"Elizabeth Pietzak"   View Contact Details


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Save The Zeiss and Buhl -Letter--Steve P..


Wed, 13 Jul 2005 03:56:58 -0400

Dear Sir,

I encourage you to save the Zeiss Projector and the Old Buhl Science Center Building and make it a place where visitors want to come and see the City of Pittsburgh.

While walking through the Allegheny Center Mall area, families have stopped me and asked me where the Buhl Planetarium is ? I told them that the Buhl Planetarium was closed and the Children’s Museum acquired and renovated the OLD Buhl Planetarium for the Children’s Museum. I said that the new Science Center down by the river, which has replaced the Buhl Planetarium. The people tell me that when they where children they came to the Buhl Planetarium. Now, they are visiting from out of town and wanted to see their old "Childhood Planetarium" that created a lot of important and lasting memories for them.

Pittsburgh has a lot of history to offer visitors and residents—it’s up to us to preserve and make these items available to all people.

Pittsburgh must work to strengthen and create and develop the historic buildings and sites that made Pittsburgh a Great Historical Site and THE Gateway to the West!

The more history that we save and develop the greater the tourism for the City, the County and the State.


Stephen D. Pietzak



The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science opened in 1939 as the last major planetarium constructed before World War II, and the fifth Zeiss planetarium installation in America. The original Buhl Planetarium had several historic firsts:

----First planetarium projector placed on an elevator, to increase flexibility in the Theater of the Stars;

---- First planetarium theater which included a permanent theatrical stage;

---- First planetarium theater (and, perhaps, first theater) to install a special sound system specifically for the hearing impaired—remember, this was in 1939 !;

---- First publicly-owned building in the City (and, possibly, the State) constructed with air-conditioning;

---- First permanent Siderostat Telescope specifically designed for public use;

---- First regional Science Fair for school students (from 26 counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia) in the country started at Buhl Planetarium in the Spring of 1940. Only two statewide science fairs are older than the annual Pittsburgh Regional School Science and Engineering Fair.