Mr. Rogers Neighborhood has gotten a surge of popularity these days thanks to the critically acclaimed, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?. The documentary film chronicles the life of Fred Rogers whom many of us middle-agers remember as the soft-spoken guy routinely changing his shoes before taking us to “The Land of Make-Believe.” Long before there were 24-hour kids’ programming, PBS was about the only weekday respite from soap operas and game shows. Knowing we were a captive audience until the big networks’ rolled out their Saturday morning cartoons, PBS used this as an opportunity to teach us a thing or two. My favorite episode was when Margaret Hamilton a.k.a. The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of West paid a visit. I was scared to death of her as a kid and her presence on the show eased my anxieties a lot. I also vividly remember when that Purple Panda showed up and, come to think of it, what the heck was that thing anyway? By now you’re all probably wondering what any of this has to do with dinosaurs. Well, it seems that Fred’s native Pittsburgh has a rather unique tribute to “Mr. Rogers” – one where he’s reimagined as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
It all began fifteen years ago when Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History celebrated its impressive collection (which I discussed last year) by peppering the city with 100 uniquely designed decorative dinosaurs. One of these affectionately titled Fredosaurus Rex Friday XIII was designed by Karen Howell and sits in front of the Fred Rogers Company offices on Wharton Street.
Although this wasn’t the most convenient Prehistoric Pit Stop, I couldn’t resist a chance to see it.
If you’re doing a map search, the statue can be found 2100 Wharton Street in Pittsburgh!