Pittsburgh to reconstruct historic fountains
Pittsburgh will add at least two replicas of bronze drinking fountains that once graced its parks in abundance.
City Public Arts Manager Morton Brown said on Wednesday a charitable foundation gave Pittsburgh $50,000 for the fountains, which, like their predecessors, will feature a dolphin motif. Pittsburgh resident Frank Vittor, who was an internationally known sculptor, produced about 30 from a mold he cast in 1935.
"It's our intent not to change the artist's original intent at all," Brown said after briefing City Council. "There are conservators out there who are experts in maintaining the style and historical integrity of the piece."
Brown said most of the original fountains were lost to weather, age or theft. Five still function: two in Schenley Park and one each in East, Mellon and Highland parks, he said.
Vittor, who died in 1968, was born in Italy and immigrated to the United States in 1906. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1917 and became one of the city's most prolific sculptors, creating notable works such as the Honus Wagner statue outside PNC Park and the Columbus statue in Schenley Park. He sculpted busts of Mark Twain, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson.
The city intends to hire a company to make the fountains, which would be cast using a mold created from one of the originals after Vittor's death. The fountains will be accessible to people with disabilities and take about two years to create and install. Brown said he is unsure where they will go.
The surviving originals sit on a stone base and consist of a square shaft with images of dolphins on two sides and a fountain and bowl on top. People in wheelchairs can't access them because the shafts are too high. Brown said the city intends to have a second bowl attached lower on the shafts of the new fountains.
Elizabeth J. Tata, president of the Laurel Foundation, Downtown, said the foundation wanted to help Pittsburgh preserve its public art and Brown showed her the fountains one day during a tour.
"We just thought it would be a good idea to bring something old back into the city," Tata said. "They're just very, very pretty (fountains)."
The money will pay for at least two fountains, Brown said.
Joanna Doven, spokeswoman for Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, said the project fits the mayor's PreservePGH plan to protect historical and cultural assets.
"They're not only a fountain, they're a piece of art," she said.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Memories of mice with ‘amnesia’ restored by light
- Pittsburgh’s HealthyRide system begins launch Sunday
- Point Park graduate’s ‘mugshot’ photos hit nerve on racism
- Former city police chief released from federal prison
- Medical examiner: Dormont man found near incline died of multiple injuries
- Inmate assaults Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputy at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
- Newsmaker: Ursula Payne
- Bethel Park teacher’s profane tweet raises eyebrows
- State lawmaker proposes changes to Penn State’s board of trustees
- Penn Hills votes to sell, lease vacant school space
- U.S. Marshals task force arrests homicide suspect in Monroeville