Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office

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November 25, 2015
by Kira Heinrich

Saltsburg Or Bust!

This past June Barbara Frederick and I were in Saltsburg, Indiana County attending a stakeholder meeting for the Loyahanna and Conemaugh Dam’s master planning process. The Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District has been hard at work this summer updating their planning documents, and, as the Western Region Section 106 review team, Barbara and I have been doing our part to provide our support to their process. We also used the opportunity to get a first-hand look at the Dams, Saltsburg, and some really great historic resources!  Continue Reading →


November 18, 2015
by Steven McDougal

#FindYourPark: Steamtown National Historic Site

The National Park Service will marks its 100th anniversary in 2016, and in honor of this centennial celebration, PHMC will highlight the National Parks in Pennsylvania throughout the coming year, as seen through the eyes of our staff.

Recently, a couple of us from the office went on a trip to the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton.  The site is owned by the National Park Service and is the site a rail yard and engine roundhouse of the former Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad.  We went to discuss consultation between our office and NPS on maintenance and infrastructure improvements at the site.  Once we were done with our official discussions, we got a tour of the facilities. Continue Reading →


November 11, 2015
by Pamela Reilly

Philadelphia’s Magical Mosaic Streetscape and the South Street Renaissance

When I discovered the fabulously whimsical and colorful mosaic murals along the 1000 block of South Street in Philadelphia, I had no idea this outpouring of creativity was actually part of a fascinating preservation story.  Visually, the neighborhood is delightful surprise, a colorful, mysterious and enigmatic world of unexpected images, embedded in the physical structure of the buildings.  While the artwork is fun and engaging, it is also much more.  It is physical evidence of the power of people to reclaim and reinvent their communities and redirect the forces of change that threaten them. Continue Reading →

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November 4, 2015
by Shelby Weaver Splain

Announcing the PA SHPO Shout-Out!

How often is it that we, as preservationists and champions of history, get to hear some good news about historic preservation? When I check my Facebook feed every morning, I usually see one post after another calling attention to the plight of our cherished historic places and spaces.  Finally, one morning, I said, “Enough! There has to be some good in the world!” And the SHPO Shout-Out was born…

Continue Reading →


October 28, 2015
by Karen Arnold

5 Things To Do Now: Keystone Historic Preservation Grants

Things To Do Now is an occasional series featuring tips and tricks for some of the SHPO’s most popular programs and projects.


The windows at the Neville House in Allegheny County were restored with the help of a Keystone Construction Grant.

It is that time of year to start thinking about applications to the PHMC’s Keystone Historic Preservation Grant program, which supports planning and construction projects for historic places throughout the Commonwealth.  Unfortunately, PHMC is unable to release application materials right now due to the state budget impasse.  However, in anticipation of a forthcoming grant round, I encourage nonprofit organizations and municipal governments to start thinking about their applications.  Many of the facets of a competitive application are good stewardship practices for caring for your historic building or community and are a worthwhile investment of time now despite this delay. Continue Reading →

Workers at the Harrisburg Nail Works. Used by Permission of the East Pennsboro Historical Society.

October 21, 2015
by Guest Contributor

Clouds by Day and Fire by Night: Industrial Archaeology at the Harrisburg Nail Works

by Jonathan Libbon, RPA

Perhaps no other theme in Pennsylvania’s history is more important than industry. With October being National Archaeology Month, it’s a great opportunity to highlight industrial archaeology in Pennsylvania. The archaeology of industrial sites focuses on the industrial process, the history of labor and management, and the artifacts and features that remain. Understanding the industrial past allows us to understand not only Pennsylvania’s past, but often our very own. Continue Reading →

Andrew Hoff
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October 14, 2015
by Guest Contributor

PA Modern: Discovering Pennsylvania’s Midcentury Architectural Legacy

by Beth Hager

JuriedExhibit_logo_colorEloquence in word and in visual expression – this is the exciting outcome of the new juried exhibit opening at The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg on Sunday, October 25:  “PA Modern:  A Photography Exhibit of Midcentury Architecture.”  Featuring 98 photographs by 44 photographers, the exhibit displays a wonderful array of some of the most iconic Modernist structures found throughout Pennsylvania. Continue Reading →

The southern tip of Thompson's Island.  Photograph by Kirk Johnson.

October 7, 2015
by Keith Heinrich

Into The Wilderness Part 2: Getting Our Bearings On Thompson’s Island

In my last post about the Battle of Thompson’s Island, I gave a brief background on the conflict and discussed the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) grant our office received to find the battlefield.  Like the campaign itself, the project has continued moving. Continue Reading →

The uniformed toll collectors at each interchange were seen as the Turnpike's "ambassadors".

September 30, 2015
by Shelby Weaver Splain
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Happy Birthday, Pennsylvania Turnpike!

PTC_75-years_logo-272x300The Pennsylvania Turnpike turned 75 on October 1, and groups throughout the state have already started their tributes to this engineering marvel and cultural icon. On October 2, the State Museum opened a new permanent exhibit about the Turnpike in its Industry and Transportation gallery, and the recent issue of the Pennsylvania Heritage magazine featured a great piece on the Turnpike written by the exhibit’s curator, Curt Miner. Earlier this year, staff from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and PHMC and Gerry Kuncio, senior historian for Skelly and Loy, Inc., gave a presentation about “America’s First Superhighway” at the Statewide Conference on Heritage. We wanted to send out our own birthday greeting and share with our readers some amazing historical facts about our beloved Turnpike.

Continue Reading →


September 23, 2015
by Karen Galle

5 Things To Do Now: Historical Markers

 Things To Do Now is an occasional series featuring tips and tricks for some of the SHPO’s most popular programs and projects.

PA National Guard 112th Infantry Regiment1Think there is a person, place, or event in your community that deserves some recognition?  If you believe that one of PHMC’s blue-and-gold historical markers is a great way to tell that story to the world, then keep reading for some tips (in no particular order)on what you can be doing right now to prepare an application for the next round of marker nominations.  The deadline is December 1, 2015. Continue Reading →