Pittsburgh International Airport

Statues of George Washington and Franco Harris Take a Brief Hiatus From Pittsburgh International Air


Statues of George Washington and Franco Harris Take a Brief Hiatus From Pittsburgh International Airport for a Makeover

PITTSBURGH — After more than a decade of greeting millions of visitors at Pittsburgh International Airport, statues of founding father George Washington and Steelers great Franco Harris have been temporarily removed from their popular perch in the Airside Terminal for refurbishment.
Curators and conservators from the Senator John Heinz History Center removed the display on Friday morning, March 15, to reconstruct, clean and update the uniforms of both figures. The History Center will also work with LifeFormations in Bowling Green, Ohio, to strengthen the figures’ arms and hands as well as repaint their facial features.
The statues will be reinstalled at the airport this summer, where the iconic statues will remain for the foreseeable future.
“Our passengers love George and Franco. We love having them here as unofficial ambassadors of the region. We look forward to having them rejoin us here soon,” said Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis.
The figures are among the most popular installations at the airport, and passengers often stop to take selfies with them as they arrive in Pittsburgh. For many of them, George and Franco are as much a sign of “home” as bridges and rivers.
“Each year, millions of airport travelers are welcomed to Pittsburgh by young George Washington and Franco Harris – a couple of athletic, 6-foot-2, 22-year-olds who made history right here in Pittsburgh. With the airport set for a facelift, it’s fitting that our figures receive a much-needed makeover after years of love, adoration and thousands of selfies,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the Senator John Heinz History Center.
The George Washington figure depicts the nation’s first president as a young British soldier who learned valuable lessons in Western Pa. during the French & Indian War. The Franco Harris figure depicts the rookie Pittsburgh Steelers fullback making the Immaculate Reception – one of the most famous plays in football history – to lead the team to a 7-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 23, 1972. It was the first playoff victory in franchise history and became the catalyst for the Steelers’ four Super Bowl championships during the 1970s.
About Allegheny County Airport Authority:
Allegheny County Airport Authority, which manages Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport, is committed to transforming Pittsburgh’s airports to reflect and serve the community, inspire the industry, and advance the region’s role as a world leader. Its 2018 Annual Report detailing growth and improved financial position can be found at http://www.flypittsburgh.com/ar18.
Pittsburgh International Airport serves more than 9 million passengers annually on 17 carriers. Air Transport World named Pittsburgh International its 2017 Airport of the Year. Travel + Leisure and J.D. Power have again named Pittsburgh International a Top 10 Domestic Airport in 2018.