Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

PA SHPO’s Community Initiative Award


The Community Initiative Award from the State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals, and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s recently released statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere.

#PreservationHappensHere is the idea that great preservation activities are happening every day across Pennsylvania. These activities may or, may not be thought of as historic preservation, nevertheless, need to be discovered, shared, and celebrated!

How to Enter

It is the easiest award application ever!

The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) will select the next Community Initiative Award winners from the people, places, events and projects that use the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag or tell us about their #PreservationHappensHere story here.

PA SHPO tracks the usage of all posts using #PreservationHappensHere and stories submitted through the above link and each one will be reviewed by the PA SHPO for award consideration.


If you are looking for some examples of #PreservationHappensHere posts, you can find some examples online by typing #PreservationHappensHere into the search box of your favorite social media site and take a few minutes to scroll through to see who is posting and what they are posting.

Examples for using #PreservationHappensHere!

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter – we feature #PreservationHappensHere posts from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter each month.

And, you can always reach out to your favorite PA SHPO staffer with questions or get in touch with me at or (717) 574-8232.

2018 Awardees

This year’s awardees are good stewards of the historic places and communities they care about. They are capitalizing on their strengths – using art, volunteerism, and recreation – to provide a framework to serve as case studies for others, and they showcase what’s possible by making connections between community, historic places, and people.

The Walk In Art Center (WAIC) is a nonprofit organization founded in the belief that art and culture can positively affect the lives of all. Located two blocks from the Schuylkill River, WAIC is housed in the former Walkin Shoe Factory, a three-story factory built in 1887 in Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County.

Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill Haven.

The Jefferson County History Center, located in downtown Brookville, is focused not only on preserving and celebrating the history of Jefferson County but also on the rich archaeological heritage of the area. The society has sponsored archaeology outreach programs and research in other towns and even beyond the borders of Jefferson County.  They received a 2018 Community Initiative Award for their work at Scripture Rocks.

People standing on large rock

Documenting Scripture Rocks.

Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA), in conjunction with the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and the Clarion County Commissioners, is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve and maintain a 51-mile, four-season, nonmotorized recreational trail; promote preservation and protection of natural resources; and recognize historic sites along the corridor. Since 2010, RVTA’s dedicated volunteers have improved nearly all 51 miles and continue to maintain the trail; stabilized the Climax Tunnel; improved 17 of 19 bridges; added parking and restroom facilities, signage, and creek access; and installed educational panels about sites of historic significance, many about former natural resource-based industries along the corridor.

Climax Tunnel grand opening earlier this month.

2016 Awardees

This year the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act reminds us – the PA State Historic Preservation Office and our network of partners – of the responsibilities we have in fostering the growth and evolution of the preservation movement and profession. This year’s PA SHPO special recognition award – the Community Initiative Awards – were inspired by the intent of the National Historic Preservation Act. The Award aims to recognize communities, both traditional and non-traditional, who are not only utilizing traditional preservation strategies, but also developing and employing innovative tactics. The Community Initiative Awards look back at past successes, but focus on the future.

The inaugural PA SHPO Community Initiative Awards were presented to three groups who are redefining what historic preservation means in a 21st century community.

Bradford Revitalization Team (City of Bradford, McKean County): In recent years, the Bradford Revitalization Team created a distinctive economic and community development model that exemplifies flexible, organic cooperation amongst several organizations. This model is based largely upon the concept of creating economic vitality through marketing, investment and preservation of the community’s historic character. The local government and business development promotion agencies clearly understand that preserving historic resources is integral to the City’s economic and community development future.


Welcome to historic downtown Bradford!

East Liberty Development Inc. (Pittsburgh, Allegheny County): East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI) was working to revitalize the East Liberty neighborhood long before it became fashionable and before national high‐profile companies laid down roots in the community. ELDI published its first community plan, A Vision for East Liberty, in 1999, which charted a course for ELDI’s work into the 21st century. ELDI and its partners have intuitively recognized that retention of historic neighborhood character is integral to the successful and sustainable revitalization of East Liberty.

Hidden City Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Philadelphia County): Over the past eleven years, Hidden City has become a well‐respected champion of all places historic in Philadelphia through their unique style of reporting in their on‐line daily magazine. Hidden City writes the kind of no‐holds‐barred stories that raise awareness of historic places and communities in Philadelphia, as well as the history and happenings that impact the historic urban environment. They succeed where other history‐ and placed‐based organizations often waver: Hidden City’s style, content, and ethic have captured the interest and attention of the youth and young adult generations that will help shape the Philadelphia of the future.

PA SHPO 2016 Community Initiative Award recipients (from left to right: Brad Maule, Conor Corcoran, Peter Woodall, Kendall Pelling, Anita Dolan, Sherri Geary, and Andrea MacDonald)

Author: Shelby Weaver Splain

Shelby Weaver Splain is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Shelby is a native of Bucks County and holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

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