Jefferson Madison Center for Religions Liberty
 
Educating Americans about religious liberty as expressed
by founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

 
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F.O.E. Ten Commandment Monuments in Pennyslvania (12)


Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
P. J. Caul Memorial Park
Screenshot: Google Maps street view December 2015
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
Ambridge, PA Ten Commandments Monument
P. J. Caul Memorial Park; the monument (excluding the base) is approx. 45 inches in height
Photo of the Ambridge Decalog and Robert V. Ritter (Aug. 2009)
Ambridge, Pennsylvania
1955 Ambridge Dedication
Photo available at http://ambridgememories.blogspot.com/2015/07/golden-jubilee-let-celebration-begin.html
Story: Altho the Chicago monolith was the first Ten Commandments monument gifted to a city (at the FOE’s 1954 Convention), the Ambridge monolith is particularly significant because it the first monument to be placed by the Fraternal Order of Eagles at public park, courthouse, city hall or school.

Donated by FOE: 1955

Location: : P. J. Caul Memorial Park, to the left of the U.S. Post Office at 1020 Merchant St.

Scroll: “Presented To / The Burough Of Ambridge / On Its 50TH Anniversary / 1905 —— 1955 / By The Fraternal Order Of Eagles / Aerie 1365”



Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville Municipal Building
Screenshot: Google Maps street view May 2012
Brownsville, Pennsylvania
Brownsville, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Donated by FOE: 1957

Location: Brownsville Municipal Building, 200 2nd St.

Scroll: “Presented To / Community Of Brownsville / By / Brownsville Aerie 1356 / May 1957”



Clearfield, Pennsylvania
Clearfield, Pennsylvania
Clearfield, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Clearfield County Courthouse
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (August 2009)
Clearfield, Pennsylvania
Monument on the left added after 2009
Photo available at Flickr.com by Steve Rust

Donated by FOE: 1973

Location: On the steps of the Clearfield County Courthouse, 1 North Second St.

Scroll: “Presented To / Clearfield County / Clearfield Aerie No. 812 / Fraternal Order Of Eagles / 1973”

Notes: The Ten Commandments monuments on the steps of the courthouse suggests either: (1) justice is for “Christians and Jews Only” or (2) Judeo-Christian law, not American law, is to be applied by the court.

The monument on the left was added to the courthouse steps possibly to establish a “multi-mounument defense” should a lawsuit be filed challenging the presence of the Ten Commandments monument. However, its not multiple monuments per se that provide a defense, but whether there are monuments of other relgions or nonbelief.



Connelsville, Pennsylvania
Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Ten Commandments monument on church property with
Connellsville Area Senior High School in the background
Photo by Robert V. Ritter
Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Connellsville, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)
Connelsville, Pennsylvania
Dedication at Connellsville Area Junior High School (1957)
Photo by Herald Standard

Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Church property on the left of the driveway,
school property on the right
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)

Donated by FOE: 1957 (The dedication was held June 3, 1957.)

Current Location: Moved October 8, 2015 to Connellsville Church of God, 126 Breakneck Avenue

Original Location: Connellsville Area Junior High School now Connellsville Junior High East, 710 Locust St.

Scroll: “Presented To / Connellsville Joint High School / By / Connellsville Aerie No. 493 / Fraternal Orders Of Eagles / May13, 1957”

Litigation: Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a lawsuit September 27, 2012.




Hanover, Pennsylvania
Honover, Pennyslvania
Wirt Park
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (Aug. 2009)
Honover, Pennyslvania
Hanover, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Wirt Park
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (Aug. 2009)

Donated by FOE: August 17, 1957

Location: A 15 ft. x 15 ft. “carve-out” in Wirt Park, High St. between W. Park Ave. and Gail St. (On private property.)

Scroll: “Presented To / Borough of Hanover / By / The Hanover Aerie No. 1406 / Fraternal Order Of Eagles”

Notes: There is a sign on park property on the backside of the carve-out describing the History of the 10 Commandments Monolith as follows:

May 1958 the Hanover Eagles Aerie #1406 Fraternal Order of Eagles, erected the 10 Commandments Monument in Wirt Park, a Hanover Borough park.

April 2004 haover Borough Council petitioned the York County Orphan’s Court for the right to sell a fifteen (15) foot plot of land where the monument stands to Gitt-Moul Historic Properties, Inc., a non-profit which preserves local historic structures.

The Court approved this sale and in December 2004, the Ten Commandments Monument and property were transferred by deed to Gitt-Moul Historic Properties which maintains the property and monument. The Gitt-Moul Historic Properties monument property is open to the public. The Borough of Hanover does not maintain the property, is not the owner of the property, and performs no municipal function in relation to the monument property.


Comment: This land sale, and several others like it (.e.g., La Crosse, Wisconsin), are sham land sales to circumvent the First Amendment’s prohibition against governmental acts “respecting an establishment of religion.” Furthermore, it is an abuse of the public trust for a government to sell public land to a private entitity for a private purpose.



Monessen, Pennsylvania
Monessen, Pennyslvania
Monessen City Park
23rd Psalm monument on the left, Ten Commandments monument on the right
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2006)
Monessen, Pennyslvania
Monessen, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Donated by the Aerie

Monessen, Pennyslvania
Photos by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)
Monessen, Pennyslvania
23rd Psalm donated by the Auxiliary
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)

Monessen, Pennyslvania
Ted Harhai, Pa. House
of Representatives, 58th Dist.
and former Mayor of Monessen
at the Monessen Park Amplitheater
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)

Donated by FOE: 1957

Location: Monessen City Park

Scroll: “Presented To / The City Of Monessen / By / New Monessen Aerie No. 2399 / Fraternal Order of Eagles / 1957”

Notes: As I was wondering around Monessen Park looking for the Ten Commandments monument, I came across Ted Harhai talking with a friend at the amplitheater. Ted took me to the monument, which was nearby. He said that once Monessen built the amplitheater, the area around the Ten Commandments and 23rd Palsm monuments (which once had a concession stand between them) was neglected. I enjoyed our long conversation about the history of Monessen City Park and that we held similar views about the state of politics. / Robert V. Ritter



Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Chess Park
Screenshot: Google Maps street view August 2012
Monongahela, Pennsylvania
Monongahela, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Chess Park
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)

Donated by FOE: October 1957

Location: Chess Park between a Veteran’s War Memorial and a band stand (Main Street between 7th St. and West Alley).

Scroll: “Presented To / The City Of Monongahela / By / Fraternal Order Of Eagles / Aerie No. 532 / October 1957”

Notes: Aerie No. 532 is defunct. I had an opportunity to speak with a homeless man sitting on the steps of a building across the street from Chess Park. He thought that the monument was donated by a nearby church – saying that it was a very religious community with about ten churches nearby. / Robert V. Ritter


New Kensington, Pennsylvania
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Valley High School
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (August 2009)
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
New Kensington, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (August 2009)

Donated by FOE: 1957

Location: Monument being relocated to the Mary Queen of Aposles School (a Catholic school) at Elmtree and Freeprot Roads.

Previous Location: Valley High School. (Monument removed March 21, 2017.)

Scroll: “Presented By / New Kensington / Aerie No. 533 / Fraternal Order Of Eagles”

Litigation: On July 27, 2015, U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry dismissed (PDF) Freedom From Religion Foundation’s lawsuit against New Kensington, holding that the plantiffs’ lacked standing. The platinffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which reversed (PDF) the District Court's decision. On February 15, 2017, New Kensington decided to settle (PDF) the case by agreeing to remove the Eagles-donate monument from Valley High.

The monument was removed from Valley High on March 21, 2017 and will be relocated to the Mary Queen of Apostles School. This is a good choice since the 1957 monument mostly closely resembles the Catholic version of the Ten Commandments and Mary Queen of Apostles is a Catholic school.



Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Photo by Jan Yarnot (Feb. 2008) available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/fossilfreak/2250040951/

Donated by FOE: July 28, 1956

Current Location: Placed in a Department of Public Works warehouse under a bridge.

Original Location: Not known what happened immediately after the unveiling on July 28, 1956. Eventually placed at the National Aviary (700 Arch St) within the Allegheny Commons.

Scroll: “Presented To / City Of Pittsburgh / By / The Grand Aerie / Fraternal Order Of Eagles / July 28, 1956”

Comment: Martha Scott, who played the Mother of Moses in DeMille’s 1956 movie The Ten Commandments, participated in the 1956 dedication of the Eagles Ten Commandments monument.



Somerset, Pennsylvania
Somerset, Pennsylvania
Edgewood Aerie No. 1801 (in Somerset)
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)
Somerset, Pennsylvania
Somerset, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)

Donated by FOE: August 30, 1963

Location: The monument always located at Edgewood Aerie No. 1801, currently located at 202 W. Main St. (The aerie took the monument when they moved to their new location.)

Scroll: “Dedicated Top The / Youth Of Somerset County / By / Somerset Aerie 1801 / Fraternal Order Of Eagles / August 30, 1963”




South Park Township, Pennsylvania
South Park Township, Pennsylvania
Eagle (magazine), February 1957, p. 22 (Library of Congress Collection)
South Park Township, Pennsylvania
“South Park”
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)
South Park Township, Pennsylvania
South Park, PA Ten Commandments Monument
Photo by Robert V. Ritter (July 2016)

Donated by FOE: September 2, 1956

Location: “South Park” in South Park Township. To the right the Allegheny County Police station at 1801 Brownsville Rd.

Commandments: Numbered with Roman numerals, divided 3 (religious) and 7 (secular), no “graven images” commandment and two “coveting” commandments — all in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Scroll: “Presented To The People / Of Allegheny County / By / Faternal Order Of Eagles / September 2, 1956”

Notes: A special thank you to Andy Baechle, Director of Allegheny Parks, for telling me that he thought there was a Ten Commandments plaque near South Park’s police station. With that information, an Internet search, a GPS and some luck I was able to find the mysterious Allegheny County Eagles monument.



Verona, Pennsylvania
Verona, Pennsylvania
Verona Municipal Builing and Police Department
Screenshot: Google maps street view July 2007
Verona, Pennsylvania
Verona, PA Ten Commandments Monument

Donated by FOE: June 1958

Location: Verona Borough Building, 736 E. Railroad Ave.

Scroll: “Presented To / The Borough Of Verona / By / Verona Aerie No. 1634 / Fraternal Order Of Eagles / June, 1958”