Two decades ago, Preservation Pennsylvania established an annual "Pennsylvania At Risk" list—and was the first statewide preservation organization in the United States to have an annual roster of endangered historic properties.
Since 1992, the group has listed and worked to preserve more than 200 endangered historic resources, including individual buildings, historic districts and thematic resources statewide, including three within the Woodland Hills School District borders.
To celebrate the organization's 30th anniversary, the group's newsletter, "Preserving Pennsylvania," presented a 20-year retrospective edition of Pennsylvania At Risk. (Click on attached PDF.)
The Carrie Furnace site in Swissvale and Rankin is the first of the historic buildings/areas featured in the newsletter. Noted now as "preservation in progress," the brownfield and its two remaining blast furnaces were listed as an "at risk" historical site in 1992.
Allegheny County acquired the Carrie Furnace property in 2005 and the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006. According to Preservation Pennsylvania, the property is undergoing a program of selective demolition
and restoration to make the site safe and suitable for public visitation.
The Carrie Furnaces site will be one of the focal points of the proposed Homestead Works National Park. Multi-use light commercial, office and residential development will occur around the historic landmark. In the meantime, Rivers of Steel is offers tours of the Carrie Furnaces property from April through October.
Although it didn't make the newsletter listing, the former Turtle Creek High School, now Woodland Hills Academy, was "at risk" in 2005. A group of citizens rallied and had the school placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now listed as having a "positive outcome."
The Westinghouse Atom Smasher in Forest Hills has remained on the list as "at risk" since 2004. The property recently changed hands and the fate of the atom smasher remains up in the air.
Do you know any other landmarks in the Patch area that are worthy of historic preservation? Share them with us!