Walkabout: Allegheny Commons Park Restoration Digs Up Surprises
When work crews were digging the foundation for a new fountain in Allegheny Commons Park in the North Side last summer, they dug up what diggers the world over, from archaeologists to contractors, sometimes discover — relics.
The urn and pedestal of the original fountain that delighted Allegheny City from 1868 until the mid-20th century, had been buried under a circular flower bed that replaced it.
They were so discernible among the rubble that the workers laid them safely aside. The pedestal was broken in two parts and the shallow urn’s edges had been scalloped, but even in their altered states, those old pieces delighted 10 local residents who took a recent tour of the park with Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy folks to get updates on progress in the restoration.
The 2002 master plan for the park, Pittsburgh’s oldest, established in 1867, calls for a restoration that’s broken down into manageable phases. The fountain, at the northeast corner, and another westward chunk of the park are in the current phase three.
The fountain will be turned on at a dedication party sometime next spring, said Erin Tobin, community outreach coordinator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, which has led the project, its fundraising and management.