The historical marker honoring Octavius V. Catto that has stood in front of his old home at 812 South St. since 1991 was damaged by a delivery truck in a traffic accident late last month.
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission said the damage to the sign – it had a large chunk torn out of its blue-and-gold cast-aluminum face – was not vandalism, which many callers had worried about, he said.
“It was hit by a pet-food delivery truck,” the spokesman said. “Accidents happen.”
A new marker has been ordered and should be in place within about six weeks, he added. The delivery truck company is footing the bill.
Catto was a 19th century educator, writer, ballplayer, and civil rights activist who was assassinated near the spot of the marker on election day, 1871. He was honored last month with the unveiling of a memorial sculptural installation on the south apron of City Hall, the first public memorial honoring an African American in the city’s history.