University of Pittsburgh
December 9, 2010

Pitt Preservation Class Nominates Bloomfield Mansion for National Register of Historic Places

Students will present their findings at the mansion on Dec. 14
Contact: 

Sharon Blake

412-624-4364

Cell: 412-277-6926

PITTSBURGH—Ten students in the University of Pittsburgh’s Documentation and Conservation Studio course have spent the Fall 2010 academic term poring over historic maps, photographs, deeds, and building permits as part of their effort to nominate the former Ursuline Academy of Pittsburgh, at 201 S. Winebiddle St., Bloomfield, to the National Register of Historic Places. 

Ursuline AcademyThe building, now the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh, has been a hands-on laboratory for Pitt students learning how to research historic buildings. The students will release their findings in a free public presentation at 7 p.m. Dec. 14 in the building’s auditorium. 

Working under Pitt instructor Jeff Slack, a historic preservation planner at Pfaffmann + Associates, PC, Downtown, the class spent the semester tracing the history of the 21-room mansion built for Henry J. Lynch in the late 1860s. They also learned what was required to achieve National Register status. 

The students completed the National Register nomination form, which will be presented to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in January for its review. If approved, PHMC will send it to the National Park Service in Washington, DC, for final review. After receiving Park Service approval, the property would then be listed on the National Register. 

“The nomination is the result of the ongoing work begun in 2008 by Pitt preservation students that included a detailed evaluation of the physical condition of the building,” said Slack. “But this year, the students’ work focuses more so on research that shows the far-reaching educational contributions of the Ursuline Academy to the local community.” 

The Ursuline Academy opened in that location in 1894 and operated until 1981. It was an elite progressive academy for young women with an emphasis on philosophy, public speaking, and foreign languages. In 1993, the building was sold, restored, and named Victoria Hall, a venue for weddings and celebrations. The Waldorf School bought the property in 2003. 

Pitt’s Documentation and Conservation Studio course is offered through the Architectural Studies Program in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences. 

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