Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Project Completed: 2010
The Fairmont Hotel is located in Downtown Pittsburgh at Three PNC Plaza. CDC completed a Criteria of Effect Report for the Downtown Retail Historic District and conducted Phase I and II Archaeological Surveys and a Phase III Data Recovery for this complex urban project. The excavations revealed 13 archaeological sites dating from 1845 to 1868 and over 25,000 artifacts, which were recovered from multiple features buried up to 26 feet below Fifth Avenue. Amidst a sea of rock, concrete, and metal were fragile hand-painted dolls, gilded French urns, a sash pistol, and thousands of other unique artifacts.
While on site, CDC’s team coordinated with construction crews to ensure that archaeological work could be safely completed during construction, all under the watchful eyes of Pittsburgher’s who observed the site from their offices in nearby high-rise buildings. Once excavations were complete, CDC undertook the extensive artifact analysis and historical research needed to identify the businesses and people from Pittsburgh’s past to which the sites and the artifacts found within them once belonged.
The history of the Pittsburgher’s who built their lives and businesses in this part of the city were revealed through the artifacts that were recovered. Some of these artifacts are now on permanent display throughout the Fairmont Hotel: in each floor’s elevator lobby, in the main lobby, and in the Business Center. Exhibit cases were custom designed to showcase artifacts from each of the 13 sites. CDC prepared the text for the exhibit content, labels, and interpretive panels for all the exhibit cases.