Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office



May 5, 2021
by Shelby Weaver Splain
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Make this Preservation Month a Success by Sharing Your Story!

National Historic Preservation Month was started in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to draw attention to older and historic places across the country and to highlight the benefits of historic preservation in the nation’s communities.

This year, we’re celebrating National Historic Preservation Month by asking our readers to share with us a Preservation Success Stories in their communities. And you might just win something!

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Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commision Logo

April 30, 2021
by Shelby Weaver Splain
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PA SHPO Special Announcement: We’re Hiring a Review Archaeologist!

The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) is seeking a Historic Preservation Specialist to serve as a Review Archaeologist to work between disciplines and advance SHPO priorities. This position is ideal for a detail oriented and flexible preservation professional with a knowledge of state historic preservation programs.

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April 28, 2021
by Barbara Frederick
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Section 106: Not Always the Preferred Preservation Outcome

The Section 106 process was created to ensure that federal agencies consider historic properties in the planning process for projects they sponsor.

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Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commision Logo

April 21, 2021
by Cory Kegerise
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Designing for Distance in Pennsylvania’s Historic Communities

To say that COVID-19 changed things about away we live our lives would be the understatement of the century. Virtually everything about the ways in which we live, work, learn, recreate, shop – everything – changed in an instant and we have spent the last 12+ months learning how to adapt, as individuals and communities. The pandemic has also prompted a lot of pondering and forecasting about the long term effects on our society and how many of these adaptations will become part of our “normal” lives going forward. In Pennsylvania’s traditional communities, the sudden loss of foot traffic, festivals, and events hit small businesses and restaurants especially hard. Revitalization organizations and local governments have had to reimagine, with little or no time or experience, how to allow people to use streets, sidewalks, parks, and trails in a safe and responsible manner. Enter Designing for Distance.

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Paved path through cemetery with grass, trees, and stone markers of various shapes and sizes.

April 14, 2021
by Elizabeth Rairigh
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Exploring the Harrisburg Cemetery

Spring has sprung in Harrisburg!  So when I was deciding what National Register resource to focus on for this week’s blog post, my office mate/dining room table neighbor/husband suggested we take a walk through Harrisburg Cemetery, listed in the National Register in 1985.

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Colorized historic postcard showing wood church building.

April 7, 2021
by Karen Arnold
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Preserving Pennsylvania’s Stick Style Architecture: Old Lutheran Church in Franklin

The mid-nineteenth century oil boom is synonymous with northern Venango County, which brought population and construction growth to the city of Franklin.

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March 31, 2021
by Karen Galle
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Approved Markers for 2021

Soon fans of Pennsylvania’s historical markers will be braking for 23 new ones. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) recently approved the next batch of new historical markers at their March 2021 meeting.

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March 24, 2021
by smassey
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Rehabilitating Wilkes-Barre’s Memorial Presbyterian Church

Rehabilitating a religious property, like a church, using historic tax credits can be very challenging because it is often difficult to match the building’s desired new use with the historic floor plan and character-defining spaces. Design professionals and building owners have to negotiate a difficult balance between preserving a church’s large, open sanctuaries with the need for income-producing spaces like apartments or multi-tenant office spaces.

The rehabilitation of Wilkes-Barre’s Memorial Presbyterian Church is a good example of how to apply the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, which are the guiding principles for historic tax credit projects, to church buildings.

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March 17, 2021
by Shelby Weaver Splain
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Preservation’s March Madness

“March Madness” in the historic preservation world isn’t quite the same as the highly competitive, single-elimination college basketball tournaments that happen each March.

I’ve coopted the phrase to describe National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week and the days leading up to it in our office. Just like the NCAA I players that begin prepping and practicing weeks and months before their games, we kick off each New Year with making plans, preparing materials and partipants, and scheduling visits for Advocacy Week.

One big difference, of course, is that preservationists don’t compete against each other in a nail-biting, winner-takes-all game. One big similarlity, however, is the frenzy of activity, nerves, and excitement before the big event.

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March 10, 2021
by Noël Strattan
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The 2020 PASS Report

For the past several years, PA SHPO archaeologists have issued an annual report – known as the PASS Report – detailing the ongoing efforts to record Pennsylvania’s archaeological sites. 

Despite 2020’s many challenges, over 280 new archaeological sites were recorded thanks to cultural resource management (CRM) projects and continued contributions from independent research projects, members of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (SPA), and long-time avocational archaeologists.

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