Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Author: David Maher

Joining the PA SHPO in 2008, David Maher is a Historic Preservation Specialist, and self-described "Preservation Agitator," working with PA's Central Region. Born and raised in scenic and historic Hunterdon County, NJ, David later received a B.A. in History (Public History), with an Urban/Rural Planning/GIS minor, from Shippensburg University, and a M.A. in American Studies (Public Heritage) from Pennsylvania State University.

A Preservation Story: Franklin County

Founded in 1784, and located in the fertile and strategic Cumberland Valley, Franklin County possesses a rich and unique history.  A tour through the National Register of Historic Places in Franklin County offers just a glimpse into the rich history of the county, and also highlights the community’s continued efforts to designate and preserve their unique history. 

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Don’t Just Look Forward or Backward: Look Around for Preservation Partners

In 2016, the preservation community has been looking back over the past 50 years to reflect upon the legacy of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.  The legislation laid the groundwork for the tools and strategies of preservation.  For Pennsylvania, 2016 also marks the beginning of a multi-year planning process to look forward over the next five years (and beyond) through the development of a new Statewide Historic Preservation Plan.  I had the chance to look around at the recent American Planning Association – Pennsylvania Chapter (APA-PA for short) conference and it got me thinking about how preservation is connecting to the bigger planning world.

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A Place In Time: The Original Little League Field

A Place In Time is a regular feature in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine, published quarterly by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and available for purchase at  A subscription to the magazine is a benefit of membership in the Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the PHMC.  

Original Little League Field - 1947 - Putsee Vannucci, Little League Baseball and Softball

Original Little League Field, 1947. Courtesy of Putsee Vannucci.

Like many boys growing up in the 1930s, the nephews of Williamsport resident Carl E. Stotz (1910-92) were baseball fanatics. After playing countless games of “pitch and catch” with the boys, Stotz promised them that he would develop a game of baseball on a size and scale appropriate for younger players. He kept his promise. In the late summer of 1938,  he gathered his nephews and other local boys in Williamsport’s Memorial Park, where he began to experiment with field dimensions for a scaled down version of the game. With folded newspapers representing each base, he took note of the running speed and throwing distance capabilities of the young players.  He then determined that his game should have base paths 60 feet in length, rather than the standard 90 feet, and a distance of 46 feet from the pitcher’s mound to home plate, instead of the regular 60 feet, 6 inches. While traditional baseball games last at least nine innings, Stotz realized that was too long and planned his youth games to run only six innings. Continue reading

Spotlight Series: Back to School

Over the last several weeks, you’ve read some of the adventures of our summer 2014 interns.  As they, and countless other students, head back to those hallowed halls of higher education, we here at the State Historic Preservation Office thought we’d search through our vast collection of historic resource files, and highlight a selection of Pennsylvania state schools listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  While there are fourteen schools that make up the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, and while most possess individual buildings or historic districts that have been determined eligible for the National Register at one time or another, only six schools have historic resources listed in the National Register.  The following is a quick glance at these historic schools, with a sampling of photographs submitted with the National Register nomination at the time of listing.  To read the full National Register nomination, which is posted to our CRGIS, click on the link after each school’s name.  So, be quiet, sit up straight, spit out that gum, and welcome back to school!      Continue reading

BHP’s Offbeat Outings: Athens

Offbeat Outings is a bi-monthly series that highlights the travels of BHP staff as they experience history first-hand throughout Pennsylvania.

My name is Dave, and I’m an addicted heritage tourist.  However, as I’m sure most readers of this blog can confess, I am not alone.  In fact, Heritage Tourism brings billions of dollars to Pennsylvania each year, with historic communities and districts creating the largest draw.  Continue reading

Spotlight Series: National Register – The Irving Female College

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

During the Civil War, countless Northern soldiers passed through the small town of Mechanicsburg on the Cumberland Valley Railroad.  Often, hordes of townspeople turned out to cheer them on; sights not soon forgotten by the new soldiers.

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