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A Resting Place and Tribute to Pittsburghers. by Briana Hallett

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Briana Hallett Briana Hallett
Explore score
0.11 Gigapixels
Date added
Mar 29, 2009
Date taken
Mar 27, 2009

By: Ann Straub, Adam Flanagan & Briana Hallett

In 1990 Trinity Episcopal Cathedral mounted a preservation program to address important monuments belonging to a burial ground still existing today between the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and the First Presbyterian Church of Sixth Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Through collaboration with the Architectural Conservation Laboratory of the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania, the church has successfully finished a full survey of the churchyard and markers, assessed conditions and undertaken pilot conservation treatments.

Native Americans, who were the first descendants of what is now Pittsburgh, claimed this area of land to bury their deceased. They converted it into an ancient Native American Tumulus; which is known as a burying mound. It was located accurately between the two churches. During the French’s occupancy of Fort Duquesne (1754) they had a small log chapel within the Fort named The Assumption of the Virgin Mary. A road from the fort elongated along Liberty Avenue and a path branched off to the Native American burying ground. The path was also known as The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, or Virgin Alley this is now Oliver Avenue. From 1754-1758, French soldiers that had passed on were confined at the burying ground of their Native American allies. The burying ground later was used by the British of Fort Pitt and also by the early settlers in the area. On September 24th, 1758 John and John Penn Jr. who were nephews of William Penn deposited the land to the Congregation of the Episcopal Church as a “site for a house of worship and a burial place for the use of said religious society and their successors and for no other use, intent or purpose.” The Trustees were Colonel John Gibson, former commandant at Fort Pitt; John Ormsby, army officer and trader, Devereaux Smith, a merchant, and Nathaniel Bedford the first physician in Pittsburgh.

Generations passed and both the Trinity and the First Presbyterian built and spread out, but therefore the burying ground reduced in size. Only 128 graves remain today. Many were never fully identified and have been lost forever; others have been exhumed and placed elsewhere. Memorable persons of Pittsburgh’s historical background that rest in this cultivated and delicate burial ground include Christopher Cowen, born in Ireland deceased on March 12, 1835. He has been considered the father of the steel industry in Western Pennsylvania, he established the first rolling mill in this area in 1811, his stone is the only marker in the present burying ground using Roman numerals.
Captain James R. Butler, Butler was considered by their fellow soldiers to be the bravest man in battle they had ever known. Then in 1783 the legislature granted him the right to operate a ferry from Pittsburgh to the north side of the Allegheny River. He had also been a forest ranger for the reserve tract. Captain James R. Butler was the son of William’s brother, Major General Richard Butler, lawyer, legislator and solider, for whom Butler County was names. James, a Captain of the Pittsburgh Blues in the War of 1812, took part in the battle of Mississinewa and the battle of Fort Meigs. The command distinguished itself in both battles and was noted for brave conduct in General William Henry’s reports. The date of death inscribed on the Tombstone is in fact incorrect and there is recorded evidence that James lived until 1842.

William Peter Eichbaum was an expert glassworker, and founded the first glass cutting establishment of its kind in the United States. Before he immigrated to America, he was a glass cutter to King Louis XVI of France. The Oakland section of Pittsburgh was where Eichbaum’s establishment was located, derived its name from the translation of Eichbaum which means “oak tree.”
Alfred Irenaeus Hopkins, a lawyer and vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church, who left his profitable law practice to enter the ministry. Ordained a deacon in 1824 he quickly assumed the duties of fourth rector of the Trinity and was the leading element of construction for the first church building on this site. Hopkins was the only Pittsburgher ever to serve as ecclesiastical head of that denomination.

Dr. Nathaniel Bedford was born in Birmingham, England and came to Fort Pitt as a military surgeon. He became Pittsburgh’s first physician. He was one of the incorporators of the Pittsburgh Academy, now the University of Pittsburgh. He was also an assistant burgess after Pittsburgh became a borough, and a man of superior influence among the young men of the city.

The renewal of the Indian wars after the Revolution placed Pittsburgh in inevitable danger, peace was extremely vital to the infant nation. Red Pole, a principle village chief of the Shawnee, came to the rescue in this time of need. Red Pole was a signer of the Treaty of Greenville on August 3rd 1795, this Treaty brought lasting peace to the frontier. Two years after the Treaty was in effect, Red Pole and his brother Blue Jacket were in Pittsburgh at Christmas, confined by conditions such as rivers closed by ice and cold temperatures Red Pole was taken ill. Dr. Nathaniel Bedford practiced faithful ministrations but the Chief died on January 28, 1797.

From 1900 to 1908 the Trinity church sold land along its eastern edge between Carpenders Alley and Smithfield Street for the construction of the Oliver building. Again, burials were relocated off site and to the west yard. Between 1914 and 1923 the entire churchyard was stripped of all its vegetation leaving only grass and landscape of stone. Efforts over the recent years vegetation has reintroduced itself into this historic burial ground. The first land grant for the Trinity Episcopal Church was in 1779 but the Native American burial ground was already at this specific location, there was said to be as many as 4,000 graves with over 2,000 identified. The construction of the church created less space and graves were exhumed and moved to crypts built under the church the remainder of the land continued to be used as a burial ground.
The preservation program was a successful accomplishment with much contribution. Prior to removal each stone was measured from a known location to ensure that the stone can be replaced in its original position. Each stone weighed between 200-800 pounds, once removed, the only way to move the stones is by wheeled dollies. Poor conditions of stones were held together with gauze material attached to the top of the stone glued this method is called facing; this allows the stone to be safely raised from the ground. Severe deterioration problems like water uptake were a factor but stones were able to be cleaned, repaired, consolidated and re erected where fallen. The renovation project hoped to accomplish the renewal of history in the Pittsburgh area transforming the burial ground into a place of rest and knowledge.

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Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitcher version 0.4.3865 (Macintosh)
Panorama size: 109 megapixels (19615 x 5595 pixels)
Input images: 60 (12 columns by 5 rows)
Field of view: 152.6 degrees wide by 43.5 degrees high (top=20.7, bottom=-22.8)
Build panorama at 50% scale (loses detail)
Keep projected images
Original image properties:
Camera make: Canon
Camera model: Canon PowerShot SD950 IS
Image size: 4000x3000 (12.0 megapixels)
Capture time: 2009-03-28 02:41:58 - 2009-03-28 02:46:05
Aperture: f/5.8
Exposure time: 0.004 - 0.04
ISO: 80
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 133.3 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Fixed
Exposure mode: Automatic
Horizontal overlap: 18.1 to 27.4 percent
Vertical overlap: 25.9 to 34.8 percent
Computer stats: 2048 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 15:18 (0:15 per picture)
Alignment: 6:36, Projection: 2:53, Blending: 5:48

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