Point State Park: Wikis

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Point State Park
Pennsylvania State Park
Protected Landscape/Seascape (IUCN V)
Point State Park in Fall
Named for: the Point of confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers forming the Ohio River
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Allegheny
City Pittsburgh
Location [1]
 - coordinates 40°26′30″N 80°00′43″W / 40.44167°N 80.01194°W / 40.44167; -80.01194Coordinates: 40°26′30″N 80°00′43″W / 40.44167°N 80.01194°W / 40.44167; -80.01194
 - elevation 718 ft (218.8 m) [1]
Area 36 acres (15 ha)
Founded 1974
Managed by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Locator Red.svg
Location of Point State Park in Pennsylvania
Location of Point State Park in Pennsylvania
Website : Point State Park
Forks of the Ohio
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966
Designated NHL: October 9, 1960[3]
NRHP Reference#: 66000643[2]

Point State Park is a Pennsylvania state park on 36 acres (150,000 m2) in Downtown Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA, at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, forming the Ohio River.

Built on land acquired via eminent domain from industrial enterprises in the 1950s, the park opened in 1974 when construction was completed on its iconic fountain. Pittsburgh settled on the current design after rejecting an alternative plan for a Point Park Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The park also includes the outlines and remains of two of the oldest structures in Pittsburgh, Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne. The Fort Pitt Museum, housed in the Monongahela Bastion of Fort Pitt, commemorates the French and Indian War (1754–1763), in which the area soon to become Pittsburgh was a major battlefield.

Contents

Recreation

Today the park provides recreational space for workers, visitors, and residents in downtown Pittsburgh and also acts as the site for major cultural events in the city, including the Venture Outdoors Festival, Three Rivers Arts Festival and Three Rivers Regatta. The park, a registered National Historic Landmark, is operated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks.[4]

The Fountain

Point State Park fountain.jpg

The fountain in Point State Park, which sprays water up to 150 feet (46 m) in the air at the head of the Ohio River, draws upon water from the "Wisconsin Glacial Flow," an underground river that passes beneath the park.[5]

The location of the fountain at the tip of the Point previously served as a connector for two old bridges, the Manchester Bridge (over the Allegheny River) and Point Bridge (over the Monongahela). Both were removed in 1970 to make way for the fountain.

Renovations

Michael DeBerardinis, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, announced a $25 million plan to renovate Point State Park on October 11, 2006. The plans call for improving the green spaces within the park, expanding recreational opportunities, preserving historical installations, and updating outdated amenities. The project is scheduled to be completed within four years, with the majority of the work to be completed in time for Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary celebration in 2008.[6]

Sections of the park have fallen into disuse since it was established in 1974. The homeless have used the trenches surrounding the foundations of the remains of Fort Pitt as a temporary shelter for years. Graffiti on the structures of the park has become a major problem. Sections of the park are littered with fence posts, cut logs, plastic drums, and rolled up snow drift fencing. The walkways have become cracked and are beginning to fall apart. The goal of the restoration project is to reestablish the park as a recreational destination.[6]

Plans for improving the park include installing new pumps and pipes in the fountain, establishing a seating area around the fountain and a wading area for children, restoring the river walk with steps that lead into the river, building kiosks for information and concessions, renovating the rest rooms, renovating the water taxi landings and surrounding docks, and installing wireless internet access hubs.[6]

These plans are not being put into place without some controversy. On January 25, 2007, 13 members of two local labor unions were arrested for blocking access by contractors to the work sites at the remnants of Fort Pitt. The unions were protesting the use of four nonrepresented workers by the contractor. In addition, advocates for historical preservation disagreed with the decision to bury the remnants of the fort's walls, which could damage the bricks and remove the walls from public access.[7]

Point State Park was reopened to the public in the spring of 2008. The renovation process took a year and a half to complete.[8]

History

Forts at Forks of Ohio.png
Bricks mark the outline of where Fort Duquesne was located.
The "Blockhouse"

The confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, creating the Ohio River, has greatly impacted the history of Point State Park. It was once at the center of river travel, trade, and even wars throughout the pioneer history of Western Pennsylvania. During the mid 1700s, the armies of France and the Great Britain carved paths through the wilderness to control the point area and trade on the rivers. The French built Fort Duquesne in 1754 on foundations of Fort Prince George, which had been built by the colonial forces of Virginia.[9]

The French held Fort Duquesne during the French and Indian War, and it became one of the focal points for that war because of its strategic riverside location in disputed territory. The French held the fort successfully early in the war, turning back the expedition led by General Edward Braddock. A smaller attack by James Grant in September 1758 was repulsed, but with heavy losses. Two months later, on November 25, the Forbes Expedition, under General John Forbes, captured the site after the French destroyed Fort Duquesne the day before. The British built a much larger fort on the site and named it Fort Pitt.[9]

The Forbes Expedition was successful where the Braddock expedition had failed because of the Treaty of Easton, in which local American Indians agreed to abandon their alliance with the French. American Indians, primarily Delawares and Shawnee, made this agreement with the understanding that the British military would leave the area after the war. The Indians wanted a trading post on the spot, but they did not want a British army garrison. The British, however, built Fort Pitt on the site, naming it after William Pitt the Elder.[9]

As a result, in 1763 local Delawares and Shawnees took part in Pontiac's Rebellion, an effort to drive the British from the region. The Indians' siege of Fort Pitt began on June 22, 1763, but the fort was too strong to be taken by force. In negotiations during the siege, the commander of Fort Pitt gave two Delaware emissaries blankets that had been exposed to smallpox, in hopes of infecting the surrounding Indians and ending the siege. The attempt was probably unsuccessful, and on August 1, 1763, most of the Indians broke off the siege to intercept an approaching force under Colonel Henry Bouquet, resulting in the Battle of Bushy Run. Bouquet fought off the attack and relieved Fort Pitt on August 20.[9]

After Pontiac's War, Fort Pitt was no longer necessary to the British Crown, and was abandoned to the locals in 1772. At that time, the Pittsburgh area was claimed by both Virginia and Pennsylvania, and a power struggle for the region commenced. Virginians took control of Fort Pitt, and for a brief while in the 1770s it was called Fort Dunmore, in honour of Virginia's Governor Lord Dunmore. The fort was a staging ground in Dunmore's War of 1774.[9]

During the American Revolutionary War, Fort Pitt was the headquarters for the western theatre of the war.[9]

A small brick building called the Blockhouse—actually an outbuilding known as a redoubt—remains in Point State Park, the only intact remnant of Fort Pitt. It was erected in 1764, and is believed to be the oldest building, not only in Pittsburgh, but in Western Pennsylvania. Used for many years as a house, the blockhouse was purchased and has been preserved for many years by the Daughters of the American Revolution, who open it to the public.[9]

Nearby state parks

The following state parks are within 30 miles (48 km) of Point State Park:[10][11] [12]

References

  1. ^ a b "Point State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 2, 1979. http://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/f?p=gnispq:3:::NO::P3_FID:1184180. Retrieved 2008-05-26.  
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://www.nr.nps.gov/.  
  3. ^ "Forks of the Ohio". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=473&ResourceType=Site. Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  4. ^ "Point State Park". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/point.aspx. Retrieved 2007-01-20.  
  5. ^ "The Point: The Underground River". Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. http://www.clpgh.org/exhibit/neighborhoods/point/point_n77.html. Retrieved 2008-05-24.  
  6. ^ a b c Don Hopey (October 12, 2006). "State will provide $25 million for Point State Park". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06285/729339-53.stm.  
  7. ^ Allison M. Heinrichs. "13 arrested at Point State Park". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_490354.html. Retrieved 2007-01-26.  
  8. ^ Mark Belko. "Refurbished Point State Park to open May 30". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08143/883885-53.stm. Retrieved 2008-05-22.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Alberts, Robert C. (1980). The Shaping of the Point: Pittsburgh's Renaissance Park. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-3422-1.  
  10. ^ Michels, Chris (1997). "Latitude/Longitude Distance Calculation". Northern Arizona University. http://www2.nau.edu/~cvm/latlongdist.html. Retrieved 2008-04-23.  
  11. ^ "Find a Park Pittsburgh and its Countryside". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/region_pittsburgh.aspx. Retrieved 2007-01-20.  
  12. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Planning and Research, Geographic Information Division. 2007 General Highway Map Allegheny County Pennsylvania [map], 1:65,000. Retrieved on 2007-07-27. Note: shows Point State Park

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