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'August Wilson: His House History and Yours' Program Set for Sept. 29

Learn about the efforts to revitalize the childhood home of playwright August Wilson in Pittsburgh's Hill District and how to apply the same house history techniques to researching your own home.

A special program, “August Wilson: His House History and Yours,” will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

The event will provide an update on the project to turn the August Wilson House into the home of the Daisy Wilson Artist Community. Named for Wilson’s mother, DWAC is a nonprofit formed in 2010 to interpret the literary and social legacy of August Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright best known for his series of ten plays, “The Pittsburgh Cycle,” each of which depicts a decade of the African-American experience.

All activities are free and open to the public. No registration required. Rain or shine.

The activities are:

  • 10-11 a.m.: History of the August Wilson House at the August Wilson childhood home, 1727 Bedford Ave. in the Hill District. Learn about the history of this significant community resource, exciting plans envisioned for its future and the almost-completed process to nominate the building to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Then take a peek inside the home that inspired one of the nation’s foremost playwrights. Speakers are Attorney Paul A. Ellis, Wilson's nephew, of DWAC; Kevin Acklin, DWAC and executive director of RenewPittsburgh; Jeff Slack, preservation planner at Pfaffmann + Associates, author of the National Register nomination and an instructor for the University of Pittsburgh's Architectural Studies Program.

  • 11-11:30 a.m.:  Make your way to the Hill District Carnegie Library. Walk, bike or drive the 6/10 of a mile. Copies of a self-guided tour of Wilson-related historic sites along the route will be provided.
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Top Ten Resources for Researching Your Heritage, Hill District Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 2177 Centre Ave. Learn about the resources used to uncover the history of the August Wilson House (built in 1841). Preservationists and historians will be on hand to answer questions about how these tools can unlock the history of your house.

In addition to Slack, speakers are Laura Schwartz, Preservation Pittsburgh, historic preservation consultant at Church Restoration Group LLC; and Colleen Gribbin, Preservation Pittsburgh, house history and genealogy consultant. Special guest speaker is Larry Glasco, a Hill District scholar and professor of history, University of Pittsburgh, who will discuss recent research into “The Wilson's Neighbors, The Wilson's Neighborhood.”

  • 12:30-1 p.m.: Reception and refreshments, courtesy of RenewPittsburgh, and an informal question-and-answer period.

This project is supported jointly by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and Preservation Pittsburgh, The Daisy Wilson Artist Community Inc., Pfaffmann + Associates and RenewPittsburgh.

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