Grant could unlock history of Allegheny
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To mark Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary, Lisa Miles will take students back to the time and place of Allegheny, the city of 146,000 that Pittsburgh annexed in 1907.
With a $5,000 Buhl Foundation grant and the Sarah Heinz House as her financial sponsor, she plans to take students ages 7 to 17 on four Saturday field trips -- the first Oct. 18 and the last Nov. 22 -- to sites important to the history of what is now the North Side.
"I see this project as a way to stimulate the community," she said.
She said the children will act as sleuths and history trackers using old maps and visits to historic sites, including the former Brashear Optical Factory in Perry South, where optical equipment was made for telescopes; the former Allegheny Canal; Allegheny's old commons; American Indian burial grounds; and a lost neighborhood of cotton mill workers.
A teacher and musician, Ms. Miles is the author of "Resurrecting Allegheny City," a book she wrote and published last year, the 100th anniversary of the annexation, on the strength of research material collected at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
Beginning tomorrow she will debut a separate program working with children at the Northview Heights YouthPlaces on Thursdays after school using art media and old maps to teach Allegheny's storied past.
She is still looking for $2,000 to fund a project to bring the children into the old Brashear Optical Factory for learning sessions and meetings culminating in a community open house Nov. 30.
"My work at Northview Heights and later at the factory will include a study of 'Uncle John' Brashear's life on that hilltop campus of the Western University of Pennsylvania," a predecessor of the University of Pittsburgh, she said.
The workshops will be free and open to children in North Side schools and adults who want to come along as chaperones, she said.
First Published October 8, 2008 12:00 am