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Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum facts for kids

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Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial
U.S. Historic district
Contributing property
SoldiersMemorial Pittsburgh.jpg
Front view of the memorial and its lawn from Fifth Avenue
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Built 1908-1910
Architect Henry Hornbostel
Architectural style Beaux-Arts
Part of Schenley Farms Historic District (ID83002213)
NRHP reference No. 74001746
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 30, 1974
Designated CP July 22, 1983

Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum (or often simply Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall) is a National Register of Historic Places landmark in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. It is the largest memorial in the United States dedicated solely to honoring all branches of military veterans and service personnel.

It was conceived by the Grand Army of the Republic in the 1890s as a way for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to honor the dwindling ranks of its American Civil War veterans; it was built on what had served as the army mustering ground during the Civil War. The Memorial today represents all branches of the service and honors both career and citizen soldiers who have served the United States throughout its history.

Architect Henry Hornbostel designed the memorial in 1907. Dedicated in 1910, the building is in the Beaux-Arts style and is heroic in scale. It is located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh at 4141 Fifth Avenue (although the walkway leading to its main entrance is signed as "Matthew Ridgway Blvd." in honor of the World War II and Korean War hero who called Pittsburgh home) and adjacent to the University of Pittsburgh campus and its Cathedral of Learning. The building is set back from Fifth Avenue, featuring expansive and well-kept lawns dotted with large cannons and other war implements. Side streets flanking the building are Bigelow Boulevard and University Place; directly behind is O'Hara Street.

The Memorial houses rare and one-of-a-kind exhibits that span the eras from the Civil War to the present day conflicts. Since 1963 it has operated the "Hall of Valor" to honor individual veterans from the region who went above and beyond the call of duty. Today the hall has over 600 honorees among them are Medal of Honor, The Kearny Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross winners.

The building houses an auditorium seating 2,500, a banquet hall, and meeting rooms, in addition to its museum. The expansive lawn of the memorial sits on top of an underground parking garage operated under a long-term lease by the University of Pittsburgh.

It has served as host for many city, civic, university, and business events including the April 25, 1978 Gulf Oil Corporation shareholders meeting.

Filming location

  • Silence of the Lambs had the hall fill in for the "Memphis Courthouse" scenes, including the escape scene. All were filmed completely at Soldiers & Sailors.
  • Sorority Row had its graduation scenes filmed at the hall.
  • Dog Jack shot many scenes at the Memorial and hosted its premier in the Museum.

Famous visitors

  • Ferdinand Foch visited the hall in 1921.
  • Garner Ted Armstrong of The World Tomorrow spoke at The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall on March 25, 1978.
  • G. E. Lowman spoke at the hall on April 23, 1938, and again in 1962
  • Nelson Mandela spoke at the hall on December 6, 1991.
  • Barack Obama visited the hall in 2008.
  • Donald Trump spoke at the hall on April 13, 2016.



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