Shhh… Live Infants!

It was like painting the face of a baby on the tip of my pinky! This is the kind of work that excites me. My daughter and granddaughter modeled for this, but it is a scene from the Live Incubator Exhibit in Luna Park, Pittsburgh, back in the early 1900’s. You know, when Pittsburgh was spelled without an “h”.

Here’s the news: Not only will this painting be included in the “Art of Facts” exhibit at the Heinz History Center, (and that it won First Place!) but it is being included in Brian Butko’s newest book,  Luna: Pittsburgh’s Original Lost Kennywood. I’m so honored to be part of this wonderful book published by the Heinz History Center.

Of course, you will all be invited to the opening of the exhibit some time this summer, and to the PSI reception, date TBA.

Here’s a little slide show of the process: (Feel free to comment!)

Luna Park, an amusement park on the northern edge of Oakland, on the corner of North Craig Street and Atlantic (now Baum Blvd.) opened in May of 1905. It was the first of many Luna Parks created by Frederick Ingersoll, modeled after the Coney Island Luna Park. Ingersoll created his amusement parks with something for everyone, but certainly more out-of-the-ordinary. Not only were there coasters for thrills, tunnels for romance, restaurants, Japanese Theatre, and The Automatic Vaudeville…

… but also a menagerie of exotic animals, and a research center for premature babies that doubled as a curious attraction – The Live Infant Incubator Exhibit! The newly invented Incubator’s premier debut was at the World’s Fair. The Luna’s exhibit was staffed with professional nurses and doctors and the funds raised with  5¢ ticket sales provided the research responsible for our modern day neonatal care centers.

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Comments 1

  1. Hello Leda,

    Wow! Your art work always enchants! Love it. Appeals!

    This also twines with our Burrell history relatives.
    Grandpa Eugene E. Heard put the “h” at end of Pittsburg. Yes.
    His first wife, Edith “Edie” Heard (her parents Emma Marcia Burrell and George Washington Sumner) was the heart of his life from grade school.
    He took his optometry to downtown Pittsburg, built home atop the highest hill. His excitement demanded she ride the first roller coaster built there, he watching excitedly it being built while taking the incline plane down and up to work. (I always pictured it as a wooden curvy slope, but think may have been different.) Time prior to 1905, think it at turn of century.
    She wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to go; finally did. She became ill upon return and nothing could save her. Small pox. Her parents and sister May, my grandmother, came to be with her. Great Aunt “Edie” Evelyn’s face blotched with pox. She began embroidering a table cloth of falling cherry blossoms to leave for her Mother, Emma. Soon she put the needle down no longer able to hold it. Grampa raced to find someone to finish it for her. (I have it.) She is buried in Pittsburgh, Grampa also. They had lost a baby daughter.
    Both sister and husband standing at casket in Elyria he asked May to marry him. She choked out No! He was crazy with grief. And he didn’t stop asking. May back home in Elyria he writing from Pittsburg kept up the asking. She refusing. Year or so. He finally wrote saying, “If I were there I’d make up your mind fast enough!” (I have this in one of the over 100,000 letters.) In misery over situation May refused. However he came and when left they engaged, moved to Pittsburgh where built 2 houses, first burned. He died within a few years of Swine Flu. Had 4 children, did quite a few things first. Both very much in love.

    I’d love see picture of the coaster, have tried finding it through help of point few years back but then, nada. The point was where it was. Not sure this where coasters I looked up were.

    How exciting to create so beautifully what is in your heart.


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