Relocating a Pittsburgh icon: Where should Wholey's fish sign go?

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PITTSBURGH - As Pittsburgh’s famous Wholey’s Fish Market continues to hold a citywide vote to determine where the beloved and iconic fish sign should go, more areas are throwing their name into the hat…or should we say water??

Wholey’s sold the building where the smiling fish currently resides in 2007, and the developer plans to remove the sign when the building is renovated into 144 apartments.

Late last year, Mayor Bill Peduto and Wholey’s announced that they would decide where the fish would go, based on the public’s vote.

“That's part of the cultural fabric of Pittsburgh,” Jim Wholey, president of Robert Wholey & Co. said. “We owe it to Pittsburgh to let (residents) decide where the fish should go.”

Wherever it goes, Wholey's will pay to have the sign installed and the monthly electric bill required to light it, he said.

People can put their ideas in red boxes marked with smiling fish stickers at Wholey's in the Strip or make suggestions via the Twitter hashtag #smilingfish or e-mail address smilingfishsign@gmail.com.

Peduto has already expressed that he would like the Senator John Heinz History Center to take the sign.

The center, which specializes in western Pennsylvania history, did something similar with the former H.J. Heinz Co. pouring ketchup sign a few years ago.

Friday, the McKees Rocks Community Development association announced that they want the 100-by-60-foot Strip District icon made of light bulbs brought to their area.

According to Wholey's store history found on the company website, "The original Robert Wholey Company was founded in 1912 in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. The store was opened by Robert L. Wholey and sold live poultry, meats, sausages, and coffees."

 As the business grew, Wholey's relocated to a warehouse in the Strip District, where the beloved smiling fish sign was first erected.

Since the business began in McKees Rocks, officials there think the fish would feel at home in the area.

“McKees Rocks sees the Smiling Fish as a symbol a true Pittsburgh success story, one of achievement that honors history and tradition. The fish will be very much at home in McKees Rocks, a place that builds on its own traditions and continues to produce positive changes,” the MRCD said in a news release Friday.

But ultimately, the decision is up to you, the voters. Where do you think the smiling fish should go? Join the conversation, LIKE and COMMENT on WPXI-TV’s Facebook page.

Voting in the poll is set to wrap up on Jan. 31st