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Historical Marker Going In At Site of Old St. Nicholas Church

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A steam shovel reshapes the landscape by Route 28 on the North Side. It's just down the road from the site of the first Croatian Roman Catholic Church in the western hemisphere.

Citing structural problems, the diocese demolished Saint Nicholas Church a year ago.

Susan Petrick, of the Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation, says construction of St. Nicholas Church "shows the dedication and need for the Croatian people to build something that was their home away from home."

The Troy Hill activist recalls the glow of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and the hope of rebirth on Easter Sunday.

She says the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has approved a historical marker on the site where St. Nicholas stood.

"We're going to have a beautiful memorial wall," she says. "And the last piece sandblasted into the wall will be Saint Nicholas Church. Next to it on the right will be a seating area."

Jack Schmitt, of Preservation Pittsburgh, says the memorial path will extend from the River Trail to the 31st Street Bridge.

"Right now they're doing the excavating," he explains. "And they're building the retaining walls. It should be done by November of this year, when there will be a ribbon cutting."

It will be a lasting tribute to a church, and the immigrants who built it.

For more information, visit the Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation website here.

Preservationists Upset As St. Nicholas Church Dismantling Begins (11/5/12)
Demolition Plans Revealed For St. Nicholas Church (11/15/12)
More Reports by Dave Crawley

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