Tag: War Memorials

  • Fifth Ward World War I Memorial, Upper Hill

    Eagle by Frank Vittor

    An unmistakable Frank Vittor eagle; compare it to the eagle on the West End World War I memorial and the one on the portal to the Boulevard of the Allies. City records confirm that Frank Vittor was the sculptor.

    Fifth Ward War Memorial

    The memorial stands in Robert E. Williams Memorial Park, originally Herron Hill Park, which was laid out in 1889. It is a very pleasant green space in a pleasant residential section of the Upper Hill.

    Because war memorials sometimes become illegible for various reasons, and because a historian friend has been trying to reconstruct the names on another World War I memorial and finding the task difficult, old Pa Pitt has decided to record all the names on this memorial. If you enlarge the pictures, you should be able to read every name clearly.


    The emblem of the Corps of Engineers, which in an earlier version of the article Father Pitt had mistaken for the arms of Pittsburgh. Thanks to our commenter below for the correction.

    A map showing the location of the memorial.

  • Seventeenth Ward World War I Memorial, South Side


    This little memorial sits at the corner of Carson and Tenth Streets, the intersection that is more or less the gateway to the South Side proper. Most people pass by without noticing it, so old Pa Pitt decided to document it in detail.

    Frank Aretz, best known for his ecclesiastical art, did the small Art Deco relief, according to a plaque installed by the city on this memorial. The architect was Stanley Roush, the king of public works in Pittsburgh in the 1920s and 1930s. Donatelli Granite, still in the memorial business, did the stonework.

    Seventeenth Ward War Memorial

    The left and right steles bear the names of battlefields where Americans fought.


    Many war memorials display the names of those who served, but this one sealed the names in stone for future generations to discover.

    Face of the relief

    The relief has been eroding and perhaps vandalized, but the streamlined Art Deco style is still distinctive.

    Bust of the relief
    Seventeenth Ward War Memorial
  • St. Josaphat’s War Memorial, South Side Slopes

    A memorial to the large number from St. Josaphat’s who served in both World Wars. It stands across the narrow street from the church, set into the hillside, with a statue of Christ displaying his Sacred Heart and welcoming us to stop and read the names. As you can guess from the names if you enlarge the picture, St. Josaphat’s was a Polish congregation.

    Statue of Christ
    Art Deco eagle
  • World War I Memorial, West End Park

    War memorial

    West End Park is far off the beaten track, and few people outside its own neighborhood (which is technically Elliott, though it belongs at least as much to the West End) ever visit, or even know it exists. But it has one of our best war memorials by one of our best sculptors and one of our best architects.

    The sculptor was Frank Vittor, who was already developing the streamlined style that would make him one of Pittsburgh’s two favorite sculptors (the other being Giuseppe Moretti). The architect was William Perry, whose most famous work is St. Bernard’s in Mount Lebanon, a church more magnificent than many cathedrals. Their collaboration produced a striking monument, simple but rich. Unfortunately some restoration has left it with two radically different colors of stone and concrete, which is not how it was meant to look, as we see in this picture from twenty-two years ago:

    Memorial in 2000

    That picture shows us that the memorial has also lost some sort of bronze ornament on the bottom half of the shaft: we can see the shadow of what seems to have been a shield with double-headed axe set in a bronze band. (Addendum: The book Discovering Pittsburgh’s Sculpture, by Vernon Gay and Marilyn Evert, shows the ornament in place, with a bronze band all the way around the base. That book was published in 1983.)

    Cherubim and shields
  • War Memorial Park in Beechview

    The little triangular park at Broadway, Shiras Avenue, and Bensonia Avenue is cluttered with monuments. There’s one for the First World War, one for the Second, one for Vietnam and Korea, and one for wars since then and “going forward,” as the city’s Twitter account put it when it was announced. The eagle above sits on the World War II memorial, the largest of the lot.

    The latest memorial, for everything after Vietnam.

    The World War I memorial.

    The World War II memorial.

  • World War II Memorial at St. Basil’s

    A modestly late-Art-Deco memorial to St. Basil’s parishioners who served in World War II. It remembers their service in the war, but its message is “PAX.”

  • Allegheny County Civil War Memorial, West Park

    Seen across Lake Elizabeth. This monument was “Erected to the memory of the 4,000 brave men of Allegheny County who fell in the great struggle to preserve the integrity of our Union.” Even today, four thousand men would be a huge number from this one county, and Allegheny County did not have more than a million people in it back in the 1860s.

    Near the memorial was a bridge over the railroad, now gone, with the approaches blocked by chain-link fence. Some enterprising romantic discovered that the fence makes a fine billboard for a message spelled out in padlocks.

  • “Sacrifice,” by Allen George Newman, in Brighton Heights

    A splendid allegorical World War I memorial. Our all-American hero casts off the robes of comfort and offers his sword to whoever needs defending (in Pittsburgh, old Pa Pitt supposes, it is more proper to say “whoever needs defended”). Allen George Newman had a considerable reputation in his day, and this memorial must have cost the neighborhood a good bit of money. Note that the dates of the war are given as 1917-1919; although we commonly take the Armistice in 1918 as the end of the war, it was not technically over until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.

    The pictures in this article have been donated to Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, so no permission is needed to use them for any purpose whatsoever.