The Hart of Zelienople Repairs Historic Passavant Gate

Randy HartFor Randy Hart, Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant Community in Zelienople holds a special place in his heart, having spent his entire life in the historic town and growing up near Passavant. That is why he has put so much of his own time and money into the town over the years, and why he felt compelled to give back to Passavant.

Hart grew up caddy corner to the intersection S. Main Street and W. Culvert Street where two stone gates stand, surrounded by flowers and plants with a plaque that reads “The Old Peoples Home”.

Established in 1905, The Old Peoples Home was the original retirement community before eventually being torn down and becoming Passavant Community as it is known today.

The gates were erected in memory of Charles Sidney Passavant, his wife Jane Randolph Passavant and their child, Charles Sidney Passavant Jr, all who have lineage to Dettmar Basse. Basse was the founder of Zelienople and named it after his daughter, Zelie who married Philip Louis Passavant, parents of Charles.

Passavant GateAs time does, the stone walls and columns of the gate went from a beautiful light gray to a weathered dirty brown, covered in years of dirt and soot. With the gate in poor visual shape, Hart knew he wanted to restore it back to its original stunning look.

Hart, who is a longtime member of the Zelienople Historical Society, has understood the historic semblance of those gates and how important they are as a greeting to those turning towards the Passavant Community Campus.

“I remember being a child riding my bike through those gates,” reminiscences Hart. “There used to be a road that ran through it.”

Passavant Gate sign Not only has Hart’s own life been connected to the gates since a young age, but his wife worked as aide at the Home when she was a teenager. The connection runs even deeper as his mom was a volunteer at the facility for several years, his father spent his final years under Passavant’s care and his grandson now works as a server in food service there.

“This is a great asset to the community,” explained Hart. “This is our southern gateway to the historic preservation district.”

Hart donated his own money for the restoration and oversaw the project. It took 3 days to restore the wall through dry blasting, a process of using a low pressure sand jet to clean the stone. The historic “The Old People’s Home” plaque was also restored thanks to local business Franklin Bronze.

Upon completion, Hart and the Zelienople community were amazed at the final results.

Passavant Gate“It just looks brand new,” said Hart, “The response from the community was unbelievable.”

Executive Director of Passavant Community, Laura Roy, knows this is a special gift to not only Passavant, but to the entire town.

“We are sincerely grateful for Randy’s generous donation of his time, talent and treasure,” said Roy. “This project was made possible by his passion for Zelienople and its history and we are absolutely thrilled with how it turned out.  It far exceeded our expectations.”