The major renewal of the Westinghouse Memorial started in 2011 in Schenley Park is now complete!
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy partnered with the City of Pittsburgh in 2009 to renew this remarkable space with the financial help and support from members of the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix's Cortile Italian Car Show participants. The fully restored Westinghouse Memorial includes a reestablished lily pond; renewed memorial sculpture; native plant landscape; new nighttime lighting; and stormwater management and we will be celebrating on the newly completed restoration this July 15- 16!
About the Westinghouse Memorial
Located near the entrance to the Steve Faloon Trail, this memorial to George Westinghouse has been a distinctive feature of Schenley Park since its dedication in 1930. Originally financed by small donations from over 55,000 Westinghouse employees, it encompasses history, art, and natural beauty.
The memorial was originally financed from $200,000 in donations made by approximately 55,000 workers of Westinghouse companies in electricity. It was dedicated on 6 October 1930. There opening ceremony was attended by over 10,000 people, including U.S. Representative James F. Burke and Pittsburgh mayor Charles H. Kline, and a celebratory dinner was held the night before at the William Penn Hotel. The memorial was on the original site of the Pittsburgh Zoo.
The Westinghouse Foundation paid for the memorial's restoration in 1986 in honor of the centennial of Westinghouse Electric.
About Schenley Park
Schenley Park began as "Mt. Airy Tract," which was property willed to Mary Elizabeth Croghan by her maternal grandfather, General James O'Hara. In 1842, 15-year-old Mary created an international scandal by leaving her Staten Island boarding school and eloping to England with the 43-year-old Captain Edward Schenley (Pronounced "Sheen lee"). Distraught by the news, Mary's father initiated a lengthy legal battle over her inheritance, successfully winning the title to all her property. Mary and her father eventually reconciled, and she received her inheritance upon his death in 1850.
Edward Bigelow, Pittsburgh’s Director of Public Works, envisioned a grand park system for Pittsburgh, and no piece of land was more desirable than Mt. Airy Tract. When Bigelow learned in 1889 that a real estate developer's agent planned to travel to London to convince Mary Schenley to sell them her land, he sent an East Liberty lawyer who hopped a train for New York and then boarded a steamer for England - beating the real estate agent by two days.
The appeal to Mary paid off, and in 1889 she gave the city 300 acres of Mt. Airy Tract with an option to purchase 120 more, provided the park be named after her and never sold. The city bought the extra acres in 1891, and later purchased some adjoining land to complete the park.
While two of the three bridges remain, many of the attractions to which they provided access in the 1890s have disappeared. Among them: a 120-foot circular electric fountain on Flagstaff Hill that offered nighttime light shows; the marvelous Schenley Casino (on the site of the present-day Frick Fine Arts Building), which featured Pittsburgh's premier indoor ice skating rink but was destroyed by fire after only a year; and a band shell designed by architects Rutan and Russell on the site of the present-day Anderson Playground.
1907-1909 saw the development of park features that are still present today: the Schenley Oval and racetrack, the tufa bridges in Panther Hollow, and Panther Hollow Lake, which was created from an existing small body of water.
The park also underwent large-scale planting in its early years. Bigelow's reports indicate that the land was mostly barren when the City acquired it, and he pursued the highest standards of horticulture in hiring William Falconer, who was trained at London's Kew Gardens, to take charge of Phipps Conservatory and of the park's landscape. Falconer's tenure lasted from 1896 to 1903.
Schenley Park underwent a second period of growth in the 1930s and 1940s during Ralph Griswold's tenure as the Director of Public Works. Griswold designed several gardens around Phipps Conservatory, but the park's biggest change was the construction of the Anderson Bridge, which brought the Boulevard of the Allies through the park and linked Squirrel Hill to Downtown. Since then, there have been few major changes to the park as a whole, as certain amenities (like the Panther Hollow Boathouse) have disappeared while others (the ice skating rink) were introduced.
Click here to read an article by Parks Curator Susan Rademacher about the fascinating life and legacy of Mary Schenley.
This is a compilation of articles from a variety of sources and contributors. Attrition and sources are always provided at the top and/or the bottom of the posting.