Executive Director Speaks in Pittsburgh, PA
On Tuesday, April 19, Mary Anthony, executive director of The 1772 Foundation, spoke at the Hill District and New Granada Theater Reception, co-hosted by the Hill Community Development Corporation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), The 1772 Foundation, and the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF). At the event, implementation of the master plan for the redevelopment of the Hill District and the restoration of the New Granada Theater were discussed.
The Hill CDC serves the Greater Hill District, located in the heart of Pittsburgh. The District was settled by African Americans leaving the South during the Great Migration and European immigrants. They created a culturally vibrant and economically thriving neighborhood, which the Hill CDC, in partnership with residents and stakeholders, seeks to revitalize. The historic New Granada Theater, built in 1927-1928 and originally a Pythian Temple, was famous for its jazz entertainment. In the 1990’s, the Hill CDC purchased the New Granada, which had fallen into disrepair, in order to save it and get it ready for redevelopment. The Hill CDC is certain that the theater project will have a catalytic impact on the resurgence of the community.
Mary spoke about integrated historic redevelopment as a component of economic revitalization as well as The 1772 Foundation’s participation in the African-American historic preservation movement. The following are among the many sites, rich in African-American history, which have received funding from 1772: the Abyssinian Meeting House (Portland, ME); Hinchcliffe Stadium (Paterson, NJ – the last remaining Negro League Stadium in the Northeast); Journey’s End (site of Alec Turner’s hill farm in Grafton, VT); and the Harriet Tubman House (Auburn, NY). 1772 also has awarded grants to the Slave Dwelling Project for its annual conference and, most recently, to the National Burial Database of Enslaved Americans.
Representing the NTHP, Melissa Jest, manager of its historic properties redevelopment program, characterized older buildings as assets that can improve the economic, social, and environmental performance of cities. NTHP is committed to promoting the reuse of older properties like those in the Hill District of Pittsburgh as a strategy to revive the economies of downtowns and their surrounding neighborhoods. Melissa serves a growing network of preservation and redevelopment professionals and was able to give many examples of redevelopment that has spurred economic growth and cultural revival across the United States.