Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office



April 11, 2018
by Karen Galle
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What do Slinky, the Wizard of Oz, poinsettas, and a Rev War personality have in common?

You win the prize if you said, “They will all have historical markers in PA!”.  The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission recently approved 16 new historical markers! This year’s selections deliver another eclectic mix of pop culture, military, African American, film, and medical subjects. Continue Reading →

Fallston metal truss bridge.

April 4, 2018
by Tyra Guyton
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Sign Up for the new Historic Metal Truss Bridge Newsletter!

Metal truss bridges are an important part of Pennsylvania’s engineering and technological history and are a standing legacy to the state’s iron and steel industry. Unfortunately, modern traffic needs in combination with insufficient maintenance funding, especially for locally owned bridges, has made rehabilitation and ongoing maintenance of these bridges difficult and many of them have been demolished and replaced with modern structures.

In an effort to save the remaining population, PennDOT, with help from the State Historic Preservation Office, has developed a marketing program and seeks groups or individuals interested in acquiring historic metal truss bridges that no longer can meet vehicular needs for adaptive reuse. An important feature of metal truss bridges is their ability to be dismantled and moved, giving them new life as a pedestrian or light vehicular bridge for trails, bike paths, parks, golf courses, and college campuses.

Not only do historic bridges help link a place with its local heritage, they also promote the value of recycling and provide eye-catching designs. Many of these bridges become destination spots attracting heritage tourism and adding economic development to the area.

For more information sign up for the Historic Metal Truss Bridge Newsletter. The newsletter, which will be sent out semi-annually, will highlight available bridges, how to acquire a bridge, adaptive reuse success stories and available funding.

Click here to sign up!

April 4, 2018
by Multiple Authors
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ReGIS isn’t foolin’! Electronic submissions and online data entry are here!

It may be the time of year when we all joke around and partake in fun pranks to celebrate April Fools Day, but we’re not joking when we say that your life is about to get easier.  Why? Electronic submissions and online data entry! Continue Reading →

PA delegation in front of the Capitol.

March 21, 2018
by Shelby Weaver Splain
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PA SHPO goes to Washington! Advocacy Week 2018

Every year in March, State Historic Preservation offices and preservation advocates from across the country travel to Washington, D.C. for National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week.  The Pennsylvania delegation was there to be a part of it.

What is Advocacy Week?

Advocacy Week, as you may recall from this post and this post, is one of big preservation events of the year.  Preservation Action and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) organize Advocacy Week each year, bringing over 250 preservationists to Washington, DC to promote sound federal preservation policy and programs.  The first day of Advocacy Week typically includes in-depth training, policy briefings, and forums from an array of preservation and policy professionals. The second day is when things really start to get fun!

Advocacy Week logo

Preservation Advocacy Week logo.

Pennsylvania’s Delegation

This year’s PA SHPO team included me, Andrea MacDonald, and Cory Kegerise.  Executive Director Mindy Crawford and Board member Sandy Rosenberg joined us from Preservation PA.  Brenda Barrett, a long-time Advocacy Week attendee and editor of the Living Landscape Observer, and Cindy Hamilton, representing the Historic Tax Credit Coalition, also joined the group.

PA delegation in front of the Capitol.

PA’s delegation in March 2018. From left: Brenda Barrett, Andrea MacDonald, Cindy Hamilton, Mindy Crawford, Sandy Rosenberg, me, and Cory Kegerise.

Walking Capitol Hill

The second day of Advocacy Week is devoted to visits with Pennsylvania’s Representatives and Senators.  We weren’t quite sure how this year would go given the number of Congressman retiring this year and the uncertainly of the new congressional district map. Divided into three teams, we met with staff from 13 offices (12 Representatives and 1 Senator) and walked miles (not really, but it felt like it!) in the tunnels between the Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn House Office Buildings and across the Hill to the Russell Senate Office Building.

I am happy to report that all of our visits were a huge success!  We had the chance to meet with new staff and old friends to talk about historic preservation and why it matters.

So what happens at these meetings?

The meetings are typically 15 minutes long and can happen anywhere – in a Congressman’s office or the hallway.  Our goal is always to create more awareness and, if we’re lucky, a new relationship.  We provide a folder of information for the meeting, which includes the “Your Guide to the PA State Historic Preservation Office,” information sheets on preservation programs and issues, and our contact information.  This year, we were also able to give the people we met with an on-the-spot thank you card for taking the time to meet with us.

Videos steal the show

One of the ways that we have found to communicate the importance of preservation, especially to the average Joe, is through videos.  These steal the show.  We can talk about the need to support historic preservation all day long, but these video testimonials bring preservation to life.

PHMC’s video and social media wizard, Sean Adkins, produced three new videos for us this year!  You might remember that last year our videos focused on the benefit and necessity of the historic tax credit.  In this year’s videos, we wanted to show the broad range of preservation activities that the Historic Preservation Fund supports. Take a look!

  • City of Lancaster: This video showcases the preservation work happening in Lancaster right now.  The city is a CLG (certified local government), is home to some great historic tax credit and grant projects, and has a local and National Register historic districts.  Former PA SHPO-er Jeremy Young even makes an appearance!
  • Spangler Farm:  This testimonial follows the Noll family as they take you on a tour of their farm, the former Spangler Farm, in Union County.  Listing in the National Register is a tremendous source of pride for them, and their efforts will help preserve this early – and relatively intact – farmstead.  They were so happy they were listed last year that they held a party!
  • Brandywine Battlefield:  Brandywine Battlefield benefits from federal grants, principally from the American Battlefield Protection Program, an involved Task Force, and support from county planning offices and the public.

The George Christian and Anna Catherine Spangler Farm in Union County was listed in August 2016.

You can check out the videos through the above links or visit PHMC’s YouTube channel.

Do we make a difference?

Yes.  I think our time in Washington networking with other SHPOs and meeting with our federal representatives do make a difference.  Congressional staffers hear from people in their districts regularly and it’s important for them to consider us a resource for them and their constituents when preservation issues arise.

Residences at 511-533 Howe Avenue in the Lawrence Park Historic District – Photo by NaylorWellman.

March 7, 2018
by Karen Arnold
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The “Key” to Preserving Lawrence Park

If this were the game show Jeopardy!, the question would be “What grant, administered by PHMC, was the “key” to celebrating the history and significance of Pennsylvania’s Lawrence Park?” Continue Reading →

Keppel Building, Lancaster, Lancaster County

February 21, 2018
by Scott Doyle
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Tax Credit Roller Coaster Ride

This ride wasn’t nearly as fun as a real roller coaster ride, but the fight to keep the historic tax credit alive felt like one with all the ups, downs, twists, and turns. Continue Reading →