March 1, 2001
Mrs. John B.
To Whom It May Concern:
It has been called to our attention that BUHL has been closed to the Public with no immediate plans to re-open as a Public Facility. This is very sad news, as we and our Families spent many enjoyable hours at BUHL. This unique experience must be made available to the future generations, and I do not feel that that it can be duplicated at another site.
As a taxpayer of Allegheny County, I feel that Our wishes are not heard.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
John and Lois B.
March 7, 2001
Save the Buhl
P0 Box 431
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
Dear Sir or Madam,
While growing up on Pittsburgh's North Side, I attended classes at the Buhl and in college served as a tourguide. I remember, fondly, demonstrating the 10" Siderostat telescope.
I now live in Cave Creek, Arizona, just north of Phoenix, where I have built a personal observatory. Arid, I often wonder what would have eventually become of me if not for the influence of the Buhl Planetarium and the wonderiul people there.
I wish to express my support for the Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science and my appreciation for its uniqueness and importance to the community and I would welcome the oppurtunity to contribute to its continuance.
Cave Creek, AZ
Buhl Planetarium Tourguide 1965-1966
From: Carl O.
To whom it may concern,
I has been called to my attention that the Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science located at One Allegheny Square in the city of Pittsburgh, has been closed to the public. It is also my understanding that the city has no immediate plans to re-open the facility, now or in the future.
I was saddened by this news. The Buhi Planetarium holds a number of great memories for me. Seeing the planets through the telescope on the roof was very exciting, and who can forget the Zeiss Projector rising from the floor at the start of the sky shows. It bothers me to think that those experiences may be gone forever.
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science must be open to the public. The Buhl Planetarium and its contents are regional and national historical significance. This facility contains artifacts and equipment that are unequaled anywhere in the world. The Zeiss Star Projector and its mounting configuration exist nowhere else but in Pittsburgh. This historical and scientific legacy created by its staff and contents must be perpetuated.
Due to the unique nature of the facility, I believe that the Buhl can continue as an institution of scientific discovery without directly competing with the city's current science center. The same situation successtully exists in Columbus, Ohio and London, England.
Please consider this letter as a vote for keeping The Buhl Planetarium open to the public as a science museum and a part of Pittsburgh's history and scientific tradition.
March, 3, 2001
To whom it may concern,
I found the recent article in the Pittsburgh City Paper concerning the fate of the Buhl Science Center most interesting.
I also find it disturbing, however, that such an important part of our history is being sacrificed without so much as a protest from the citizenry.
Generations of Western Pennsylvanians have delighted and learned from the fantastic star show at the Buhl Planetarium, due in no small part to the Zeis Model II star projector.
I feel it is very important to our future to not only remember, but preserve our past. It is a part of what makes us the people we are today.
Saving the Buhl is a worthwhile endeavor. Lets make the effort now, before damage to the old planetarium and its contents reaches irreversible levels!
Menlo Park, CA
19 February 2001
To Whom It May Concern:
Everyone has a place.
A place to go. A place to be. A place to feel safe. A place to calm down. A place that makes you smile every time you see it.
Buhl is that place for me. It feels like it has always been a part of my life. As a child, I remember waiting outside by the fountain for my brother to finish his sumuner class - and dreaming of the day when I, too, would take classes inside that building with the fascinating carvings. As a youngster, I remember going to watch lunar eclipses with my family, enjoying afternoons exploring its cavernous interior, and having those summer classes ignite my life-long interest in science. As a young adult, I remember having the privilege of working there.
The privilege of working there.
There aren't many places you can say that about. There aren't many high school and college jobs you can remember with such fondness. It truly was a privilege, to be a part of the rich history that is Buhl. To be a part of Pittsburgh's history.
This history is not one that has to have an end. It breaks my heart to think of Buhl sitting idle. I am probably not the only one who does not consider a trip to Pittsburgh to be real until I can see that green dome in the skyline. Until I can touch its walls. Until I can read its carved inscriptions. "There is one glory of the sun and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory." How can these words not make you look up in awe? How can these words not make you think of all the glory that is still waiting to be discovered? How can these words be lost?
I am not the only one that has been inspired by these words at Buhl. I will always cherish the wonderment in the faces of the children that I explained scientific principles to during demonstrations. The breathless intensity of the families that climbed several flights of stairs to look at sun spots for the first time, aided by one of the only public telescopes in the middle of a major city. The amazement of first-time computer users when printing a keepsake picture of Jake (the affectionate nickname of our unique, historic, and still-functional Zeiss Model II star projector). The joy of parents watching their children be fascinated by finally figuring out how something works. The contagious wonder overpowering the parents as they, in turn, were fascinated by the next exhibit.
The City of Pittsburgh can keep this history alive. To embrace the unique opportunity of showcasing two complimentary science centers in one city: Carnegie Science Center, explaining the principles behind science and technology, and a revitalized Buhl, reflecting what we have done with that knowledge. Buhl deserves to be reopened as a museum dedicated to mankind's fascination with those glorious stars and as an homage to the Pittsburghers who have helped us get there, such as Jim Irwin and Jay Apt, two hometown astronauts who cite Buhl as an early inspiration to reach for the heavens.
As an adult, Buhl is still a part of my life. It still has the ability to make me smile when I think about it. It still has the ability to inspire me to explore. And, if given the chance, it still has the ability to bring the glory of the stars just a little closer within reach of others.
It would be a privilege for the City of Pittsburgh to continue the history of this place. Please don't close the book on Buhl.
Rebecca R., Research Chemist
To whom it may concern,
I has been called to my attention that the Buhi Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science located at One Allegheny Square in the city of Pittsburgh, has been closed to the public. It is also my understanding that the city has no immediate plans to re-open the facility, now or in the future. I was saddened by this news. The Buhl Planetarium holds a number of great memories for me. Seeing the planets through the telescope on the roof was very exciting, and who can forget the Zeiss Projector rising from the floor at the start of the sky shows. It bothers me to think that those experiences may be gone forever.
The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science must be open to the public. The Buhl Planetarium and its contents are of regional and national historical significance. This facility contains artifacts and equipment that are unequaled anywhere in the world. The Zeiss Star Projector and its mounting configuration exist nowhere else but in Pittsburgh. This historical and scientific legacy created by its staff and contents must be perpetuated. Due to the unique nature of the facility, I believe that the Buhl can continue as an institution of scientific discovery without directly competing with the city's current science center. The same situation successfully exists in Columbus, Ohio and London, England.
Please consider this letter as a vote for keeping Buhl Planetarium open to the public as a science museum Pittsburgh's history and scientific tradition.
Science and Technology
A former steel town turned its sights to the future of science and technology. The Buhl Planetarium is part of the Pittsburgh trend. Now it's time to save part of history. The Buhl Planetarium touched the lives of many individuals in the Pittsburgh area. It once was a teaching facility that brought much inspiration to many young minds. Although it's not currently in operating condition, it is part of Pittsburgh's educational experience. Don't destroy the past for it can never be recreated once lost. Save the foundation of science in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh's Buhl Planetarium is part of our history!
Michael and Jennifer R. and Son
March 15, 2001
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN;
This is a critical moment in the life of a landmark institution in Pittsburgh's cultural and educational history. The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, once the source of awe and inspiration to hundreds of thousands of Pittsburgh children and adults, is in jeopardy of being converted to purposes other than those for which it was designed and built and of becoming, quite literally, the merest shell of its former glorious self.
Although closed to the public in 1994 and ransacked in the interim of many of its treasures, the Buhl retains all of its architectural integrity, from its unique exterior lines and ornamentation to its remarkable Florentine marble floors and pendulum pit. Also remaining is the centerpiece instrument around which the Planetarium was designed: the fabulous Zeiss II Planetarium Projector, still operable and the only original of its type left in the world. Together, the Zeiss and the building that houses it provided a science learning experience to generations of Pittsburghers that was inspirational and singularly memorable. The Buhl has the potential to do this again: it is the aim and the dream of some of us that it will.
However, the Buhl has become the target of an expansion plan by the adjacent Pittsburgh Children's Museum. The Museum's director recently held a design competition for a plan to convert the Buhl to additional museum exhibit space, offices and other uses unrelated to the Planetarium's purposes to inspire and educate the public about science. Submitted designs include plans to change the building exterior in various ways that would degrade the integrity of the building's monolithic form. All designs call for the removal of the Zeiss projector to storage or other unspecified fate at the Carnegie Science Center. It could be said that the Zeiss, now a priceless and functional device, would become a scientific curio of little value if ever removed from the Buhl.
Even though the Children's Museum seems well on the road to achieving its purpose for the Planetarium, it does not yet have legal possession of the building, and there is time for consideration of alternate uses for the Buhl. Former Buhl instructor Timm Barczy has developed a proposal to reopen the Buhl as a center for popular interest in space exploration and 21st Century astronomy. The Zeiss would continue to inspire and educate, and Pittsburgh would at last have a place to celebrate its numerous ties to the space program. I support Mr. Barczy's proposal and will work to bring its merits to the attention of the many decision-makers who will together decide the Buhl's fate.
Too often in recent days the values and icons of Pittsburgh history have been pushed aside in the rush to construct a vision of Pittsburgh which reflects the esthetics of a political and financial elite, without an assessment of the desire of the populace to preserve potential historic and cultural values. Such an assessment should be part of the decision process in determining the future of the Buhl Planetarium. If you have visited the Buhl in the past, you know what is at risk of being lost forever. If you have not, I hope the day will come when you can experience the awe and inspiration that others have had the joy of finding at the Buhl. Please consider assisting all efforts to save the Buhl from a fate that it and the people of Pittsburgh do not deserve.
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