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Union Orthotics and Prosthetics

the mosaic
the building

Companies come and go, but buildings tend to stick around. On the section of Liberty Ave., between Bloomfield and the Strip District (two Pittsburgh neighborhoods, for those of you not from the area), there are two particularly random examples and one mural (actually, a mosaic).

On the front of Union Orthotics and Prosthetics' main office (almost directly across the street from the excellent Church Brew Works), there's a mosaic about electricity. It's got a kite and key, a couple pictures of electric plants (coal and hydro, I guess), a tower for high voltage lines, and, in the background, an outlet. Really, it's rather tastefully done for what it is. But then, why's it on the front of an orthotics and prosthetics company? Seems like maybe once upon a time, perhaps an electric utility owned the building. (I'm assuming it was a utility and not a contractor because only a public utility would spend its money on a mural instead of, say, paying the CEO or shareholders.)

A little further up the street, a building that is currently a Quizno's Sub was, as recently as September 2003, Hangar Prosthetic (apparently the 3500-4000 block of Liberty Ave. is prosthetic city). The usual queasiness in associating medical stuff and food kept me from trying that Quizno's for a while, but I finally managed to do it. Better than Subway, sure, but I prefer Uncle Sam's.

So what have we learned? The life cycle of buildings is apparently: electric utility, then prosthetics specialist, then sub shop. Only time will tell what a sub shop turns into.

The top picture is the mosaic, of course. And the bottom picture is the building itself. Click on either for larger versions.

Update: Searches on the Allegheny County Real Estate Property Values site reveal that Sargent Electric owns a lot of property in that neighborhood. I'm thinking Sargent's probably the company that built the building and put up the mosaic.


Would love to have the sign and some commentary for Pittsburgh Signs Project: http://markstroup.com/pittsburghsigns/

Could use an explanation of "orthotic".

Sure thing. I'll get in touch with you via email.

Mmmmm, Quizno's. In spite of the freaky commercials, they're a decent national chain. Certainly a step above Subway (although probably a step down on the healthly scale), but as you said, not Uncle Sam's (or most local pizza shops, which serve the same basic style of sub)

"Freaky" is an understatement, but hey, it's "art." Or so this Slate article http://slate.msn.com/id/2095868 claims. But regardless, since we're on the subject of hoagies, I should mention that my all-time number-1 must-have worth-getting-off-the-turnpike-for hoagie experience is Hoagie Haven's "#1". Their menu and a picture of the owner is here, http://www.njyp.com/hogmen.htm

Mmmm, toasty. Quizno's rules over Subway, any day. I do like Jersey Mike's also, but it is way up on the unhealthy meter.