St. Nicholas Croatian Church memorialized with marker, highway project

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Photo courtesy of Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation/Photo rendering by PennDOT
The future seating area where St. Nicholas Church once stood.

By Alyse Horn

After being demolished last January, a Pennsylvania Historical Marker has been approved for the grounds where St. Nicholas Croatian Church once stood.

Historical Marker Program Coordinator Karen Galle, from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, said the location for the marker will be at 1326 E. Ohio St. and 30 yards above Route 28.

Galle said the Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation nominated the historical marker for consideration, which “was approved because of the subject’s national significance as the first Croatian Roman Catholic Church in the western hemisphere.”

“The marker will also mention the significance of the Croatian community,” Galle said.

The organization that nominates a historical marker must also obtain permission for installation. Once permission is granted and the required paperwork is submitted, the PA Historical and Museum Commission can finalize the text for the marker and order it, then install and dedicate the marker.

Susan Petrick, secretary for Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation, said the marker will accompany a concrete panel wall that will be sandblasted with interpretive images. The last panel will be a sandblasted image of St. Nicholas Croatian Church.

The other images included on the panels will be Thomas Carlin’s Sons Foundry, a silhouette of Troy Hill with canal boat in tow, Josip Marohnic Bookstore, Allegheny Institute and Mission Church, “Avery College,” and Pittsburgh Allegheny and Manchester Traction Co.

Petrick said that PennDOT is installing the panels, and there will be an octagon seating area near the panels and a memorial path that will encompass the River Trail to the 31st Street Bridge.

Petrick said the project should be complete in late fall of this year.

The PCHF still want to preserve Croatian heritage in the area and will continue to have a Memorial Day service, as well as pay for the historical marker. The Memorial Day ceremony is set for May 26 at 11:30 a.m. at the St. Nicholas Cemetery on Hahn Road.

The next PCHF Executive and General Meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6 at Javor Hall, 805 East Street.

For more information of PCHF click here. For more information about the demolition of the church, click here.

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