Great Cross of Christ
A stranger driving through the highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvania saw something on a far-off mountaintop that looked like a gleaming cross. Stopping his car, he trained field glasses on the object and said, “That looks like one of the wonders of the modern world. It must be one of the biggest crosses ever erected.” And indeed it is. Since 1950 a steel cross 60 feet high has stood on a concrete base six feet tall on Dunbar’s Knob, which itself is 2,480 feet above sea level. On a clear day, the mountaintop boasts a view of three states and seven counties with sights up to 50 miles away. At night it is bathed in glowing spotlights, shining as a beacon of hope and inspiration to all who see it far above the dark silhouette of the Appalachian Mountains.
The story behind the massive cross is an inspiring one, too. The money to build it was collected from hundreds of Methodist Churches before World War II; then the wartime steel shortage forced the postponement of the project. When it was taken up again, after the war, its fabrication and erection posed many problems. Credit for the solution of many of them, as well as contributions to the cost of the project, must go to L.C. Steiner of the Latrobe Foundry and Machine Company, Latrobe, Pa.
A foundation consisting of 183 tons of concrete had to be constructed. Then, the main shaft of the cross, weighing approximately 47,000 pounds, had to be hauled to the mountaintop site, after cutting a road up the back side of the mountain. The cross arms, projecting 12 feet on each side of the main shaft, were brought in separately and the entire structure was securely welded together.
Because of its exposed location, the bracing of the structure had to be thorough, but all bracing is inside the clean-cut steel surface of the cross. The completed structure will withstand winds of 100 miles an hour and the torsion that might be developed by a whirlwind. The surface is steel plate, almost half an inch thick, rolled in US Steel plants in the district. It was originally coated with a substance called Gilsonite with white mica embedded in it.
So on the birthplace of a great war, stands a great monument to the Prince of Peace. It was erected on August 26, 1950, and the Dedication services were held on September 9, 1950.
Adapted from a story by Gilbert Love
“Becky Strother …Facebook Fan” There is such a great feeling you get when you walk up to the top of the mountain and stand by that huge cross and can see forever in all directions …sitting up there reading God’s word and praying, is the best sensation. I love when the clouds are low, at night, and the spotlight in front of the cross, causes an outline of the cross in the clouds up in the sky.