On the corner of Federal Street and North Commons in Allegheny Commons Park sits a modest testament to Annie Hartzell, a woman who was part of the effort to form the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, now known as Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh.
“For Man, Beast & Bird” is one of only a few monuments in the city to honor a woman, according to the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.
The Barre granite monument was erected in 1909 on the North Side to honor the memory of Hartzell, who bequeathed $18,000 to construct the fountain.
The Hartzell Memorial was once functional, a source of water for — yes, “for man, beast and bird” — with a trough for horses on one side, a drinking fountain for people on the other side, a bird bath, and a few small basins at the base for dogs and squirrels.
But time has not been kind to the memorial and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy says a restoration project has begun to revitalize it.
Brandon Riley, capital projects manager for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, says the Hartzell Memorial has jumped around the city over its lifetime.
The memorial was moved from its original location on Federal Street in 1973 to a corner of Market Square and incorporated into a large circular park. When Market Square was renovated in 1990, the memorial was moved about 300 feet from its original location to the corner of Federal Street, where it sits today.
The restoration project entails cleaning the monument, replacing missing pieces and moving it back to its original location. The restoration is being done by Eisler Landscapes of Prospect and Sewickley-based LINEAGE Historic Preservation Services.
Teresa Duff, chief conservator and director at LINEAGE, says each conservation project warrants a case-by-case approach.
“Considering the principles of historic preservation — save and stabilize as much original material and design as possible — along with the supporting historical information will inform the treatment of these places or features and the balance which must be struck,” Duff says.
Among the missing elements that will be restored are the “X” features on the top pediment and the lion’s head fountain.
Duff says one issue that has to be overcome is that the Barre granite quarried from Vermont in 1909 has a different color composition than the same granite quarried in 2022.
“When conserving a historic feature there is always a balance between determining the appropriate treatment to be conducted, the integrity of the materials and the supporting historical information,” Duff says.
“Is it more important to use Barre granite, or, find a granite or material which matches the historic granite? In this case, we are considering how small the monument is and that the missing elements are located at eye level, and whether it is best to match the existing granite rather than use Barre simply because it is from the same quarry.”
The restoration will not include returning the memorial to a working fountain.
“Since 1910, there have been a lot of changes in code,” Riley says. “It’s not as simple as hooking a water line up to it … there’s a lot of other mechanical components that we would have to install, so it’s kind of cost-prohibitive. (We want to) restore the structural integrity of the fountain.”
The project is part of the Allegheny Commons Park Master Plan, a collaborative effort between the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Commons Initiative, Northside Leadership Conference and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission provided a grant to help fund the project, which will cost about $77,000.
Riley says the 2002 Allegheny Commons Park Master Plan aimed to restore the park back to its historic integrity. In 2018, the Parks Conservancy created an action plan to implement the master plan based on community input.
“The goal is to complete the circuit (and to) restore the promenade that runs around the Commons (and) restoring the pathways to it,” Riley says. That includes installing new functional lighting that respects the history of the park but also complies with the city’s dark sky ordinance.
The Hartzell Memorial project is estimated to be completed in September.
“Allegheny Commons is the oldest park in the city, and one of the oldest in the state,” Riley says. “It’s a very historic place. Our goal is to restore (the park), respecting the history but making it usable and beautiful again.”