PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald today announced that re-dedication ceremonies for the Sixteenth Street Bridge, which has been renamed the David McCullough Bridge, will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2013 on the occasion of Mr. McCullough’s 80th birthday. The event will be held on the bridge at 16th Street and Penn Avenue, in the Strip District, and is open to the public.
“Allegheny County residents are truly proud of David McCullough’s accomplishments and of the fact that he is a native son,” said County Executive Fitzgerald. “He has been a true friend and advocate of the engineering profession through his writings, making the engineering feats he writes about informative as well as inspiring. This is just one small way to recognize his achievements and contributions and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to formally make that designation on July 7.”
Mr. McCullough will be on hand for the re-dedication and will join Allegheny County officials, friends, family and fans in the unveiling of the plaque formally designating the bridge as the David McCullough Bridge. The celebration, however, does not end there as the Senator John Heinz Heinz History Center, which Mr. McCullough has supported for more than two decades, will be following the ceremony with a birthday celebration that is free and open to the public, and a ticketed talk by Mr. McCullough on “Bridging the Past and Present.”
“It is altogether fitting that Pittsburgh native, Western Pennsylvania’s best ambassador, and America’s favorite historian should have a bridge named for him,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center. “As a founder and longtime supporter of the History Center, David McCullough has championed our mission to preserve and interpret American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection for the past 20 years. He, more than anyone, understands the amazing influence our region has had on the world.”
This past December, Allegheny County Council approved legislation formally changing the name of the Sixteenth Street Bridge to the David McCullough Bridge. Recommended by a four-member bridge naming rights committee, Ordinance 35-12 noted that Mr. McCullough’s career is a tremendous credit to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, and that Mr. McCullough is thoroughly deserving of the establishment of a permanent reminder of his achievements.
Built in 1923, the Sixteenth Street Bridge was designed by New York architects Warren and Wetmore and engineer H.G. Balcom. At a cost of $1.25 million, the bridge includes bronze winged seahorses and armillary spheres by New York sculptor Leo Lentilli which were shipped from Michaels Art Bronze Company of Kentucky. Just below the sculptures, a frieze of six fish is carved in a band approximately four feet high encircling the top of each pylon. The pylons rise approximately 62 feet above the bridge deck. The pedestrian walkway passes through an arched opening in each pylon. Above the arched passage are stone carvings of a bearded man (Poseidon/Neptune) and a woman (wife/consort).
Participating in the day’s festivities will also be numerous guests of the McCullough family who are making the trip to Pittsburgh. A River City Brass Quintet and percussionist will provide music prior to and immediately after the on-bridge ceremony. Additionally, representatives from Shady Side Academy will also be on hand to witness the re-dedication. Mr. McCullough is a Class of ’51 graduate of Shady Side Academy.
“The Shady Side Academy community celebrates Allegheny County’s decision and this Pittsburgh tribute to one our most cherished and respected alumni,” said President Tom Cangiano. “We are thrilled to have been invited to take part in this historic designation.”
The schedule for the day’s celebrations include:
Re-Dedication of the 16th Street Bridge as the David McCullough Bridge
On the bridge, 16th Street and Penn Avenue in the Strip District
Free and Open to the Public
Music performed by River City Brass
Limited Seating Available – Standing Room Only
David McCullough Birthday Celebration
Heinz History Center – First Floor Great Hall
Free and Open to the Public – Includes free admission to all exhibitions
Music performed by Shady Side Academy Jazz Combo
Birthday cake and cupcakes provided by Vanilla Pastry Studio
David McCullough’s Reflections – “Bridging the Past and Present”
Heinz History Center – Fifth Floor Mueller Education Center
Tickets $20 for General Admission/$10 for History Center Members
Available only through Showclix by phone 1-888-71-TICKETS or online
The ticketed event is expected to sell out, so visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. For questions about the talk, please contact the History Center at 412-454-6000.
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The Senator John Heinz History Center,an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania, presents American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a museum within a museum, comprehensively presenting the region’s remarkable sports story through hundreds of artifacts and interactive experiences for visitors of all ages. The History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District, and are open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The History Center’s museum system includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in historic Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter & Historic Village, a NationalHistoric Landmark located in Avella, Pa. in Washington County. More information is available at www.heinzhistorycenter.org.
River City Brass has a mission to propagate and perpetuate musical culture, primarily American musical culture, across a broad spectrum of the public through the presentation of brass band performances, educational programs and the production of recordings. Each year, as many as 100,000 people thrill to the sound of River City Brass, often called “Boston Pops…in Brass.” The 28-piece ensemble tours extensively throughout the United States, however, the River City Brass has its central obligation service to the people of Western Pennsylvania. The River City Brass can be contacted at BNY Mellon Center, 500 Grant Street, Suite 272, Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2502, and by phone at 412-434-7222 or 800-292-7222. More information is available at www.rivercitybrass.org