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Frick Art & Historical Center receives $3 million redevelopment grant

The Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze has secured a $3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant from Harrisburg. The funding will go toward building a new education and community center, which is the second phase of the museum's current $15 million expansion project.
 
"This remarkable gift propels the campaign toward its $15 million goal and affirms the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's support of this important project, which will greatly enhance [the] Frick's ability to provide the public with essential educational and cultural experiences," said Frick Trustee and Campaign Chair Charles R. Burke, Jr.
 
Before learning of the RACP funding, the Frick had raised just over $10.5 million toward its campaign goal. The $3 million RACP grant, part of an economic growth initiative program, puts the total raised at more than $13.5 million.
 
Funding for the Frick Education and Community Center project will serve East End neighborhoods and enhance the museum. The project will broaden the Frick's educational outreach to children and allow the museum to better accommodate bus tours and seniors. The project is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2016.
 
"We are grateful for the generous support of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and believe that the Education and Community Center project will strengthen the Frick as a cultural and educational anchor in the East End," said Carolyn Reed, Chair of the Frick's Board of Trustees.
 
This summer, the Frick opened a new orientation center, marking the completion of Phase I of the expansion project that began in May 2013. The new facility serves as a focal point for arriving visitors and includes a range of educational interactive activities. The orientation center also houses a new museum store.
 
“[Phase II] will include new learning spaces,” said Greg Langel, media and marketing manager at the Frick.
 
The second phase of the expansion project calls for a new education center in the current Carriage Gallery of the Car and Carriage Museum, a renovated facility onsite. Renovating the Carriage Gallery will also help the Frick to enhance collection storage, Langel said.

The project will allow for construction of a new community center that will provide additional education and program space and create a venue for events. The center will have a prep kitchen to better accommodate bus tours and field trips.
 
“[The community center will] increase our ability to serve greater numbers of individuals,” Langel said. “We’re really excited about the grant and it pushes so close to our total goal. It’s a statement that the Commonwealth supports arts and culture in western Pennsylvania.”
 
 

Trade Union hosts trunk show at Mon Wharf

Trade Union Trunk Show is back for its Autumn/Winter fashion and style event. On Saturday, Oct. 4, the biannual trunk show will bring locally minted goods from clothing to furniture to the Mon Wharf, Downtown— showcasing an urban, uniquely Pittsburgh setting.  
 
Launched this past spring, the Trade Union Trunk Show seeks to bring together the city's established and emerging brands and depict the Made in Pittsburgh moniker as one rooted in creativity and quality.  
 
With each event, Trade Union presents a one-of-a-kind space and local partners to host the day’s activities. For their A/W 2014 Trunk Show, Trade Union worked with lead sponsor, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, to bring the free event to the Mon Wharf. Vendors, food and local DJ sets handpicked by VIA as part of their 2014 festival will enliven the event.
 
“We are always eager to partner on creative re-inventions of space in Downtown,” said Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “The Trade Union Trunk Show again extends our mission to support creative uses of unique urban spaces in our Downtown neighborhood.”
 
Michael McAllister, Trade Union co-producer, said the event is more than the average craft fair. While vendors and goods are local, Trade Union strives to ensure a cohesive, stylized event. From flyers to displays, Harvest & Gather is styling the trunk show.  McAllister explained that he and event co-producer Emily Slagel of Mid-Atlantic Mercantile see design and creativity as “an integral part of Pittsburgh’s future growth and development.”
 
He said they were inspired by stylized trunk shows in other cities and wanted to bring the model to Pittsburgh for products minted and made in the city. About 15 vendors will sell products including stationery, letterpress, furniture and vintage clothing.
 
Vendors include: Mid-Atlantic Mercantile Found Home Collection (handpicked and found homewares); Royal Establishment; Merissa Lombardo/Pete Johnson Studios; Homestead Supply Co. (leather goods); Perry & Co.; Kicky Feet Vintage; Tugboat Printshop; Bones & All; Studebaker Metals (a local designer whose jewelry is available at Urban Outfitters); Sapling Press; Red Pop Shop; Modesto Studios; UpTo; and Spaces Corners (photography books).
 
McAllister said two restaurants are also premiering: TAKÖ, globally inspired tacos from the newest Downtown venture from the Meat & Potatoes team; and 4121 Main, a mixed-use space featuring handmade goods, art and an espresso bar coming soon to Lawrenceville.
 
Trade Union will be held at the Mon Wharf, 1 Ft Pitt Blvd., Saturday, Oct. 4, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Heinz History Center opens new Museum Conservation Center

The Senator John Heinz History Center opened its new Museum Conservation Center last week, providing Pittsburgh with a place to bring heirlooms -- from family Bibles to photographs -- for professional services and advice on caring for antiques.

By appointment, trained staff will provide visitors with information on how to preserve their treasures, including works of art, photographs, wedding dresses, and furniture. The Museum Conservation Center also connects visitors with conservators should their heirlooms require professional repair.
 
With the opening of the new Conservation Center, the History Center becomes one of the first museums in the nation to provide professional conservation services directly to the public.
 
“It’s a place where visitors can link with professional services and seek advice,” said Barbara Antel, Conservation Services Manager.
 
The Conservation Center provides visitors with access to the same quality assessment and treatments that the museum provides for its own collections. 
 
The center is also an education resource. It opened to the public with a hands-on workshop focusing on preserving paper documents. Experts provided tips on how to best preserve birth certificates, passports, letters and other materials.
 
“The process of conservation is to preserve an object from further deterioration,” Antel said about the center’s educational efforts.
 
The next family archives workshop is Nov. 22. A “Holiday Heritage Workshop,” discussing care for delicate ornaments, linens and antique china, will be held Dec. 11.
 
In addition to conservation services, the nine-floor LEED-certified green building also houses the History Center’s collection of more than 32,000 artifacts. The new 55,000-square-foot storage space features Smithsonian-quality lighting, temperature, humidity, pest control and security.
 
The Conservation Center is located behind the History Center in the Strip District at 1221 Penn Ave. and is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, primarily by appointment.
 
 

VIA Festival to use Union Trust Building for pop-up event

This year’s VIA Festival, a Pittsburgh-based music and new media celebration, will be held from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5 with 18 events at various locations across the city, including a pop-up event on Oct. 4 at the Union Trust Building at 501 Grant Street, Downtown. 
 
“It’s a music festival, combined with digital culture,” said VIA co-director Quinn Leonowicz. “[It’s] Pittsburgh’s largest celebration of music and digital culture.”
 
Now in its fifth year, VIA utilizes an underused or vacant venue every year. This year, with the help of the Mayor’s Office, VIA has acquired the Union Trust.
 
“We just try to pick non-traditional spaces, something that has been underutilized,” he said, adding that the city approved the venue only about a month ago. In the meantime, Leonowicz, co-director Lauren Goshinski and a team of volunteers have been working quickly to prepare for the festival.
 
VIA will take over a variety of spaces on the first floor and lower level of the building, including installation of a 30-foot bubble in the building’s central rotunda, which is capped by a stained glass dome. The bubble is described as an “immersive audio-visual environment” with ASMR immersive therapy and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
 
A former department store will be turned into a digital sculpture gallery and will simulate real life and virtual experiences with custom iPad apps, video games and virtual figure drawing classes, using the online platform Second Life.

The lower level of the Union Trust Building will turn into a multi-stage nightclub for audio-visual performances featuring local, national and international artists such as Zebra Katz, Blue Hawaii, L-Vis 1990, Traxman, Cakes da Killa, Cities Aviv, Diode Milliampere and Troxum.
 
While entertainment and experiences will vary from audio showcases to film, VIA also has an educational element. On Oct. 3, a conference at Carnegie Mellon University will feature artists discussing Ableton Music software, workshops and musical performances.
 
Leonowicz said he sees VIA as an umbrella for future events, including upcoming VIA performances in Chicago. Although Leonowicz said VIA will always be based in Pittsburgh, he hopes this collaboration between Pittsburgh and Chicago will form an artist exchange. He compared it to other arts events that start in cities like New York and spread across the country.
 
For more information about VIA, please visit, via2014.com.
 
Source: Quinn Leonowicz, VIA 

Snap up some style with Project Pop Up: Fashion in Market Square

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is bringing a day of pop-up retail to Market Square tomorrow with Project Pop Up: Fashion.
 
Men's and women's clothing, jewelry and accessories from 13 local designers, fashion trucks, screen-printing vendors and Downtown retailers will be on sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the PDP’s third Project Pop Up: Fashion event. DJ Pandemic will play dancehall music during the downtown lunchtime event.
 
Fashions range from vintage to handmade to high-end, with a price point for every budget, said PDP Vice President of Marketing and Communications Leigh White.

“What I really like best about [Project Pop Up: Fashion] is there’s something for everyone,” White said.
 
As a special incentive, Larrimor’s will have a cash booth in the square, giving away cash and gift cards to shoppers who pre-register at the Downtown boutique by picking up shop President Tom Michael’s business card. 
 
Project Pop Up retailers include Boutique 208, Boutique la Passerelle, Larrimor's, Macy's and Serendipity. Other participants include Identity Crisis Legwear, Cassidy Girl Collection, DeadBuryDead, Mallet Hill and New York New York. And mobile boutiques Broke Little Rich Girl, Style Truck and The Vintage Valet will be on hand, too. 
 
White called the PDP’s midday pop-up events unexpected fun for Downtown workers. 

Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Leigh White

Pittsburgh PARK(ing) Day is back Friday with installations throughout the city

For one day only, parking spaces will transform across the city into small parks, green spaces and even a beach in an effort to get citizens talking about sustainability and transportation.

Tomorrow, Sept. 19, is PARK(ing) Day, an annual, international one-day event where artists, designers and citizens can transform parking spots into small parks and art installations.
 
This is PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh’s seventh year. The event began in San Francisco in 2005 and its message has travelled around the world. PARK(ing) Day is an opportunity to get communities talking about improvements, green space and transportation while thinking creatively.
 
This year, Pittsburgh’s pop-up parks stem from neighborhood improvement initiatives and fun. PARK(ing) Day Committee Member Thor Erickson said the Polish Hill Civic Association will use traffic cones to create a discussion about street traffic.  Erickson said the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Penn Future, Design Center and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership are collaborating in the 900 block of Liberty Avenue, downtown, to showcase urban improvement efforts.
 
Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council members will transform their parking spaces into a beach, according to Erickson.
 
The Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee organized a mini golf course along Butler Street, between Doughboy Square and 39th Street, as part of the neighborhood’s PARK(ing) Day initiatives. Breakfast, lunch and dinner golfing sessions will be offered, with a party and music by DJ Duke to follow in the Iron City Bikes and Franktuary parking lot from 6 PM to 8 PM.
 
To find PARK(ing) Day events in your neighborhood, Parking Day Pittsburgh has provided a map with events and times listed throughout the city. 
 
 
Source: PARK(ing) Day, PARK(ing) Day Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville Pittsburgh, Thor Erickson, Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee 

Pens' payment promises bright future for Hill District

For decades, the Pittsburgh Penguins made hockey history at the Civic Arena, the team's storied home that separated Downtown from the Hill District. 

The Penguins have since moved to a new home nearby at the Consol Energy Center, but they haven't forgotten their roots at that hallowed site in the Lower Hill. Earlier this month, the Penguins agreed to pay full market value on the land where their beloved Igloo once stood, according to a WTAE-TV article. The 28 acres of land will make way for development in the Hill District.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced agreements among Penguins management, the Hill District community and local government to transform the entire neighborhood and provide tens of millions in financing dollars for community improvements, jobs and housing.

“This plan will build transformational wealth for the residents of the greater Hill District,” Peduto said. “It provides the financial resources to build the ladders of opportunity between the 28 acres and the rest of the Hill District.”
 
Joining Peduto at the announcement were Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Urban Redevelopment Authority Chairman Kevin Acklin, Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, state Sen. Jay Costa and Penguins Chief Operating Officer Travis Williams.
 
The announcement was the culmination of more than 50 meetings among city, county, state, federal, community and team officials on how to best leverage the redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site in the Lower Hill to provide for business development, jobs, housing and infrastructure improvements to the entire area. 

Through a new tax increment financing district, property tax growth from the redevelopment of the Lower Hill will be used to pay for improvements in six other neighborhoods across the Hill: Bluff, Crawford Roberts, Terrace Village, Middle Hill, Bedford Dwellings and Upper Hill.
 
For more information about the announcement, see the mayor’s online announcement.
 
Source: Office of Mayor William Peduto 


 

Pittsburgh Public Market hosts first-ever Food Swap

From spicy wing sauce to eggs laid by backyard hens, if it's homemade or homegrown, it's up for grabs at the city's first-ever food swap.

The Pittsburgh Public Market and Good Food Pittsburgh’s Emily Catalano are hosting the Pittsburgh Food Swap on Saturday, Sept. 20 from 2-4 p.m. at the market.
 
Catalano says that the city has played host to smaller canning and themed swaps in the past, “but this is something that is a little more than canned goods.”
 
She says she first got the idea for while living in Philadelphia, where she attended food swaps. She was delighted to see the community come together — while some goods were made by professionals, the majority were shared by home chefs.
 
“It was a really awesome community feeling,” she said. 
 
When it comes to what foods can be swapped, almost anything goes. In Philadelphia and with swaps she's attended, Catalano saw homemade truffles, jam, extracts, cookies, whiskey, marshmallows and ravioli.
 
So what can’t be swapped?
 
“No Oreos,” Catalano said with a laugh. She also asked that any questionable homemade goods stay in the home pantry.
 
All food must be individually packaged. Containers of soup are great, but don’t bring a pot. Participants must sign a waiver that their food is safe for family, friends and neighbors to enjoy. She suggests labeling food with safe-to-consume-by dates.
 
Catalano said she went on a spicy kick for the swap and is contributing wing sauce, pickled jalapenos and bread and butter pickles. She said others who have signed up are bringing eggs from backyard hens, strawberry plants and baked goods.
 
Only those sharing items can participate in the swap, and attendees must register for this free event online. The swap begins at 2 p.m. with mingling and sampling; after 30 minutes of greetings and tastings, the swap commences.
 
Catalano said contributors should bring samples for others to try. It works like this: Bring 15 packages of cookies, leave with 15 different items from other swappers. Catalano suggested bringing 10 to 15 items to trade.
 
Sometimes you don’t get everything you want. "But most of the time, you end up getting a pretty decent haul,” Catalano said.

 

Salvation Army opens new South Side Family Store

A new Salvation Army Family Store opens in the South Side tomorrow with plenty of fanfare, including all-day free giveaways and the chance to win a 40-inch flat-screen TV. 

The 15,000-square-foot store at at 855 E. Carson Street will sell bargain-priced clothing, household items, electronics, books, toys, furniture and collectibles.  Every Wednesday, the store will offer Family Day discounts.
 
The Family Store opens at the intersection of East Carson and South Ninth streets for the first time at 10 a.m. tomorrow, following a ribbon-cutting event at 9:45 a.m. Opening day customers can enjoy free coffee and donuts in the morning.
 
"Our new Family Store will offer more selection and more bargains that appeal to everyone in order to provide our customers with a better shopping experience and support our social services work," says Martina O'Leary, administrator at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh.  "We really look forward to contributing to the community at all levels." 
 
The store will bring more than 10 new jobs to the area, O'Leary said. Revenue from the Family Store supports the Salvation Army's rehabilitation center, which offers free services to community residents who struggle with alcohol, drugs and other life issues. Sales from the Family Store are the center's only funding source. Needy families may also receive vouchers for free furniture or clothing from the store through other Salvation Army programs.
 
Tax receipts will be provided for any donations received during store hours, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. After-hours clothing donations can be dropped in bins in the parking lot.
 

24/7 artist workspace to expand in Etna

448 Studios, a community studio space in Etna where artists and musicians can practice their craft, is expanding to provide 20 more artist studios next month.
 
The workspaces were opened in 2013 by STORExpress, after the self storage company noticed customers were using their units in other locations creatively. STORExpress saw a market and realized they could open a facility for artists and musicians to store and create their work.
 
Jesse Ament, STORExpress marketing manager, says they saw original uses for spaces from a small gym to band practice area.
 
“We’re in the business of space,” he says. 

The first floor of the 448 Butler Street facility is a band floor. It features 27 rooms with sound resistant walls built specifically for local bands. The second floor provides artist studios. And, they were designed with creating art in mind, the workspaces feature natural lighting and industrial sinks.
 
There are currently 40 studios at 80 percent capacity with metal workers, painters, jewelry makers and designers.  Ament notes that one 448 Studios artist was commissioned by the 49ers football team to outfit their new stadium. 
 
Rooms are equipped with wi-fi, heating and cooling. There is a community lounge, kitchenette and restrooms provided for artists. Ament said occupants are free to display art in these common spaces. 

The 448 Studios building is accessible 24 hours a day and work and equipment are secure with electronic coded access.
 
“We are trying to build a community,” Ament says. “You’re not just renting a space, you’re getting access to other artists in the community.”
 
The expansion should be complete October 1. For more information about the studios, visit https://www.facebook.com/448Studios/info
 
Source: Jesse Ament, STORExpress, 448 Studios Facebook

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra launches neighborhood chamber concert series

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Music for the Spirit program is expanding to include three chamber music concerts at local churches in the Northside, East Liberty and Wilkinsburg in September.
 
The Music for the Spirit program explores the connection between music and spirituality during free Pittsburgh Symphony concerts, at both Heinz Hall as part of the BNY Mellon Grand Classics series and in rotating community venues.
 
Suzanne Perrino, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra senior vice president of education and strategic implementation, says the series was born from the idea “to create programs that celebrate different faiths [with] music and bring people together.”
 
This month, the Music for the Spirit program adds three concerts featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass, which follows the Music for the Spirit concert format, melding music, poetry, readings and other spoken word pieces. Readings are performed between music pieces. Some renditions are from the bible or religious text while other pieces of poetry and prose align with a central, communal message.
 
This is the first chamber series for the Music for the Spirit program. Perrino says this smaller group will provide a more intimate and engaging concert setting. Perrino and Gloria Mou, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra director of musician and community engagement programs, call brass music fun and accessible. They explain that it is rare to have the opportunity to hear the brass portion of the orchestra alone.
 
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Brass includes Craig Knox, tuba; Murray Crewe, bass trombone; Neal Berntsen, trumpet; William Caballero, horn; Peter Sullivan, trombone; and George Vosburgh, trumpet.
 
Monday Night Neighborhood Concerts began at the Allegheny Center Alliance Church on the Northside on September 8.  Upcoming concerts will be held at East Liberty Presbyterian Church on September 15 and Deliverance Baptist Church in Wilkinsburg on September 22. Each Monday Night Neighborhood Concert will present the same program.
 
All concerts start at 8PM and are free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged and can be made at pittsburghsymphony.org/neighborhoodseries or 412-392-8991.
 
The annual Music for the Spirit concerts will take place on November 20 at Westminster Presbyterian in Upper St. Clair and November 22 at Cardinal Wuerl High School in Cranberry. More details about these concerts will be released in the fall.


Source: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Suzanne Perrino, Gloria Mou

Mobile boutique sets up shop in Lawrenceville

When Samantha Lugo was visiting family in New York in 2013, she frequented her first boutique on wheels. She says she was so inspired by the clothes-truck, that she said, “That’s it, I’m bringing this to Pittsburgh!”
 
In July 2013, Lugo did just that and launched Broke Little Rich Girl, Inc. mobile boutique. After one year on the road, Broke Little Rich Girl opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Lawrenceville on Saturday, Sept. 6.
 
Lugo says the 3816 Butler Street store features her signature selection of “urban” and “edgy” designs. She explains that by first launching the mobile shop, she was able to test the Pittsburgh market with styles and see what would sell at a permanent address.
 
“Lawrenceville is just such an up and coming neighborhood,” Lugo says about choosing a site for her store.“I love the vibe.”
 
The Lawrenceville location will offer a wider selection of clothing and sizes. Lugo notes that clothes will be at the same price point as the mobile unit. She said the truck will still roll around Pittsburgh and is available for private parties like “ladies nights,” where cupcakes and wine are included in her rental fee.
 
The store’s opening featured food and drink provided by local businesses, several from Lawrenceville neighbors, including Pittsburgh Winery, La Gourmandine and Coca Café.
 
Source: Samantha Lugo, Broke Little Rich Girl

Fairmont Pittsburgh Chef Jason Dalling will host a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand Friday

Fairmont Pittsburgh Executive Chef Jason Dalling will launch a one-day, pop-up BBQ stand at Andys Bar on Fri., August 29.
 
Julie Abramovic, public relations manager at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, says the pop-up menu will be "simple" and stems from Dalling’s “love for this type of casual cuisine.”

The limited menu will feature a house smoked, grass fed brisket sandwich with pickle and tomato aioli and a peanut braised pulled pork sandwich featuring pineapple and jalapeño aioli — both sandwiches are $12 and come with a side of “old school” coleslaw. All items will be available to-go from a street-side stand along Fifth Avenue.
 
“I came up with the concept because we’re already doing a lot of these house-smoked items for [events], and I wanted to bring them to a larger audience," Dalling says. "Andys is a great outlet for this concept because it is casual and accessible. Depending on how popular the BBQ is, we may decide to offer it more regularly.”
 
Abramovic invites BBQ enthusiasts and the downtown lunch crowd to celebrate the unofficial end of summer and take advantage of this one-day event. She adds that the possibility of future events will be true to the pop-up concept, only announcing the occassion a few days prior.
 
For more information, follow social media campaign “Meat Us at Andys” on Twitter at @FairmontPGH and @AndysPgh.
 
Source: Fairmont Pittsburgh, Julie Abramovic                        
 

West Elm opening next week in Bakery Square

West Elm, a retailer of modern furniture and home decor, is opening next week in Bakery Square.
 
This will be the first Pittsburgh location for the international retailer and its second in the state of Pennsylvania, according to Gregg Perelman, principal at development owner Walnut Capital.
 
“It’s the only one in the market,” Perelman said.
 
He said he thinks the store is a great addition to the high-end, tech atmosphere of Bakery Square. Perelman added that West Elm, a subsidiary of Williams-Sonoma, is a good fit when considering Bakery Square’s existing shops, Anthropologie and Trader Joe’s.
 
“They have a very strong mail order base in Pittsburgh,” Perelman added about West Elm’s attraction to setting up shop in the city.
 
With additional housing coming to the community and the development of Bakery Square 2.0, Perelman says the store will have a lot of foot traffic — in addition to being West Elm’s brick-and-mortar site for Western Pennsylvania.
 
West Elm Bakery Square will open Thursday, September 4. To stay apprised of opening news and specials, follow the location on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westelmbksq.
 
Source: Gregg Perelman

TBT: Bar Marco's hot history

It’s no surprise to patrons of Bar Marco that the building has a storied past. In case one misses the “No. 7 Engine Company” emblazoned above the restaurant’s entrance, relics of its 19th century foundation are seen in the tile walls and embellished tin ceiling.
 
The site served as a firehouse — hence the Engine Company — from 1860 to 1949, according to Bar Marco owner Robert Fry. He explains that the building was the last firehouse in the city to stop using horses to pull fire wagons. Fry says the modern entrance of Bar Marco was once the back of the firehouse, where the horses would pull up.  In 1905, the building was reoriented to face Penn Avenue. 
 
There are a few links to the firehouse’s Antebellum history that the customer does not see when visiting Bar Marco. An old hose shaft provides a ladder to the roof and there are bricked in tunnels in the wine cellar that are connected to other original buildings throughout the Strip. According to Fry, these tunnels are rumored to be part of the Underground Railroad.
 
When the Engine Company ceased operation, it became an Iron Workers’ Union Hall — the inspiration for the name of Bar Marco’s second-floor events space, The Union Hall. The building then served as offices before becoming the Firehouse Lounge and Embry.
 
The site began operating as Bar Marco in fall 2011. But before the restaurant opened its doors in January 2012, Fry and his team worked to restore the building’s history.

They pulled down dry wall and a drop down ceiling, renovated floors and brought the site back to its original glory.  
 
“We just did everything we could to bring everything back to its natural beauty,” Fry says.

Source: Robert Fry
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