Franco Harris Statue Takes Off to New Location at Pittsburgh International Airport

Based on the public’s demand, airport officials moved statues for the famous Steeler and other historical figures to a space at the Landside Terminal open to all.
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Visitors to Pittsburgh International Airport will no longer have to buy a plane ticket to see a statue honoring one of their favorite sports figures, Steeler Franco Harris. Or to see statues of George Washington or Nellie Bly.

All three have been moved to the entrance lobby of the Landside Terminal, an area open to all before reaching the TSA security lines.

The move arose after the untimely death of Harris on Dec. 20, days before Pittsburgh celebrated the 50th anniversary of his immaculate reception. Fans flocked to see his statue in the pose catching that miraculous pass that had been at the airport for 20 years. But it was in the Airside Terminal, open only to ticketed passengers, and airport officials couldn’t let them through.

So it made sense to move statues of Franco and the other two historical figures to a location where all had access. That move occurred Feb. 28.

“Franco Harris was a man of the people, and we wanted to give fans access to him regardless of whether they’re traveling or not,” Keny Marshall, arts & culture manager at the airport, said in a press release. “He represents so many of the best parts of Pittsburgh, and now his statue is doing that in a much more prominent position.”

Airport staff built out a space behind the information desk near the primary TSA checkpoint for the statues, which are on loan from the Heinz History Center. 

“We appreciate how important [Franco’s] become to so many of our passengers, and we really feel this is the best way to share him with the region,” Marshall says. “And, of course, we couldn’t leave his friends Nellie and George behind.”

Categories: The 412