Historic Image Artwork to Welcome Motorists on Route 28 (Troy Hill retaining wall) in Pittsburgh Starts Today. Via PennDot News Release (Oct 1, 2014)
PennDOT District 11 announced today that the installation of public artwork along Route 28 is underway in the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County.
The artwork, which is part of the Route 28 East Ohio Street Project, depicts historical imagery of a diverse and culturally significant area of Pittsburgh.
“This project is in an area where much history came before it,” said District Executive H. Daniel Cessna, P.E. “It is very exciting, through artwork, to present some of that history for future generations.”
Six panels approximately, 14 feet high and 30 to 60 feet wide will be featured along approximately 1,000 feet of wall between the former rectory site of the St. Nicholas Church and the pedestrian structure over Route 28. The panels will help tell the rich historical story of Troy Hill and the East Ohio Street corridor. Panels include:
•Silhouette of Troy Hill with Canal Boat in Tow – Constructed in the 1820’s the Pennsylvania Canal was part of a coordinated transportation system between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and helped foster the iron industry in the region
•St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church, North Side – The first Croatian national parish was established in 1894 and the church was built in 1901.
•Josip Marohnić Bookstore – As a leader in the Croatian community, it is believed that Josip Marohnić’s Croatian bookstore may have been the first of its kind in the United States.
•Thomas Carlin’s Foundry – Operations at the foundry began in 1860 and continued through 1916. Several manhole covers and sewer inlets the foundry produced are still being used today in Pittsburgh.
•Allegheny Institute and Mission Church – Avery College – Charles Avery founded the institute, also known as Avery College, in 1849 as an educational facility for African Americans. Additionally, it is thought to be a stop on the Underground Railroad.
• Pittsburgh, Allegheny and Manchester Traction Company – The streetcar company ran the East Ohio Street corridor from the 1890’s through 1920.
The artwork is being made through a sandblasting process that uses layered stencils to create the images. Painting and staining of the concrete will create the final finish.
Through the assistance of the Office of Public Art, artist Laurie Lundquist was commissioned by the Department of Transportation for the Route 28 artwork. PennDOT, with Michael Baker International, sought input from community stakeholders and interested parties, including Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation, Preservation Pittsburgh and the Troy Hill Citizens, Inc., to help detail and preserve the area’s cultural legacy.
“The large scale images that you will see sandblasted into the Troy Hill retaining wall are all composited from historic photographs rooted to the corridor,” said Lundquist. “We sifted through hundreds of photographs from various Pittsburgh archives and collaged them together to create these scenes that will help keep the stories alive and connect us to the history of this very place.”
Additional work includes a wider walkway adjacent to Route 28. Pedestrians can gain access to the walkway from the Riverfront Trail via the 31st Street Bridge and from a paved parking area on Troy Hill Road. Also included in the project is an octagonal area inspired by the domes that topped the St. Nicholas Church and large stones from the Pennsylvania Canal that will serve as seating areas.
More information on the artwork and renderings and can be found on the Pittsburgh Art Places website at www.pittsburghartplaces.org/accounts/view/916.
The artwork, costing $143,000, is part of the $15.4 million Route 28 Phase V improvement project. The prime contractor is Carmen Paliotta Contracting, Inc. of South Park, PA. Superior Painting Company, Inc. of Pittsburgh, PA is conducting the sandblasting work. The overall Route 28 project will conclude in late November of 2014.