I checked the weather maps, and it looks like most of Pennsylvania is having a cold, dreary, rainy day. What better time to read the latest SHPO Shout-Out for something cheery! So get a nice warm cup of coffee or tea, settle back, and prepare for some good news.

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I’m going to start off this month by giving a Shout-Out for two big changes at the PA SHPO office….

If you haven’t already heard the news through the preservation grapevine, I am happy to tell you that our very own Andrea MacDonald has been appointed the new Director of the PA SHPO and the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer! Andrea is has been with the PA SHPO since 2004 as manager of the Division of Preservation Services, which includes our National Register staff, three Community Coordinators, and Hurricane Sandy guru and all their related programs. Andrea is a natural born planner and brought a great wealth of experience with her to Pennsylvania from her planning and preservation jobs in Michigan and Georgia and from her educational background, which a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from Michigan State University and an M.S. in Historic Preservation from Indiana’s Ball State.

PA SHPO Acting Director Andrea MacDonald poses in front of one of the many educational panels at this year's Farm Show.

PA SHPO Director Andrea MacDonald poses in front of one of the many educational panels at this year’s Farm Show.

So, enough of the boring resume stuff… you’d like to read something more interesting about Andrea, right? If you didn’t read these posts about her trip to Erie with our former Bureau Director, Serena Bellew, you wouldn’t know that Andrea is a PROUD Erie native, from a tiny little neighborhood of Little Hollywood. She is really passionate about Pennsylvania’s food geography and credits learning so much about the history of Pennsylvania’s communities and settlements through experiencing the local food culture. She’s particularly fond of hotdogs with chili sauce (known as Greek sauce in Erie) found in all corners of the coal regions and in Pennsylvania’s industrial hubs.

So, what does Andrea have in mind for the future of the PA SHPO and preservation in Pennsylvania? The quick answer is lots. In her own words, her vision for the PA SHPO is simple: continue to find ways to help Pennsylvanians connect with their unique history and communities.

We are also celebrating because our former intern Elizabeth Shultz will soon be starting as our new GIS/Historic Survey Coordinator. This new hybrid position will give her responsibilities for historic resource data, however it is received, from the planning of survey through its long-term management in our data systems. Born and raised in Lock Haven, Elizabeth comes back to Pennsylvania and us with a BA in Public History with a concentration in Architectural History from Lock Haven University and a Master of Preservation Studies from the Tulane University School of Architecture. We got to know Elizabeth pretty well as a THIS intern and PennDOT intern in our office, where we learned firsthand that she is a really really good baker. Lucky us!


Elizabeth stands with her other PA SHPO friends last year. She is wearing the purple dress, send from the left.

Elizabeth stands with her other PA SHPO friends last year. She is wearing the purple dress, send from the left.

Moving into some construction news we’re psyched about…

Glen Foerd, the last Delaware River mansion in Philadelphia open to the public, has started the restoration of their amazing stained glass laylight on the third floor with the help of a construction grant from the Keystone Historic Preservation grant program. This 19th century estate in Torresdale was originally built in 1850 as the Italianate-style summer home for wealthy banker Charles Macalester, Jr. and then expanded and redesigned in 1903 as a grand Classical Revival style residence for Congressman Robert H. Foerderer. Glenn Foerd is listed individually on the National Register and is recorded in the Historic American Landscape Survey, and is used a local public park and venue for arts and horticultural programs.

Glen Foerd mansion. Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Foerd_on_the_Delaware

Glen Foerd mansion. Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Foerd_on_the_Delaware

The large circular domed laylight needed some well-deserved TLC, and the Keystone grant and the project’s other funding sources will be used to restoration of the surrounding decorative plasterwork, installation of a new lighting mechanism to restore the stained glass’s beautiful glow, and a much needed glass cleaning. Once the restoration is completed, visitors to this historic house museum will have a chance to see the 15-ft Classically-designed stained glass window illuminate the house’s monumental grand stair and spacious foyer.


We’ll wrap up this week’s post with some good news out of Monroe County…

As you may remember from an earlier post, survey consultants have been busy doing Hurricane Sandy-related survey work in that neck of the woods to support the PA SHPO’s disaster and hazard mitigation planning for historic properties initiative. One part of the Monroe County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update process is gathering public input through a Citizen Preparedness Survey for residents to talk about if they’re prepared, how they’re prepared, how public monies should be used and projects prioritized when it comes to disaster planning at the local or regional level. If you live in Monroe County and haven’t checked this out, please do! So, drumroll please…..

This true/false statement was posed to residents in the survey: “Places/properties that reflect my community’s heritage and/or my community’s historic, architectural, cultural, scenic character should be prioritized for risk reduction measures in the Monroe County Hazard Mitigation Plan in order to help prevent major damage from natural hazards and preserve them for future generations.”

Respondents overwhelming answered TRUE that yes, the county’s historic places and spaces should be prioritized and preserved. 85% (171) of the 201 responses so far support historic preservation in their community. Communities in Monroe County value their historic resources and this public input is critical to incorporating historic preservation planning in the hazard plan update – and other planning initiatives in the county and state.  Way to go, Monroe County!

Survey says... Monroe County values their history!

Survey says… Monroe County values their history!

As always, my last SHPO Shout-Out is to thank you for all the good work you do every day to preserve, protect, and promote our historic places!


If you or your friends and colleagues are involved in or hear about great preservation happening in Pennsylvania,

please email me at ssplain@pa.gov with your suggestions! While I can’t promise that it will get covered in the monthly Shout-Out, I can promise that we’ll add it to our growing list of great preservation work happening across Pennsylvania. Quick reminder: eligible Shout-Outs must be related to SHPO program areas (the National Register, historic resource survey, historic tax credits, Keystone grants, community coordinators/preservation planning, CRGIS, historic markers, and environmental project review/mitigation) and can recognize small baby steps to large milestones, and everything in between, led by the public, an organization, municipality, community group, regional government, or state or Federal agency. Thanks!