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Reader squares accounts of Allegheny plaza

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .

Reader Glenn Walsh writes to correct Walkabout regarding the timeline of Allegheny Square Plaza’s decrepitude. It did not begin slipping into disrepair as long ago as the ‘80s, he said.

Buhlbldg1950sAs an advocate for the original Buhl Planetarium, where he worked during the 1980s and until the building closed as a public museum in 1991, Glenn says the sunken plaza was “well used during this time period” and the fountain still worked during the spring and summer, particularly during the busy school field trip months in the spring, when students ate lunch in the plaza during their field trips to Buhl Planetarium. In May of each year, the International Children’s Festival used the Plaza’s amphitheater."

See Glenn’s history web site for photos of the plaza, including the fountain in full spray, one of which is shown here, taken in the 1980s.  The photo above from the 1950s shows the former library branch on the right and the domed Buhl when the street grid still existed -- before urban removal. I really like that red bus.
buhl_fountain
Glenn said the plaza’s demise was systematically caused by the Carnegie Science Center’s move from the planetarium in 1994, the move of the Pittsburgh Public Theater from Carnegie Hall, the city’s abnegation of the plaza’s conditions and, the final blow, the vacancy of the old Allegheny branch of the Carnegie Library branch several years ago.

View more on Glenn’s project, Friends of the Zeiss.

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