Historic Pittsburgh Springs Nominated for Landmark Status

This past Friday Preservation Pittsburgh nominated Howe Spring, Catahecassa Spring, and Voegtly Spring to the City’s Historic Review Commission to be considered for landmark status.  This was the culmination of a months-long effort researching their history and coordinating with different community partners.  Individually, each of these springs has a unique story to tell that directly relates to the neighborhood in which they sit.  Collectively, they embody the best remaining examples of a complex, if not unplanned, drinking water system that has been with us since before Pittsburgh’s founding.

Howe Springs, circa 1914.

Howe Springs, circa 1914.

Howe Springs:

  • Constructed: 1896; Replaced, 1912
  • Architect: Alden & Harlow (1896); W.H. Van Tine (1912)
  • Patronage: Michael Benedum
  • Location: 5th Ave. in Shadyside
  • Notable Aside: Would be the City’s first bicycling landmark

Catahecassa (Snyder) Spring:

  • Constructed: 1907
  • Sculptor: Unknown
  • Patronage: Director James W. Clark of the Department of Public Works
  • Location: Schenley Park, below the Neill Log Cabin on E. Circuit Dr.
  • Notable Aside: Would be the first City landmark recognizing the role a Native American had in shaping Pittsburgh’s history

The Spring on Spring Hill (Voegtly Spring):

  • Constructed: 1912
  • Patronage: Land easement granted by the Voegtly family
  • Construction completed by City
  • Location: Damas St. near Homer St. in Spring Hill
  • Notable Aside: Would be the only constructed, natural spring landmark in Pittsburgh (Howe and Snyder Spring have both been plumbed by the City).

The springs relate to a particularly difficult moment in Pittsburgh’s history where clean, safe drinking water was out of reach for many Pittsburghers.  At the turn of the 20th century diseases like typhoid and cholera, ran rampant and much of our hilly City lacked water lines and sewers and the springs both helped and hurt the cause.  They would also play an important role in our leisure time, attracting Pittsburgh’s fledgling bicycling and driving communities.  You can learn more about the springs through reading the nominations here.

The City's Historic Review Commission, Planning Commission, and City Council will consider their status in a process that will begin on Wednesday, August 3rd with an evidentiary hearing before the HRC.  

As always, we will need your help seeing their nomination through the process.  Please consider lending your support by contacting the Historic Review Commission at: sarah.quinn@pittsburghpa.gov.

We would also like to extend a special thanks to our partners, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Chatham University Archives, Pittsburgh CitiParks, the Spring Hill Civic League, and East Liberty Valley Historical Society and all of the individuals who made this possible.  And a big thank you to all of you who help preserve and tell our City's story.