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Time capsule salutes 250 years for Fort Pitt Block House

| Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, 10:20 p.m.
Larry Boyer and his wife Pam of Penn Hills, looks over the items that will be stored in the Fort Pitt Block House time capsule at the Heinz History Center Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014.  Larry is the Commander of the Duquesne Commandery #72.  The center was celerating the 250th anniversary of the Block House.
Heidi Murrin | Trib Total Media
Larry Boyer and his wife Pam of Penn Hills, looks over the items that will be stored in the Fort Pitt Block House time capsule at the Heinz History Center Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. Larry is the Commander of the Duquesne Commandery #72. The center was celerating the 250th anniversary of the Block House.

Elizabeth Wheatley doesn't need to tell her grandchildren about the work that went into celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Fort Pitt Block House in Point State Park.

The photos, documents and memorabilia that were placed in a time capsule Sunday at the Senator John Heinz History Center can do it for her.

“We're hoping that our descendants open up that time capsule and see the work we did to preserve the Block House for their future,” said Wheatley, board president of the Fort Pitt Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Wheatley of North Fayette was among more than 75 people to help dedicate the time capsule, which is to be opened in 2064 on the 300th anniversary of the city's oldest building.

The time capsule “commemorates the spirit of the honor and rite and history that lives in the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Block House,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the history center.

It includes several photographs and programs from events held to celebrate the Block House's anniversary, including the April dedication of the Edith Ammon Memorial Garden and the Block House 250 gala celebration in September. The time capsule, which will be kept at the history center in the Strip District, includes a book published in November 2013 by former curator Emily Weaver.

“It's a little building with a big past,” said Joanne Ostergaard, coordinator of the anniversary celebration.

The British built the Block House in 1764 as an additional defensive station for Fort Pitt, according to James Halttunen, curator of the Block House museum.

After the Army decommissioned the fort in 1792, the Block House operated as a residence until 1894, when members of the DAR petitioned Mary Schenley to turn it over to them. The Block House became a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

Halttunen said nearly 50,000 people visited the Block House in 2014, the most visitors in its history.

“We had a lot of events this year, which meant a lot of people,” he said. “It was really great.”

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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