Lost Pittsburgh cemetery lives on in memories
When the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation advanced work on the last segment of Interstates 279 and 579 in June 1987 on the North Side, a backhoe working just north of East Ohio Street and the 16th Street Bridge unearthed human bones.
Everything ground to a halt.
PennDOT had an archaeologist there. Federal laws protect cultural artifacts on sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places before federally funded road construction can begin. The area was eligible and had the potential to yield artifacts, but no one expected to find graves. There were no records to indicate they were there.
The Voegtly Church Cemetery, established in what was Allegheny City in 1833, had lain forgotten beneath a parking lot for many generations, but it had to be exhumed.
It was prime construction season, and PennDOT had contracts out. Fifty to 75 archaeologists worked 10-hour days, six days a week, for four months carefully unearthing remains -- row after row of Swiss and German congregants buried in 727 graves from 1833 to 1861.
The remains and artifacts were reburied under one marker in a 2003 ceremony in Troy Hill's Voegtly Evangelical Cemetery.
- Category: Voegtly Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Lost Pittsburgh cemetery lives on in memories - Pittsburgh post-Gazette