A recent addition to the Miniature Railroad & Village at the Carnegie Science Center is themed “Night of the Living Dead.”
Also unveiling later this month is a replica of the Evans City Cemetery Chapel from the iconic western Pennsylvania-made zombie movie. This is where the opening scene where things go horribly wrong for the characters Barbara and Johnny was filmed.
When ‘Night of the Living Dead’ sound engineer Gary Strainer heard that the nearly 100-year-old chapel was about to be demolished, he raised nearly $50,000 to restore it and secure its historic designation. did.
Nicole Wilhelm, director of railways and villages at the science center’s Buhl Planetarium, said the frightening theme had a lot to do with the seasons.
“We’re also updating all the digital text panels around the exhibit to feature rare true crime and spooky tales from around Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania, so we’re making small additions related to Halloween and the spooky. I thought it would be fun,” said Wilhelm. “This ties in perfectly with that.”
And when it comes to attracting visitors, it doesn’t hurt to build something around a movie that people in Pittsburgh seem to never tire of talking about.
“People are so excited,” Wilhelm said. “The miniature railroad itself is a historical representation of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The model we choose always has some cultural or historical significance to the area.
The new model, which also has a small graveyard around it, will be installed on September 12. It will be added to the scary zombie scene during the Halloween season in October.
According to Wilhelm, her research indicates that the chapel was only used for funerals. She told the City of Evans Historical Society that before the advent of heavy machinery for digging graves, when the ground was frozen in the winter, corpses were kept in the basement of the church until the ground thawed enough to dig graves again. I have been told.
“It’s a little creepy and we might not advertise it to kids. But if people want to know more about what’s scary, we’ll definitely tell them.