All evening programs are open to the public and held at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Avenue, and begin at 7:30 pm.
If you have any suggestions or ideas for future speakers or topics to put on our agenda, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JULY 10, 2018 (Tuesday)
“A History of Freemasonry”
Speaker: Austin Shifrin, Member of the Freemasons
Using his own experience as a starting point, Austin Shifrin will give a wide ranging overview of Freemasonry – its structure and history in the US and Abroad…from its promotion around the globe, to opposition that originated right in your backyard.
The presentation will give you a glimpse into the many facets of an organization which has inspired much speculation in the general public, by virtue of its mystique and some very well-known members.
If you have ever been curious about this “society with secrets”, you won’t want to miss this presentation.
“Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons, which from the end of the fourteenth century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. The degrees of freemasonry retain the three grades of medieval craft guilds, those of Apprentice, Journeyman or fellow (now called Fellowcraft), and Master Mason.” From Wikipedia:
About the Speaker:
Austin Shifrin is a Pennsylvania Freemason affiliated with several bodies, and with leadership experience in a few of them. He joined Tyrian Lodge #644 in 2006, where he presided in 2013; he also joined the Scottish Rite Valley of Pittsburgh in 2006, where he presided over the Princes of Jerusalem in 2014, joined the Shriners in November of 2014, joined East Hills Royal Arch Chapter #268 (York Rite) in 2016, and became a founding, or warrant, member of Odyssey Council #550 Allied Masonic Degrees in 2017. Austin has been a frequent contributor to the Scottish Rite Magazine and presenter in his home lodge.
AUGUST 16, 2018 (Thursday)
Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
Speakers: Ray Baum, Wayne Gerhold, Steve Hawkins, and Erik Wagner
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018 (Tuesday)
“How Geology Influenced the Landscape Paintings of Pittsburgh Artist John Kane”
Speaker: Albert Kollar, Geologist, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
John Kane and his family emigrated from Scotland in the late 19th century and settled in Port Perry near the present day United States Steel Edgar Thomson Works. Most of the landscapes were drawn from his experiences living near the George Westinghouse Bridge (Turtle Creek Valley No. 1, circa 1930), Frick Park (Nine Mile Run seen from Calvary, circa 1928), and Schenley Park (Panther Hollow, Pittsburgh, circa 1933-1934). Mr. Kollar will discuss his 2010 publication “Geology, Landscape, and John Kane’s Landscape Paintings”.
About the Speaker: from Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Albert D. Kollar is a scientist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the section head in the Section of Invertebrate Paleontology and is responsible for the collection management of more than 800,000 invertebrate fossils and rocks some of which are approximately 1 billion years old.
Mr. Kollar has degrees in Geology and Invertebrate Paleontology. He has conducted research and field work throughout the United States, in Alaska, Canada, England, Wales Germany, and Sweden. He has authored more than 30 research papers on fossil brachiopods, reefs, climate change, and the geology of Carnegie dinosaurs, eurypterids and fossil amphibians.
Current research includes an assessment of the geology, architectural, and cultural significance of thirty architectural stones, used in the exterior and interior construction of the Carnegie Institute in 1895, 1907, and 1974. All these stones from Algeria, Croatia, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Norwegian, and the United States have historical importance. Many were used in Greek, Roman and Venetian antiquities for sculpture and buildings. Mr. Kollar traveled to Croatia and Ireland in 2015 to research the original rock quarries. Future travel is planned for France and Italy.
Mr. Kollar has presented well over a hundred geology seminars and fossil field trips throughout western Pennsylvania for schools, regional parks, community organizations, conservancies, and professional meetings. He has organized several forums on Energy and History of Fossil Fuels of Western Pennsylvania at the University of Pittsburgh Osher Institute. He has collaborated with the Shady Side Academy Middle School – Earth Science program for more than a decade on earth history and the geology of fossil fuels of western Pennsylvania.
Albert is past President of the Pittsburgh Geological Society from 2011 – 2014. He is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity, Geological Society of America, Global Heritage Stone, and The Pittsburgh Geological Society.
OCTOBER 9, 2018 (Tuesday)
“Getting to Know Our Neighbors: History of the Hill District”
Speaker: Terri Baltimore,
Director of Neighborhood Engagement for the Hill House Association
About Hill House Association from their website:
The Hill House serves clients through five strategic program areas: early learning and child development, youth services, family and workforce development, senior services and neighborhood services. In addition, the agency offers complimentary health and human services to its clients through 10 tenant agencies that reside on the Hill House campus.
About the Speaker:
Terri Baltimore is the Director of Neighborhood Engagement for the Hill House Association and has worked at the agency for over 25 years. Currently, she is responsible for environmental programs, volunteer activities and strategic partnerships.
Since 1992, she has led tours of the Hill District for a diverse group of organizations including: Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, National League of Cities, University of Lyon, Arts Excursions Unlimited, Duquesne University, Amizade Global Learning, Leadership Pittsburgh, Michigan State University, the Holocaust Center and the Green Building Alliance.
Terri is the Board President of the Ujamaa Collective, a Member of the African American Advisory Board at the Senator John Heinz History Center, a Board Member of the Daisy Wilson Artist Community and a Community Fellow at the Center for Engaged Teaching and Research at Duquesne University.
Ms. Baltimore earned a BA in Journalism from Duquesne University and was a member of the Leadership Pittsburgh Class XXII.
NOVEMBER 13, 2018 (Tuesday)
“Nine Mile Run”
Speaker: Wayne Bossinger, SHHS Board Member
From Nine Mile Run Watershed Association The Nine Mile Run watershed is a small urban watershed located in Pittsburgh’s East End.
Covering just 6.5 square miles, the watershed is home to numerous exciting initiatives, including the largest urban stream restoration in the United States completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Nine Mile Run Watershed Association (NMRWA) complements this amazing physical transformation with a variety of innovative urban ecology projects designed to directly involve the community in helping to improve the health of the watershed.
About the Speaker:
Wayne Bossiner, SHHS Member, has been researching and writing about Squirrel Hill’s history since retiring in 2014. His experience as an operations manager for the City of Pittsburgh gives him unique insights into the city’s neighborhoods as well as government records, such as deeds and probate documents.
DECEMBER 11, 2018 (Tuesday)
“The Story of Roads and Bridges in Pittsburgh”
Speaker: Todd Wilson, Transportation Engineer, Bridge Historian and Author of “Pittsburgh Bridges”
Pittsburgh, the City of Bridges, is also known for its convoluted roads. Some streets intersect each other three times. Others change names a few times. Giving directions, one often says, “Not that Right, the Other Right”, or “Go Straight”, which means angle left. The development of the City’s Roads is linked to the development of the City’s Bridges. In writing the book, “Images of America: Pittsburgh Bridges” published in 2015, the study of historical maps became a key research tool. Maps reviewed bridges that were eliminated when valleys were filled in and streets that were rearranged when new bridges were built. This research showed that by going back far enough in time, there was an explanation for each irregularity. This presentation will show these findings through maps and images past and present, explaining the City’s inconsistencies and abnormalities that make it unique.
About the Speaker: Todd Wilson is an award-winning professional engineer in Pittsburgh who has been photographing and writing about bridges his whole life. A Transportation Engineer, he is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and served as History & Heritage Chair for the Pittsburgh Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mr. Wilson is a Trustee of PHLF (Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation) and a former Landmarks Scholarship recipient.
January 8, 2019 (Tuesday)
“The History of Squirrel Hill’s Public Elementary Schools”
Speaker: Helen Wilson, SHHS Co-Vice President
Helen has found that people who attended public elementary schools in Squirrel Hill have vivid memories of them. She will use photos, maps, and other images to present a wealth of information about the history of those schools.
Squirrel Hill’s Public Schools
The history of the public schools in Squirrel Hill is convoluted. Schools were built, named and renamed, torn down, relocated and reorganized.
Before 1868, Squirrel Hill was part of Peebles Township. When the City of Pittsburgh annexed the township in 1868, Squirrel Hill had only two small schools. The number soon grew to five as the population increased. At first all the schools were named Colfax and numbered from 1 to 5, which created so much confusion a law was enacted ordering that the schools be given individual names.
Colfax No. 1 is still located at Beechwood Boulevard and Phillips Avenue. That school kept the Colfax name. It is the only one of the five original schools that is still a public school. Colfax No. 2 was at the intersection of Beechwood Boulevard and Saline Street near Brown’s Hill Road. It closed in 1907 but was reopened in 1916 as the Roosevelt School Annex when Roosevelt, located where the Greenfield Giant Eagle is now, became overcrowded. The annex closed and was torn down in 1939. Colfax No. 3, on Forward Avenue, became Forward Avenue School. It was torn down in 1923. Colfax No. 4, at Whipple and Commercial, became Swisshelm School, named for noted journalist and abolitionist Jane Gray Swisshelm. It no longer exists. Colfax No. 5, at Solway and Wightman Streets, became Wightman School, named for the owner of the Thomas Wightman Glass Company. It is now Wightman Community Center, owned by the Carriage House Children’s Center.
Besides the five Colfax schools, two other public elementary schools existed in Squirrel Hill. Brown School was built near the Monongahela River in 1888 on land donated by the Brown family. It closed in 1932, but the building remains and is an apartment house today. Davis School, named for a principal of the Frick Training School for Teachers, was located on Phillips Avenue. It opened in 1931 and closed in 1980.
Squirrel Hill’s stately public high school, Taylor Allderdice, was built in 1926 and is still going strong today. It was named for the president of the National Tube Company, who was a member of the Board of Education at the time.
About the Speaker: Helen Wilson, Co-Vice-President of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society, has been researching and writing about Squirrel Hill history for the past 12 years. Her articles have appeared in Squirrel Hill Magazine, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Historic Gardens Review (published in England) and other publications. She teaches a course on the development of Squirrel Hill at the CMU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and has given presentations about Squirrel Hill to various historical societies and other groups.. In 2015, she and her son Todd co-authored Pittsburgh’s Bridges, a pictorial history of the bridges within Pittsburgh’s borders, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. In 2017, she edited and co-authored Squirrel Hill: A Neighborhood History with four other members of the SHHS, which was published by The History Press.
February 12, 2019 (Tuesday)
“The History of Allderdice High School”
Speaker: Mina T. Levenson
Mina will discuss the history of Squirrel Hill’s most illustrious public school, Taylor Allderdice High School. Generations of graduates have made their mark in the world after spending their formative adolescent years at the grand old high school.
Named after industrialist Taylor Allderdice, our own neighborhood public high school opened in 1927 and has been credited many times over the years as a National Blue Ribbon School and as one of the best high schools by both Newsweek and US News & World Report.
Allderdice is one of the largest high schools in the City, and boasts of a population of about 1,500 students from Squirrel Hill and numerous nearby neighborhoods.
Among its alumni who have followed the school motto to “know something, do something, be something, ” is a uniquely long list of notable musicians, actors, professional athletes, scientists, economists, mayors, political activists, artists, writers, and filmmakers – including Billy Porter, Rob Marshall, Kathleen Marshall, Wiz Khalifa, Sally and Maxine Lapiduss, Curtis Martin, Bob O’Connor, Richard Caliguiri, Sara Alpern, Gary Green and so many others.
March 12th, 2019 (Tuesday)
“The History of Kennywood Park”
Speaker: Andy Quinn, Kennywood Park historian and Community Relations Director
Andy will talk about the historic amusement park that so many generations of Pittsburghers have enjoyed.
About the Speaker:
Andy Quinn is a fourth-generation member of the Kennywood family, part of the McSwigan family that co-owned the landmark amusement park for more than a century. In his 40+ years at Kennywood, he has worked in many roles, including Food & Beverage, Marketing, and Government/Industry Relations. He currently serves as the park’s in-house historian and helps on special projects, primarily work involving government agencies.
April 9, 2019 (Tuesday)
“The History of Dollar Bank”
June 11, 2019 (Tuesday)
“Catahecassa Springs Eternal”
Speaker: Matthew Falcone, President of Preservation Pittsburgh
Matthew will discuss the history of Catahacassa Fountain (and Snyder Spring), a prominent feature of Schenley Park and recent addition to the City’s Register of Historic Places, as well as its future prospects.
July 9, 2019 (Tuesday)
History of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop and a Reading by the Poets
Speaker: Rosaly DeMaios Roffman and members of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workhsop.
The poets will include: (as scheduling permits): M. Soledad Caballero, Ann Carson, Ziggy Edwards, Nancy Esther James, Don Krieger, Christine Doreian Michaels, Randy Minnich, Pam O’Brien, Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, Joanne Matone Samraney, Shirley Stevens and Arlene Weiner.
A Short History of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop
The Squirrel Hill Poetry workshop began in 1978 to bring together local poets for reading and a discussion of each other’s work. It was founded by Sue Saniel Elkind at the Squirrel Hill Library, a branch of the Carnegie. In 1991, longtime member H. Kermit Jackson assumed the directorship of the group. Rosaly DeMaios Roffman became facilitator when Kermit Jackson died in 2000, and she presently leads the workshop with assistance from some current members.
The group originally met at the Squirrel Hill Library, but in 2010, the workshop moved to the CC Mellor Library in Edgewood where they meet every two weeks. Membership has remained steady, typically with 16 poets, and has included persons from varied professional backgrounds, including a kindergarten teacher, a salesman, a composer, college professors, a retired biochemist, a librarian, a biomedical researcher, an occupational therapist and a psychologist.
The workshop has published two anthologies: The First Decade (1988) edited by H. Kermit Jackson which featured the work of SQPW members and Pittsburgh and Tri-State Area Poets (1992) edited by Sue Saniel Elkind which featured the work of members and other local poets.
Nearly all members have published at least one book or chapbook, several have edited poetry anthologies and two have founded magazines and online journals. Individual members have won literary prizes in national competitions and have read their poetry not only in venues around the United States, and also in Canada, Jerusalem, Athens and Bratislava.
In June of 2018, the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop celebrated their 40th Anniversary with a celebration at the Senator John Heinz History Center.
For more on our workshop, poems, biographical notes and photographs, go to: www.squirrelhillpoets.org
Also of interest: Issue #29 of UPPAGUS, an online journal edited by Ziggy Edwards and Jude Rosen. This issue is devoted to th poetry and history of the workshop. For instance: https://uppagus.com/interviews/roffman1/
About the Speaker
Rosaly DeMaios Roffman taught creative writing, Classical Literature, World Mythology, and founded a Myth/Folklore Studies Center at IUP. She co-edited the prize-winning Life on the Line, and is the author of Going to Bed Whole, Tottering Palaces, The Approximate Message, and In the Fall of a Sparrow. She has read her poems in Ireland, Greece, Mexico, Israel, Spain, and Bratislava and has collaborated on 23 pieces with composers and other artists. She as received grants from the National Endowment and the Witter Bynner Foundations and was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award in the Arts at IUP. In 2012 Tebot Bach published her latest book of poems, I Want to Thank My Eyes.
August 13, 2019 (Tuesday)
“The History of The Frick Pittsburgh, the Fricks and Clayton”
Speaker: Robin Nicholson, Executive Director, The Frick Pittsburgh
Robin will present a program about the Frick family and its most important legacies in the city—their mansion and art museum in Point Breeze.