Fresh ideas about design
The fountain at the point isn’t the only icon of downtown Pittsburgh that returned this month – the pair of lions of Dollar Bank also reappeared on their pedestals. Below is a timeline for these giants of Fourth Avenue.
1843 Max Kohler, who would become a stone mason and emigrate to Pittsburgh, was born in Germany.
1871 Kohler completed the on-site carving of the brownstone lions in front of the Fourth Avenue Dollar Bank, the company’s flagship branch.
1906 Two wings were added to the bank.
1908 A survey completed as part of Pittsburgh’s Sesquicentennial recorded 102 chartered banks and trust companies in this district, where the volume of transactions rivaled that of New York’s Wall Street.
2009 The original lions were removed from their pedestals and shipped to McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio for restoration.
2012 The original lions were returned to the site and installed indoors. Strada worked with Dollar Bank to design and structure new marble pedestals for the restored lions, which weigh over 9,000 pounds each (pictured below).
2013 A new duo of lions, sculpted from Berkshire brownstone by Nicholas Fairplay (also of Oberlin), was ceremoniously unveiled along with new pedestals in front of the bank. The new sculptures exhibit the same relaxed poses and precise details of the originals that now sit inside.
Visitors are welcome to enter the bank during business hours to peruse the old lions. Strada continues to work with Dollar Bank to document and restore the bank’s interior, which is considered by historians to be the best-preserved 19th century banking space in Pittsburgh.
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