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Steelers finance $1M project to resurrect century-old sculpture

Jason Cato
| Monday, June 27, 2016, 11:45 p.m.
An ornate iron sculpture featuring frontiersman Christopher Gist and Seneca leader Guyasuta that used to adorn the south end of the former Manchester Bridge is installed on the North Shore on Monday, June 27, 2016, after being in storage for more than a decade. The Stadium Authority OK'd the Steelers' plans to install the 13-by-37-foot sculpture near Stage AE, at North Shore Drive and Art Rooney Avenue.
James Knox | Tribune-Review
An ornate iron sculpture featuring frontiersman Christopher Gist and Seneca leader Guyasuta that used to adorn the south end of the former Manchester Bridge is installed on the North Shore on Monday, June 27, 2016, after being in storage for more than a decade. The Stadium Authority OK'd the Steelers' plans to install the 13-by-37-foot sculpture near Stage AE, at North Shore Drive and Art Rooney Avenue.

A long-missing visage of a bygone bridge is back on display on Pittsburgh's North Shore — and very near its original spot.

Construction workers on Monday added pieces of an ornate bronze sculpture that adorned the south end of the Manchester Bridge on a new base and plaza at North Shore Drive and Art Rooney Avenue, near Stage AE. The Steelers organization is paying about $1 million for the work, which began this spring.

A formal unveiling is planned for July 7, said Arthur Ziegler Jr., president of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. The preservation group took possession of artwork adorning the bridge, built in 1915 for $1 million, when it was razed in 1970.

The Steelers declined to comment.

“We're going to have the greatest sculpture that I know of from a bridge in Pittsburgh down near the site where it was,” Ziegler said.

The 13-by-37 sculpture features statues of frontiersman Christopher Gist and Seneca leader Guyasuta kneeling on either side of the city's coat of arms. The three iron pieces are affixed to a background of rusted Cor-ten steel attached to a stone base.

After Ziegler's group rescued the pieces, they were part of a garden display outside the foundation's former headquarters at the North Side's old Allegheny Post Office in 1973. The foundation later gave the building to the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, which removed the garden in the 2000s to make way for a parking lot, Ziegler said.

The sculpture has been stored at Heinz Field.

Another sculpture of a coal miner and a millworker salvaged from the north portal of the Manchester Bridge remains in storage.

Plans are being discussed to add them to a public display, but Ziegler declined to provide details.

“We're working it out,” he said.

Smaller sculptures and architectural details from the Manchester Bridge were incorporated into the foundation's Resource Center in Wilkinsburg. A plaque detailing the history of the bridge also is on the Rebecca Street site.

Jason Cato is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7936 or jcato@tribweb.com.

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