Schenley Plaza and Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, Pittsburgh

Schenley Plaza and Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, Pittsburgh

Schenley Plaza, at the heart of Pittsburgh's Oakland district, marks the gateway to Schenley Park. This 4.5-acre public park, located at Forbes Avenue and Schenley Drive, boasts various amenities and attractions amidst a hub of educational, cultural, and medical institutions. It features various gardens, food kiosks, public meeting spaces, a carousel, and an expansive 1.0-acre "Emerald Lawn," which provides free wireless internet access, catering to both leisure and functional needs of visitors.

The plaza is not just a recreational space but also a hub for public art and memorials, including the Christopher Lyman Magee Memorial and the historic University of Pittsburgh's Frick Fine Arts Building. The plaza is also surrounded by many prominent landmarks, including the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning, Stephen Foster Memorial, Hillman Library, and Posvar Hall, as well as the Carnegie Institute and its Dippy sculpture.

In 1921, Schenley Plaza was designed by Horace Wells Sellers and H. Bartol Register, winning a competition. The design included a central oval surrounded by grassy areas and London plane trees. Notably, the plaza houses the Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, honoring Pittsburgh's generous philanthropist and marking the entrance to Schenley Park.

The Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain, also known as "A Song to Nature," is a bronze and granite sculpture created by Victor David Brenner in 1918. It is prominently located in Schenley Plaza, directly in front of the University of Pittsburgh's Frick Fine Arts Building. As a contributing property to the Schenley Farms Historic District, the fountain is more than just an artistic landmark; it is a piece of Pittsburgh's historical fabric.

Mary Schenley's philanthropy extended across various sectors, including donations to churches, public schools, and significant parcels of land to the city, notably the land for Schenley Park in 1889. Her legacy is cemented in the city's landscape, with numerous landmarks bearing her name, including Schenley High School, Schenley Hotel, Schenley Bridge, Schenley Park, Schenley Plaza, Schenley Quadrangle, Schenley Tunnel, and the Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain itself.

The sculpture features two main figures: a reclining Pan, the Greek god of the wild, shepherds, and flocks, symbolizing the connection between nature and humanity, and a female singer playing a lyre, embodying the harmony between human creativity and the natural world. Water flows from the mouths of four turtles along the fountain's rim, adding a dynamic element to the sculpture.

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Schenley Plaza and Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain on Map

Sight Name: Schenley Plaza and Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain
Sight Location: Pittsburgh, USA (See walking tours in Pittsburgh)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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