Share This Page

149 sites placed in new Moon Township Historic Preservation Plan

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School students attend Mass on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in the chapel at chapel at the Felician Sisters Convent in Moon.

Moon has a historically rich legacy about which many people are unaware. Now the township has an official plan to help preserve that legacy.

In the early 20th century, the township became a respite for wealthy industrialists fleeing smog-filled Pittsburgh. They built architecturally significant summer homes and mansions in the rural area.

“Here in Moon, a lot of them built on Coraopolis Heights Road, and there are several other homes spread out throughout the township,” said Carl Griffith, chairman of the Moon Township Historic Architectural Review Board.

Some of the homes are listed in the new Moon Township Historic Preservation Plan, which includes 149 commercial buildings, places of worship, parks, early oil drilling locations and other historic resources.

Some sites could be eligible for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, a designation that could qualify the owners for special tax credits for major rehabilitation work.

All of the resources in Moon's preservation plan were built by 1965, according to Tracy Zinn, a principal in the Murrysville office of T&B Planning Consultants Inc., a Tustin, Calif.-based company that was one of two firms Moon hired to develop the plan.

Places listed in the plan include the Felician Sisters Convent and chapel and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, which were built in the early 1930s and share a complex on Woodcrest Avenue; the former Boggs School House, circa 1898, the last one-room schoolhouse in Moon; Robert Morris University's Rudolph Family Gardens, once part of the former Pine Hill Manor, which dates to about 1908, and several campus dorms designed by architect Tasso Katselas in the 1960s.

“The garden is beautiful. I mean when it's in bloom, it's an extraordinary place on campus. … I think it's a community resource,” said Robert Morris spokesman Jonathan Potts.

Even if the properties in the plan don't qualify for historic designation, it is beneficial for Moon to know what its resources are for decision-making purposes, such as awarding demolition permits and placing signs to indicate historic resources, Zinn said.

“The main goals in the development of the preservation plan were to increase public awareness of Moon's history and historic resources, promote preservation, give recognition to Moon's history and historic resources and to build upon the rich diversity of architecture that distinguishes Moon from other communities,” said Lora Dombrowski, Moon's code administrator.

The preservation plan was developed using a $10,000 Keystone Historic Preservation Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and matching funds from Moon.

T&B and an architectural historian from Harrisburg-based Skelly and Loy Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm with an office in Harmar, worked on the plan in 2013. The township's board of supervisors approved it on March 5.

Zinn was to present the plan to the public during the board of supervisors' meeting on Wednesday.

In Moon, there is only one historic district, Mooncrest, which was listed on the National Register in 2013. In 1943, the federal government built Mooncrest as a planned community to house workers building naval vessels during World War II on nearby Neville Island.

The township's historic plan recommends that Moon take 20 actions to preserve its resources, such as encouraging owners of income-producing properties that could be eligible for listing on the National Register to submit applications for listing. The plan adds a conservation overlay district to the Moon zoning ordinance to protect the character of certain residential neighborhoods.

Volunteers will be needed to help with tasks in the plan, Griffith said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.