Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office


November 26, 2014
by Andrea L. MacDonald

Updated Forms and Guidance from the SHPO

StaffRegions 300x175 Updated Forms and Guidance from the SHPOBite off more than you can chew, then chew it. Plan more than you can do, then do it.
- Anonymous

It’s that time of the year for excess chewing, and it’s also timely for the Bureau to take a mid-plan stretch (after a turkey-induced slumber) and to regain focus on evaluating the accomplishments of Pennsylvania’s Statewide Historic Preservation Plan, Building Better Communities: The Preservation of Place, 2012-2017.  The Plan includes an ambitious Action Agenda that was developed with the direct intent of being highly responsive to public needs and desires.   While the Plan was created for all Pennsylvanians and depends on assistance and full participation for it to be successful, Goal 5’s objectives and strategies resulted from some internal soul-searching.  Continue Reading →

Elizabeth McShane and Alma Siebern Puglia admire the Ashland Mother's Memorial in October 2014.

November 19, 2014
by Karen Galle

A Family Reunion at the Mother’s Memorial

At the end of October I had the opportunity to take a trip to Ashland, PA for the first time.  It was a beautiful fall day, near the peak of the fall foliage season, and the drive up I-81 from Harrisburg afforded me great views of the nearby mountains.  The purpose of the trip was to visit the Mother’s Memorial that I had featured in a blog around Mother’s Day of 2013. Continue Reading →


November 12, 2014
by Kira Heinrich

History with a slice of pie: on the road with the Heinrichs

Late in August this summer Keith and I found ourselves in Westmoreland County, on a rare working Saturday, with a couple hours of down time. Between my meeting with a consultant in the morning and Keith’s event to celebrate the National Register listing of the Concord School in the evening, we needed a plan: something better than hanging out at the closest mall or park for a few hours. Continue Reading →


November 5, 2014
by Cory Kegerise

Crossing the line: Meeting our SHPO colleagues from across the Northeast

By Cory Kegerise and Serena Bellew

From time to time, Bureau for Historic Preservation staffers are asked about how a particular process, form, or issue affecting historic resources in Pennsylvania is handled in different states.  Fortunately, in the age of e-communication there are websites and listserves to provide answers to most of these questions.  But no matter what field you’re in, nothing can replace some old-fashioned face-to-face interaction with peers and colleagues from other places to help bring a fresh perspective to your day-to-day work.  And so, in that spirit, representatives from State Historic Preservation Offices from Maryland to New Hampshire gathered in New Castle, Delaware on October 28 & 29 for two days of information exchange and networking with each other, the National Park Service, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Continue Reading →


October 22, 2014
by Noël Strattan

Traces in the Woods

Have you ever been walking through the woods and wondered who walked here before you? Setting aside the 16,000 years of prehistory in Pennsylvania, it is amazing to me how much our use of the land has changed during the last 350 years. Much of Penn’s Woods has gone from woods to farms to industrial tracts and back to woods. But all those activities have left traces on the land – some blatant, some subtle. Being an archaeologist by training, I look for those traces when I walk in the woods. Continue Reading →


October 15, 2014
by Karen Arnold

Spotlight Series: Lancaster Central Market celebrates its 125th Anniversary

banner 140x140 Spotlight Series: Lancaster Central Market celebrates its 125th AnniversaryFor some readers the onset of seasonal fall weather means bundling up for Friday night high school football games or starting the furnace, but I’m always reminded that another growing season is coming to a close.  However, It is not too late to find great local produce at any of Pennsylvania’s local market houses! Continue Reading →


October 8, 2014
by Guest Contributor

Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards: The Case of the Missing Pachyderms and the Marvel of a Brand-New Old Ceiling

collaged Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards: The Case of the Missing Pachyderms and the Marvel of a Brand New Old Ceiling

Paul Heberling, center, accepts the F. Otto Haas Award from John A. Martine, right, and Peter Benton. Top right, Mayor Salvatore Panto, Bottom right, The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka

Each year, Preservation Pennsylvania presents the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards as a way to honor individuals and organizations that exhibit excellence in the field of historic preservation. The 2014 award recipients exemplify some of the core values of historic preservation, such as a community pulling together to save a building from demolition or the revitalization of an urban neighborhood thanks to rehabilitation – not razing — of an aging school.

“Partnerships, cooperation, and taking the long-term view are themes that run through many of this year’s projects,” said Mindy Crawford, Executive Director of Preservation Pennsylvania, the statewide historic preservation nonprofit. “Whether at the local, state or federal level, this year’s award recipients demonstrate how people working together can create positive change.” Continue Reading →


October 1, 2014
by Bryan Van Sweden

Looking Down The Road: The PHMC’s Role in Regional Transportation Planning

Over the past several years the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has developed an innovative partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to provide regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) with free technical assistance to help them develop their Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP). Supported by funding from FHWA, the goal is to encourage these planning organizations to integrate cultural resources and historic preservation issues into their transportation planning.  Continue Reading →

West Tioga 3

September 24, 2014
by Guest Contributor

Spotlight Series: A neglected architectural gem in North Philadelphia

The Spotlight Series is an occasional series that highlights interesting people, places, programs, and partner organizations working on historic preservation issues.

At the turn of the last century, the 2200 block of West Tioga Street was a fashionable address for business owners and professionals. Homes were up to 5,800 square feet, housing large families and live-in servants.

Architect Edgar Viguers Seeler designed the gem of the block — an 1898 chateau-style twin at 2224-26 West Tioga – for two families that owned the Conkling-Armstrong Terra Cotta Co. In fact, it was an ornate showpiece for their business: making architectural ornamentation. It featured columns encrusted with floral detail, ornate stringcourses and porch balustrades, all made of terra cotta. Combining his training from the Philadelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art, MIT, and the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, Seeler was able to design ornate structures that spanned multiple aesthetics. Continue Reading →