As an adult, you’ve passed by them hundreds of times, especially if you’re a native resident of the Twinborns. You probably don’t even notice they’re there even though they’re quite large and monumental in nature. Can you guess what they are? I’m referring to the two magnificently restored Allegheny River Boulevard commemorative art-deco-style stone pylons located at the Eastern entrance to Verona from the Boulevard. They stand as testament to a simpler time…to a time when beauty was weighed equally with functionality during highway planning. The ARB pylons stand as testament to one of four major transportation projects constructed by Allegheny County during the late 1920s and early 1930s as part of the City Beautiful Movement. Four grand boulevards were built, Ohio River Boulevard, Saw Mill Run Boulevard, Moss Side Boulevard and Allegheny River Boulevard. Then Pittsburgh artist Frank Vitter designed the original twelve pylons. In his design, he inscribed commemorative historical scenes, one scene on each of the twelve pylons. Two pylons were originally erected at opposite ends of each of three boulevard sites (Moss Side Boulevard’s pylons were proposed but apparently never built). Unfortunately, however, today the remains of only four remaining pylons exist, two on Ohio River Boulevard at Emsworth and two at the Eastern end of Allegheny River Boulevard in Verona.
After years of neglect and nonuse and showing significant signs of distress, then Verona councilman, Dave Ricupero in conjunction with the Verona Chamber of Commerce, in 2008, took on the task of having the pylons sand-blasted and refitted with functional illumination. The Chamber graciously paid for the project. Today, thanks to their efforts, at dusk, each pylon casts a golden glow illuminating the way to Pittsburgh in one direction and Verona/Oakmont in the other. And, just to make sure they are properly shown-off to passersby, each Spring, the Verona Flower and Garden Club beautify the pylons further by planting flowers at there bases.
Of the four that remain what is know about the two pylons on ARB? When were they erected? What are the historical scenes inscribed in bas-relief on the pedestrian side of each of their faces? You can find the answers to these questions and a lot more by simply taking a walk along Allegheny River Boulevard at its Western boundary with Verona to visit these monoliths and studying their inscriptions. Verona should be very proud of the preservation and maintenance effort it provides to its “adopted” ARB pylons. They stand today as shinning memories of a by-gone era.