ARAD Testimony Regarding Buhl Planetarium: Pat O'Hare

Transcript of Written Testimony Before the
Board of Directors of the
Allegheny Regional Asset District
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Regular Meeting of the District Board of Directors
Monday, August 27, 2001, 5:30 p.m.
Lower Level Conference Room, United Way Building
One Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15222-2221

Author: Patricia M. O'Hare

From: Pat O'Hare

To: Board of Directors, Allegheny Regional Asset District

Subject : Re: Buhl Planetarium

Date : Sat, 25 Aug 2001 08:39:06 -0600


As a former Pittsburgher and present member of the Allegheny City Society,

with family members currently living in Pittsburgh, and my family living in

Pittsburgh since 1830, I wold like to speak up regarding the Children's

Museum proposal to remove the Zeiss Projector from Buhl Planetarium. I am a

former employee of Buhl Planetarium, and I know how precious it is to the

citizens of the north side of Pittsburgh. The Zeiss was custom built for

it. If it is removed, there is no strong promise that it will ever be

reassembled. It may possibly end up in a dusty warehouse forever. And it

is entirely possible that no one will even know how to reassemble it!

The history of Buhl Planetarium should not go the way of the North Side's

Market House, and be wiped from the face of the earth. Hasn't enough of the

north side's history been eradicated by the city? Still, none of us, I

believe, oppose the Children's Museum's use of the planetarium building, but

they must understand that certain features of the Buhl, like the Zeiss

Projector and the Siderostat telescope should continue to be used.

I can remember when, as a child, my mother would take me to the sky shows at

the planetarium. To see that black monster rising up out of its pit was

horrifying, and at once fascinating! Immediately after, the entire star

view of the sky was projected onto the domed ceiling and an atmosphere of

awe filled the Star Theatre. It was a truly magical experience, no matter

what age the child, and something that those of us who witnessed it will

never forget.

I would support the Children's Museum's use of the Planetarium Building only

if the Zeiss Projector is left in place and used as it was when I was young,

to show the heavens at any time of the year, and not only in this century,

but how the stars looked at any time in pre-history, and then again, what

they will look like centuries from now. I would also ask that the history

of the Planetarium and what it stands for, would be respected. I suggest

that this issue be brought before the people of the north side and discussed

in a public hearing. I trust the people that I grew up with and worked

alongside to make the right decision and to make their own impassioned pleas

to the Board.

The Zeiss Projector itself is the heart of the Planetarium, and once we

allow it to be removed, there is a possibility that the building may be

gutted or even razed. We cannot allow this to happen to one more historic

North Side building.


Patricia M. O'Hare

Huachuca City, Arizona