Share This Page

Soldier monument to be relocated from outside Westmoreland Museum of American Art

| Monday, March 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A soldier who has stood watch over Greensburg for more than a half century will soon receive orders to muster elsewhere.

But the 6-foot-tall soldier on the 25-foot perch outside the Westmoreland Museum of American Art will have to wait until at least March 19 to know more about his deployment.

Members of a committee looking to move the monument to assist the museum's expansion plans said they will be mum on the move until a meeting of Greensburg's Historic and Architectural Review Board.

The committee members, all volunteers, met on Thursday night and reviewed two estimates for moving the memorial.

“We're putting it on the HARB agenda, the statue,” said Barbara Ciampini, a committee member and Greensburg planning director.

“We're moving it from one location to another in the Gateway (a zoning district in the city), so that's how we decided to do it (during the meeting),” she said.

By that meeting, committee members hope to have unresolved issues settled, Ciampini said.

“We still have some things to iron out. That's when we decided to forge ahead,” she said.

Ciampini declined to discuss the issue more, including the estimates.

Telephone messages left for Lou DeRose, committee chairman, and Barbara Jones, a committee member and museum curator, were not returned on Friday.

Ciampini and Jones serve on the historic review board — an advisory group for city council — and DeRose serves as its solicitor.

Monument committee member James Sims said no decision has been made about the two estimates. He confirmed the March 19 meeting discussion.

“We're putting together a budget,” he said. “We still have to make a decision on a vendor.”

Sims declined to discuss the estimates but said he wants to get going with the project because the public's help with fundraising will be critical. Museum officials want to hold groundbreaking this summer, he added.

“We have to look at this as preservation,” he said.

Last fall, Ben Gage, a West Virginia sculptor and expert in moving fine art, examined the monument to determine moving costs. After receiving his estimate, committee members sought more prices.

Members have discussed the Westmoreland County Courthouse and St. Clair Park as two possible spots for the memorial.

The committee plans to use a nonprofit group to help collect donations to pay for the move and related costs.

Museum officials are proposing a 12,500-square-foot addition with a 60-foot cantilever on the North Maple Avenue side of the museum as part of the $18 million project.

A covered walkway will be added to the museum front, and a keystone-shaped window will be set into the brick wall on the North Main Street side of the structure.

Museum officials plan extensive landscaping to the front of the building.

The monument went up in 1925, flanked by four cannons, near the old Greensburg City Hall on North Main Street. Civil War and World War I veterans and others helped pay for the monument, which was dedicated on May 30, 1925, as the Westmoreland County Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument.

In 1949, City Hall moved to its current spot on South Main Street, and the museum took over the North Main Street property.

A decade later, workers moved the monument a few feet to its current site once a community fervor arose in opposition to plans to erect it in St. Clair Park, according to published reports.

The monument went up originally as a memorial to Union Civil War soldiers and sailors, but over time it has evolved into a remembrance of all American armed forces members.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

Related Content
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.