George Washington and Guyasuta: Point of View


I did not recognize George Washington in this bronze sculpture done by James West on Mt. Washington. I suppose I can be forgiven, seeing as how I never met the guy in person. He is also not wearing his iconic powdered wig. The view he and Guyasuta have from up there is amazing; I would even posit the best view that any sculpture in Pittsburgh has (and I swear that I wrote that before finding this PopCityMedia article).

Guyasuta was a leader of the Seneca tribe who has also had a Boy Scout camp and fire department named in his honor. He and GW met in 1770 along the Ohio River and negotiated about trade, that the Seneca wanted, and settlements that violated the Royal Proclamation of 1763 that they didn’t. Washington only wrote in his diary that they parted as friends.

Sad worn-out sign

The sculpture was erected in 2006, so Discovering Pittsburgh Sculpture doesn’t have anything to say on it ;) I thought I saw Our Boy Mayor Ravenstahl in the accompanying sign, but I couldn’t be quite sure… seeing as how most of it has worn away already. Your city at work, ladies and gentlemen!

The statue was cast at A.R.T. Research Enterprises in Lancaster, PA, which happens to be where I grew up.

I’m really amazed at how quickly the bronze has aged! Take a look at the color of the statue when it was put up in 2006 versus now, just 3 years later:

Statue in 2006
photo courtesy of the Post Gazette
2009, with patina
2006 2009

I’m amused that from the angle that I took the 2009 picture there, it looks like they are kissing. I like that interpretation better than the “mood… of tension and balance” that PopCity sees.

James West is a local developer, which can be somewhat of a dirty word in Pittsburgh, but West seems to be one of the good ones. His efforts fundraising and creating this sculpture and then donating it to the city have helped make this park a beautiful piece of green space on some prime property. He’s also a member of Hiram’s Riders, a Pittsburgh motorcycling club. He has hopes that the symbolism of resolving personal differences will inspire people to do the same, perhaps working on marital differences while watching the sunset and then going to have a nice, expensive dinner at one of the Mt. Washington restaurants. Sounds good to me!

The statue is part of the Mt. Washington Community Development Corporation’s efforts to improve the parks in the area. The materials for the statue cost about $130,000, covered by private donors, while the city donated the land, material for the base and a handicapped-accessible sidewalk.

Guyasuta's face

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