There are tons and tons and tons of rocks in our parks: big, small, flat, round, sedimentary, metamorphic, igneous -- you name it! Still, finding the ideal rock for a particular job is harder than it may seem.
In order to install a bronze plaque recognizing our generous donors for their support in restoring Westinghouse Memorial, we needed a rock that was big enough to fit the plaque, but not so big that it dwarfed it. We wanted it to look natural, but needed it to have a relatively flat face for installation.
We couldn’t find one in Public Works salvage yards. We couldn’t move others from deeper in the woods. Many were too small, others too flat. Some just weren’t the right color. Eventually, it took a trip up to a Butler County sandstone quarry to find the rock that we were looking for.
Once it was delivered to the site -- which took a forty foot crane working at maximum capacity -- we had to get someone to put our bronze plaque in it. Again, harder (this time, literally) than you might think. Our installer, stone-cutter Angelo Gatto (www.angelogatto.com), spent hours cutting and chiseling, again and again, to slowly and carefully remove enough material for the plaque.
Gatto used a diamond saw blade to cut channels into the rock at regular intervals, then used a hammer and chisel to remove bits of the rock, one tiny chunk at a time. After he finally got the recess deep enough, he chipped off excess edges, drilled holes for posts that would secure the plaque, and glued bronze to stone.
Ultimately, while it may have taken awhile to make, it will last for ages. This painstaking work was done in gratitude to these major contributors, as well as the hundreds of other who joined them in supporting this important restoration.
Stop by the recently restored Westinghouse Memorial anytime to take a look at our newest park rock!
Gavin White, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Community Projects Manager