Cannonballs were found in Lawrenceville where construction on phase II of Arsenal 201 is underway. Franjo Construction is working with Indianapolis-based developer Milhaus to add 343 apartments and a 400-space parking garage to the site next to the 40th Street bridge.
In early July 2020, an excavator operator hit something hard while digging, and lo and behold, it was more cannonballs. Yes, more.
This discovery is highly unique but not surprising. During the construction of the now complete phase I at Arsenal 201, which includes 243 apartments and 19,000 SF of retail space, the Franjo crew unearthed hundreds of these cannonballs. They date back to the Civil War when Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Arsenal site served as a supply and manufacturing center for the Union Army.
Just like in the first discovery, Franjo has carefully handled the situation. “There is an extensive plan in place,” says Project Manager Kayla Timulak. “We knew there was a possibility, and everything was discussed prior to [starting work].” Immediately upon locating the cannonballs this time, Franjo crew called the Pittsburgh Bomb Squad. A specialist was brought in to carefully dig up and remove the artifacts. While situations like this are not necessarily common, Lawrenceville and the Strip District are full of a specific list of additional considerations for construction. We have outlined that list here.
“We have a really good working relationship with the city and the bomb squad,” Kayla remarks. In reference to how she feels about the find, she says it’s “almost like a treasure hunt on your own job site.” These cannonballs found in Lawrenceville have been turned over to the bomb squad and have not been quantified. To see video from the site and more of Kayla’s interview, head over to KDKA Pittsburgh.
Stay tuned for future finds and project updates.