What is the preservation community’s most important asset? It’s the people! Those passionate, creative, place-loving, story-telling folks who wear invisible super hero capes and do their best work so that a beloved landmark is restored, or a neighborhood story is discovered, or a community of advocates is activated. Continue Reading →
The leafy streets of Mt. Gretna, Lebanon County. Photo by BHP staff, 2011.
Trying to find something to do outside in Pennsylvania during the month of August is often challenging with our hot and humid days. Luckily, the first Saturday in August is always the Mt. Gretna Tour of Homes & Gardens.
“Mount Gretna” (“Mt. Gretna”) is a rather loosely defined residential area in southern Lebanon County and is about seven miles south of the city of Lebanon, twenty miles north of Lancaster and about thirty-five miles from Harrisburg. I figured you all would enjoy “touring” the countryside using a 1914 State Highway Map instead of that high tech GPS/Bing/Google mapping! Mt. Gretna’s early communities are “cities in the woods” and due to the careful planning in the 1890s and maintaining of the overhead tree canopy, Mt. Gretna is at least 10 degrees cooler than the rest of Lebanon County during the summer. Continue Reading →
During my tenure with Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Office, I reviewed numerous legislative drafts for the long-awaited Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Tax Credit program. Early drafts included a historic homeowner component. Later versions proposed grants instead of tax credits. All dozen or so drafts were bypassed in the legislative process until the approval of the Pennsylvania Historic Tax Credit program in the Fiscal Year 2012-13.
After a successful launch of the program in Fiscal Year 2013-14, I was eagerly anticipating the approval of the first historic tax credit project. My money was on a project from Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. These two cities received the most state tax credit allocations and have a long track record for project completion. To my surprise, those two cities will need to take a back to seat to the Flagship City of Erie – our Gem City situated on the sparkling water of Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie – and the striking rehabilitation of the CF Adams Building by the Erie Insurance Exchange. Continue Reading →
Nestled between the peak heat of July and the crispness of October’s flaming foliage is that special span of outdoor living in Pennsylvania that is the perfect time to hoist your kayaks and canoes onto your shoulders, strap your sturdiest water shoes to your feet, and set out to feast your eyes on some of the architectural and engineering gems that crisscross Pennsylvania’s diverse bodies of water. In the true Commonwealth spirit of discovery, before our rivers turn to frozen slush and our streams start to crunch, let your paddles guide you under some of Pennsylvania’s treasured pieces of transportation history – starting with those listed below! Continue Reading →
Bungalow in State College, Centre County. Photo by Bryan Van Sweden, PHMC.
Who doesn’t love a Bungalow? This charming cottage-like dwelling was America’s favorite small house at the turn of the 20th century and was most popular between 1900 and 1930. Some view Bungalows as the embodiment of “home” — intentionally designed as a cozy and welcoming house form with a prominent front porch and chimney. It was even romanticized in songs of that period by Irving Berlin and others. In his 1925 lyrics Berlin described “A little bungalow, an hour or so from anywhere. A little cozy nest, the kind that’s best for two. Among the shady trees, with birds and bees and lots of air.” No wonder the popularity of Bungalows spread quickly across the country. What exactly is a Bungalow house and where did the design come from? Continue Reading →
Shippensburg Corn Festival, 2006. Photo by Peter Linehan, Flickr Commons, Creative Commons, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode.
On the last Saturday in August for the last three and a half decades, tens of thousands of visitors have descended on downtown Shippensburg to enjoy the crafts, music, entertainment, and food of the Shippensburg Corn Festival. Despite the continued success of the event, many people know little about its origins as a fundraiser created to protect and preserve the community’s historic buildings. Continue Reading →
Conference goers gathered on the Plaza for this great photo. Image courtesy of Preservation Pennsylvania.
We all know that summer is a great time to kick back and relax, and it’s even better when you can do so while hanging out at the State Museum of Pennsylvania with your friends and learning some interesting stuff at the 2015 Statewide Conference on Heritage. There was so much going on, and so much to see and do, that I thought perhaps our readers would like a recap of the conference highlights. Continue Reading →
Pennsylvania may be the home to Yuengling, known as “America’s oldest brewery,” however the Commonwealth has yet to officially declare a craft beer month. However the ‘Official Tourism Website of the State of Pennsylvania’ dedicated a page to Pennsylvania Craft Brews, where Pennsylvania’s beer culture is significantly truncated…
The German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s and 1800s brought many of their old-world traditions with them, including the love of great beer.
This particular blog post isn’t going to detail Pennsylvania’s brewing history (but maybe we’ll mull over the idea of a beer blog for a future post). And we’re a little late to honor American Craft Beer Week (which was mid-May this year). Regardless of any future beer narrations, resolutions or festivals, Pennsylvania indisputably has a rich brewing history and those buildings where brewing happened have been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Continue Reading →
(Above: Apprentices learning the basics of mortar removal and pointing from James Houston, the Preservation Field Services Supervisor at the apprentice training workshop at Daniel Boone Homestead (PHMC staff)
Just as rust (and rot) never sleeps, historic buildings rarely let those who are responsible for their preservation rest. The ultimate goal of preservation is to maintain a structure in such a way that only sacrificial elements (i.e. exterior paint, roofing, and mortar) ever get replaced. The ongoing task of performing this level of maintenance, and the additional work often necessary when it isn’t routinely done, requires special skills that are becoming harder to find in the general construction industry. In an effort to bolster the pool of preservation trades practitioners the PHMC started the Preservation Trades Apprenticeship Program in 2006. The program is a partnership between the PHMC, non-profit organizations that perform preservation trades, and private contractors from across the Commonwealth. Continue Reading →
Q: What do the National Register of Historic Places, Section 106 consultation, Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits, Certified Local Government grants, Tribal preservation activities, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities have in common?