Photo courtesy of the Preserve Croation Heritage Foundation
By Justin Criado
The Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation will be holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new St. Nicholas Church Historic Site as well as a public dedication of a Pennsylvania Historical Marker for the former St. Nicholas R.C. Croatian Church along Route 28 in Troy Hill, Saturday, June 20 at 11 a.m. St. Nicholas was the first Croatian parish in America, according to the foundation.
There will also be a ribbon cutting for the memorial wall and interpretive panels. The panels describe the rich history and significance of St. Nicholas Church and Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, both which were demolished in 2013 despite a 14-year preservation effort. The St. Nicholas cornerstone was saved and is now part of a memorial wall that wraps around an octagonal seating area, inspired by the church’s iconic onion domes.
Guest speakers will include Mayor Bill Peduto; His Excellency Josko Paro, Croatian Ambassador to the United States; Ed Pazo, President Croatian Fraternal Union; Jim Ferlo, retired State Senator and a founding member of Preservation Pittsburgh; Councilwoman Darlene Harris; Mark Masterson, Executive Director of the Northside Community Development Fund; and Dan Cessna, District Executive, PennDOT District 11.
The Junior Tamburitzans of Duquesne will provide entertainment, singing the National Anthems of both the U.S. and Croatia.
A new sidewalk trail which begins at the newly reconstructed parking lot across the street from Penn Brewery leads to the site of the former church, which is about a 10 minute walk. Carts will be available for people that need assistance.
Six public art murals commemorating Pittsburgh’s Northside neighborhood have been sandblasted into the retaining wall along the trail. The largest image in which commemorates St. Nicholas Church.
Please visit the PCHF website to learn more.
The event is free to the public, but the PCHF asks you RSVP at PCHF@stnicholasns.org or call Bernice Goyak at 412-335-2780.