop with SLB Radio, which afforded the students an opportunity to record their conversations with community leaders.
In May, the students were awarded the Michael Eversmeyer Promise Award for their work on this book at YPA’s Preservation Month Celebration, held on May 6, 2011.
The Promise Award Winners for 2011
Students at Peabody High School
Cynthia Albrecht, Teacher
Kristen Pancio, AmeriCorps
Melissa Friez, Principal
This books was a team effort. Special thanks goes to:
Larry Berger and Liz Adams at SLB Radio
John Brewer, author, historian, and photographer
Nate Cunningham of East Liberty Development, Inc.
Carolyn Dorsey of East Liberty’s State Farm Insurance Agency
Melody Farrin, Photographer
Joyce Faulkner at Red Engine Press
Al Mann, president of the East Liberty Historical Society
Carol Spencer-Royall of the Union Project
Justin Strong, owner of East Liberty’s Shadow Lounge and AVA
Tom Sturgill of East Liberty’s Vintage Sr. Center
Stay tuned to YPA’s Facebook page for more details and updates!