Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Visit to Pittsburgh

In April, I had the opportunity to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Attending the Romantic Times Convention, which takes place in a different city each year, provides me the opportunity to explore new territories. One of the places I visited in Pittsburgh was the First Presbyterian Church located at 320 Sixth Avenue in Pittsburgh.

It was a bit surprising to us to discover this church which is located on a busy street in the midst of towering, modern office buildings. It was like discovering a treasure in the least likely place. But should it really be such a surprise when adventuring along the streets of these cities? Which is part of the fun of taking a city street map and just venturing out and stumbling upon these beautiful surprises.

My friend, Debbie, and I were sort of exploring the downtown area. We did manage to find Macy's and Lord & Taylor, but used restraint when we stumbled upon the shopping area, and our time was limited. Some of the architecture and sculptures were very interesting, and I do love taking photographs. Thank goodness for digital.

The formation of this church dates back to 1758 when the British defeated the French. That defeat took place very close to where our hotel, the Pittsburgh Hilton, is located. As a matter of fact, Caitlyn Willows and I visited the spot where the three rivers (the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio) converge. Oh yes, and there's a bit of a story here, too.

We discovered that quite a bit of downtown Pittsburgh is currently under construction, including the site where these rivers meet and the fountain at Point State Park was not actually working. We were sort of told that one couldn't walk to that area because of the construction. Yeah. Right. They didn't realize they were talking to a couple of authors who don't always handle the "you can't do it" phrase well.

I digress. Back to the church.

Apparently, the 2.5 acres upon which this church was built was originally used as an Indian burial ground. The grounds were used primarily for burial purposes going forward into the 1800's. When the second church was built many of the burials were exhumed and placed into crypts which were constructed for that purpose beneath the church.

The church grounds are currently under renovation and due to the fact that we were there on a weekday and it was late in the day as well, we didn't have an opportunity to go inside the church. Apparently, tours are scheduled after services on Sundays and can also be arranged by calling ahead.

I keep thinking about those underground crypts and Indian burial grounds and I'm thinking there's a story or two building here.

All in all, Pittsburgh was a very interesting city to visit and I came away from my trip with more than a couple of story ideas that will develop along the way. I'm glad I carry my notebook with me, too.

Links of interest regarding the church:

http://www.fpcp.org/ (for the history of the church)
http://www.flickr.com/adriannadane (more photos of the church and Pittsburgh)


No comments: