World War I memorial at Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy to be restored for 100th anniversary

Published: 29 February 2024

By Julia Felton
via the TRIB Live website

Pittsburg WWI Memorial

A World War I memorial outside Obama Academy in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood will be restored in time for a rededication ceremony on its 100th anniversary in May.

A bronze World War I memorial outside Obama Academy in Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood is getting a facelift for its 100th anniversary.

The memorial bears the names of more than 500 World War I veterans who were students at the former Peabody High School, now Obama Academy, on North Highland Avenue.

It is anticipated that pending restoration work will be completed in time for a rededication ceremony scheduled for May 30, exactly 100 years after the memorial’s dedication.

Sylvia Wilson, a Peabody graduate and Pittsburgh Public Schools board member, said the memorial “was truly the centerpiece of the school.”

“It’s a significant piece of public art for our entire district and an incredible piece of history for the students at Obama to have on their campus,” she said.

James Hill, a member of Pittsburgh’s Historic Review Commission, spearheaded an effort with Preservation Pittsburgh and other partners to raise money to revitalize the aging memorial and ensure it can provide an outdoor space for students to gather and learn.

“Our public schools are not just places of education, but in many cases, time capsules of the neighborhoods that surround them,” Hill said. “This project preserves that history and benefits so many students today.”

Preservation Pittsburgh is asking the community to help identify family members of the World War I service members who are recognized on the memorial.

There were 543 Peabody students and alumni who served in World War I and survived, and another 17 who were killed. Peabody High School closed in 2011 and later became Obama Academy.

Anyone whose family members attended Peabody from 1911 through 1918 and served in the war is asked to reach out to [email protected].

The school also is looking for a lost film reel — or a copy of it — that shows the memorial’s original dedication ceremony. Newspaper reports said that a film of the event had been shown at the Regent Theater — now called Kelly-Strayhorn Theater — in 1924.

Read the entire article on the TRIB Live website here:

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