A $200,000 monument will mark Bushy Run's anniversary

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Bushy Run Battlefield Heritage Society officials have finalized plans for a $200,000 monument to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the battle.

The August 1763 battle was part of Pontiac's War, during which Delaware and Shawnee Indians fought local frontiersmen and their Scottish Highlander allies. It prevented the capture of Fort Pitt and secured westward expansion.

"We were thinking about the monument for several years, but last fall is when we decided to go ahead and start on the project," said Kelly Ruoff, treasurer of the Bushy Run society and chairwoman of the anniversary committee.

The monument will feature three bronze statues representing each culture involved in the conflict, Ms. Ruoff said. It will be unveiled Aug. 3 over the 2013 anniversary weekend.

A concrete slab -- where the Bushy Run Battlefield Park's amphitheater in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, now sits -- will act as the base for the structure.

"We actually decided the amphitheater isn't used that much," said Ms. Ruoff, adding that the site also is where the first day of action occurred in the two-day battle.

Two of the statues, one an American Indian and the other a Highlander, will be mounted on granite pedestals, Ms. Ruoff said. The third figure, a frontier ranger, also cast in bronze, will be in the center, lying against flour bags.

Mrs. Ruoff explained that the flour bags are there because the Highlanders were transporting them from Fort Ligonier and then used them to create a makeshift entrenchment to protect the wounded behind them.

The story of the battle will be told on each pedestal.

So far, the Heritage Society has raised about $111,000 for the project.

"We've saved money over the years and received a grant from Peoples Natural Gas," Ms. Ruoff said. The group also is selling engraved bricks that will be placed in the existing cement base of the monument.

"It's something I've wanted to do for a long time," said artist Robert Griffing of Richland, who designed the monument with John Buxton of Hampton. "Of course, the 250th anniversary is the perfect time."

Bronze sculptor Wayne Hyde of Bedford will create the statues and most likely will have them cast in a foundry in the western part of the country. The granite portions will be completed in Bedford and shipped here to be assembled, said Mr. Griffing, who will be a consultant through the project's completion.

A painter who specializes in 18th century American Indian art, Mr. Griffing has produced other works depicting the battle. His oil painting, "One Mile to Bushy Run," has hung in the visitors center since the late 1990s, he said.

Drivers on State Route 993, also known as Bushy Run Road, will be able to see the monument from their cars and park to approach it for a quick history lesson. A trail has been designed to lead to a parking area, Ms. Ruoff said.

"[The battlefield] is a lost treasure," Mr. Griffing said. "A lot of people don't know it exists, and we have it in our own backyard."

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Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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