Allegheny Land Trust (ALT) is raising support and funds for the purchase of a piece of property for conservation, the former Pittsburgh Cut Flower (PCF) business property. Often the conservation areas they establish are already more or less greenspace and uninhabited and you might think an area where flowers were grown for cutting and distribution nationwide is ready for all-season outdoor enjoyment. In this case, however, the 150-acre property includes 30 acres of abandoned buildings and materials left behind from growing, preparing, packing and shipping perfect flowers, and this needs to be remediated with purchase of the property.
One of ALT’s goals with conserving a piece of land is to make it work for the community around it, benefiting the public good by helping to manage stormwater runoff and thereby reducing the chance of flooding in downstream communities, for instance. In the case of the PCF land, a portion of the acreage also has potential for reuse as a solar farm or other passive use that could generate economic benefit for the community.
And aside from ALT’s goals with this 150 acres, Pittsburgh Cut Flower was a local family business established in 1898 and which purchased this property in 1901, was a local employer ,and the family lived in a mansion on the site—the business and the family were an important part of the community. The greenhouses on this property ceased operation in 1990, but it’s still fondly remembered by the community.
Determining what to do with this property, and how to do it, will in part be determined by the community itself.
The invitation design
This design invites people to a historical review and display of documents and artifacts from PCF, and then invites the community to give input on what they’d like to see the property become once the dilapidated buildings and all other hazards are removed. We’d included articles about PCF in each of the last three Vistas newsletters so I was familiar with the project and also had a file of images of what the property looked like now.
I wanted to tie together the past of the business and the future of the property and the community. Recalling antique post cards which many businesses at the turn of the last century used as portable advertising, I used a photo of one of the production buildings with a tall stack that reflected on a pond on the property as an easily recognizable symbol of industry, placing it in sepia tones with the name of the business in a decorative box at the bottom so it looked like one of those old post cards. I added rounded corners and darkened the edges, and placed it on an angle on the “surface” of the post card, using traditional and antique-looking fonts.
Then to show the future, what better than fresh flowers? Initially I had used one of my rain-soaked daisies, but PCF was known for the quality of their roses. The customer provided me with a photo of a rich red rose from the present day, growing up from the mess of a dilapidated greenhouse. A red rose with all its symbolism, especially within this company itself, in the lower left atop the image of the industrial building, all against a blue-sky background, fit fine.
This post card will not be mailed but will be included in another mailing, so there was no need for a mailing area on the back. The explanation of the event, details, and the same red rose reinforced the idea of the event.