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Pittsburgh updates online inventory of war memorials in time for Memorial Day

Bob Bauder
| Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 4:45 p.m.
Several statues at the Pittsburgh Vietnam War Monument on the North Shore depict soldiers returning to their families.
Sidney Davis | Tribune-Review
Several statues at the Pittsburgh Vietnam War Monument on the North Shore depict soldiers returning to their families.
Pittsburgh in 2016 restored a Civil War soldiers monument in the North Side's West park after it was damaged by a lightning strike. The monument can be found among the city's online inventory of public art that contains histories and locations of the monuments.
Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh in 2016 restored a Civil War soldiers monument in the North Side's West park after it was damaged by a lightning strike. The monument can be found among the city's online inventory of public art that contains histories and locations of the monuments.

Did you know that a Pittsburgh man is believed to be the first American killed in action during World War I?

Or that a North Side park features Spanish American War relics?

Or that an East End World War II veterans monument sat unfinished and covered up for more than a year until the city came up with money to have it finished?

Those bits of Pittsburgh military trivia and a lot more can be found online among the city's online inventory of war memorials and public monuments.

With Memorial Day coming Monday, Pittsburgh has updated its list with descriptions, photographs and a map showing the locations.

The Public Art and Civic Design Division of the Pittsburgh Planning Department plans additions to include public art and a podcast section where people can hear about the history of pieces contained in the city art collection. Monuments can be found in most of Pittsburgh's 90 neighborhoods.

A plaque commemorating Thomas F. Enright can be found at the base of a 4th Ward War Memorial in Oakland at Roberto Clemente and Schenley drives. The plaque lists Enright as the “first man killed in action.”

He was actually among three Pennsylvanians killed on Nov. 3, 1917, and believed to be the first American casualties of the war. Enright, 29, of Bloomfield had been stabbed 12 times when Germans overwhelmed his unit in a trench near Bathelemont, France.

Enright Parklet and Enright Court in East Liberty are also named in honor of the fallen soldier.

The North Side's West Park boasts a memorial to the battleship Maine, which sank in Cuba's Havana Harbor on Feb. 15, 1898, and touched off the Spanish American War. The memorial features a torpedo tube and an armored porthole recovered from the wreckage.

Well known sculptor Frank Vittor's 8th Ward monument to World War II veterans sat unfinished and covered in paper at Bloomfield's Morrow Park for more than a year before late Mayor David L. Lawrence raise $5,000 to have it finished in 1949.

The monument is dedicated to 5,000 veterans from the ward.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or online @bobbauder.

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