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: 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: 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!
Posted On: February 24, 2011
The Young Preservationists Association has released its 2011 list of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities, which marks the start of National Historic Preservation Month (May). The list, released annually, includes endangered historic sites in the Pittsburgh area that are good candidates for preservation and reuse.
YPA will release a printed copy of its 2011 Top Ten report at its annual Preservation Month Celebration on Friday, May 6th, at the Paramount Pictures Film Exchange, from 6 to 8 p.m. Event details are on YPA’s website, http://www.youngpreservationists.org/preservation-month-celebration-may-6
Since 2003, YPA has celebrated historic preservation with its annual list of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area. The list, compiled from nominations received from various individuals and organizations, is designed to encourage investment in historic sites throughout the nine-county southwestern Pennsylvania region. The list has been used by property owners to draw positive attention to their properties, raise investment funds, secure grants, and generate political goodwill for their historic sites.
In fact, since YPA released its first Top Ten List in 2003, more than $80 million has been invested into properties placed on YPA’s Top 10 List, including the creation of an estimated 1,245 construction and trade-related jobs, 230 housing units, and $750,000 in additional annual wage tax revenue is yielded to state and local municipalities, as documented in YPA’s 2010 report, “The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Jobs that cannot be outsourced.” Download the Economic Impact Report here: Economic Impact in SW PA
The criteria used to select the Top Ten List include the following:
1. 50-year Threshold (is it 50 years old or older);
2. Historic & Architectural Significance;
3. Threats to the Site;
4. Community Input; and
5. Feasibility of the Solution.
Below are the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area for 2011.
10. Connellsville Armory, Connellsville, Fayette County
9. Saints Peter and Paul Church, East Liberty (Pittsburgh)
8. Wigman House, Carrick (Pittsburgh)
7. Stables Building, Allegheny West (Pittsburgh)
6. Westinghouse Atom Smasher, Forest Hills, Allegheny County
5. Hipwell Building, Alleghney West (Pittsburgh)
4. Old Masons Building, Uniontown, Fayette County
3. Highland Building, East Liberty (Pittsburgh)
2. Grand Theatre, Elizabeth (Pittsburgh)
1. Main Street Waynesburg, Waynesburg, Greene County (featured below)
A low-res. copy of the final report can be found here: Celebrate Historic Treasures in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Top Ten Best Historic Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area 2011
Past sites have included the Armstrong Cork Factory, Union Project, and the New Granada Theatre, all of which have been restored or stabilized.
Stay tuned to YPA’s Facebook Page for more details.
Posted On: June 10, 2010
On June 3, 2010, six high school students proudly sat at the Tin Front Cafe in Homestead and autographed copies of their new book, “Take a Walk From the Past to the Future of Eighth Avenue.”
They were participants in YPA’s Youth Main Street Advisors Program that encourages young people to explore and document their community and make recommendations for changes. The book was the product of a year-long process of discovery and creativity.
YPA is grateful to the Grable Foundation, which supported the project, and Red Engine Press, which published the book. Additional support was provided by SLB Radio, which conducted an interview workshop for the students, and Rivers of Steel, which provided research assistance. Louise Sturgess from Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, and Eric Milliron, from Main Street Mt. Lebanon, spoke to the students at an orientation session held in October.
The 100-page book is available from either YPA or Propel Andrew Street High School (http://www.propelandrewstreet.org/) and are $12.00. Book sales benefit the school.
The Post-Gazette covered the story:
Students pen a historical look at Homestead Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 10, 2010
See photos from the training sessions and the book signing:
|Propel Student Book Signing 6-3-10|
|Andrew Street HS Youth Main Street Advisors Interview Workshop, 12-10-09|
|Youth Main Street Advisors Program, Oct. 22, 2009|
Posted On: May 21, 2010
YPA has released its new list of the Top Ten Preservation Opportunities in the Pittsburgh Area. The Top Ten Report was released at YPA’s Preservation Month Celebration, held at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty, on May 21st.
YPA counted down the Top Ten on its blog, “Give Life to History!”
The blog can be accessed at http://youngpreservationistsassociation.blogspot.com/
Download a copy of the Top Ten report here: Top Ten Report 2010
Here is a copy of YPA’s new report, “Homage to the Fallen: The Top Ten Buildings We Wish We Had Back” Homage to the Fallen May 2010
Posted On: May 20, 2010
On May 20, 2010, YPA and Pennsylvania Works! released a new report that details the economic impact of historic preservation in southwestern Pennsylvania. The report, called “The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Southwestern Pennsylvania,” demonstrates the power of historic preservation to stimulate investment, generate taxes, create new housing units, and create jobs for Pennsylvanians that cannot be outsourced.
The report shows that in ten counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, over a five-year period, 2004 to 2009, historic preservation projects created:
> $475 million total investment,
> $65.6 million in taxes generated,
> 1,204 new housing units,
> 5.2 million square feet of space, and
> 3,042 permanent jobs.
The report measured the economic impact of historic preservation among YPA’s list of the Top Ten Best Preservation Opportunities, historic Main Street and Elm Street communities, and federal historic tax credit projects.
At a time when jobs are paramount, there’s no better way to stimulate the economy than through reinvesting in our core communities and historic structures.
Download a copy of the report here: Economic Impact in SW PA
YPA and Pennsylvania Works! call on the Pennsylvania legislature to pass a state law that provides incentives to owners of historic properties to preserve and reuse their old buildings. For the past ten years, the Pennsylvania legislature has been considering this legislation, but has failed to act. The time to act is now in order to put people back to work and invigorate the struggling economy.
The proposed legislation would provide direct grants to owners of historic properties to be used for building rehabilitation. It provides $15,000 for owners of residential properties, and up to $500,000 for owners of commercial properties. These funds not only fix up historic properties, but they employ local skilled labor that cannot be outsourced.
This economic impact report underscores the need for Pennsylvania to adopt this preservation incentive legislation to extend the economic benefits of preservation to all communities across the Commonwealth. Preservation puts people back to work, restores our core communities, and reinvigorates the tax base.
This new economic impact report is the definition of YPA’s slogan, “Give Life to History.”
YPA Press Release: YPAPressRelease 5-20-10
YPA CEO’s Remarks: YPA CEO Remarks 5-20-10
See images from the Press Conference here:
|YPA Press Conference, May 20, 2010|