It’s been a minute since I did a “year in review” post for the blog, so I thought I’d treat our readers to PA SHPO’s version of the ubiquitous end-of-year list.
In the spirit ICYMI, here is a list of the best posts from 2023 that you want to be sure to read. If I had to sum up the blog’s year in one phrase, I think it’s “a year of education, entertainment, and everything in between.”
You might notice that this list is a bit shorter than it might be in years past. Why? We took a short hiatus in the spring to update the pahistoricpreservation.com platform to a new WordPress theme, introduce a cool new graphic (thanks PHMC graphic designer!), and offer more reliable search and comment capability for our users.
Exciting news for the President Pumping Engine House (February 2023)
Readers in the Lehigh Valley saw some interesting news stories throughout the month of January as the one of the boilers from the Ueberroth Zinc Mine Historic District (1995RE50357) was removed from the former American Atelier furniture factory on Front Street in Allentown.
Messerall Road Bridge: The Next Chapter (April 2023)
The main character of our story, the Messerall Road Bridge, began its life over Pine Creek near East Titusville in 1876, carrying traffic associated with the local oil and lumber industries. The bridge served as a crossing over Pine Creek nearly 140 years before it was closed to vehicular traffic in 1987.
What better time of year than National Historic Preservation Month to announce the latest round of PA SHPO’s Community Initiative Award winners! The four recipients and their projects showcase a range of preservation success stories, demonstrating the value of volunteers, creativity, and community engagement.
Historic Tax Credits @ Work: The Yorktowne Hotel (June 2023)
The Yorktowne Hotel, in the heart of downtown York at 48 E. Market Street, has been a local and regional landmark for almost a century. Central to it’s riches to rags to riches story – in addition to its enduring community legacy – are the historic tax credits that played a big part in it’s 21st century renaissance.
Many Pennsylvania Historic Preservation blog readers are familiar with the results of Year 1 and Year 2 of the Pennsylvania Baseline Survey but did you know that the Pennsylvania Baseline Survey is doing archaeology too? We have adapted to recording not just historic buildings, but also documenting the locations where important buildings once stood.
The Flounder House, an Intriguing Vernacular House Form (August 2023)
The Flounder House is a bit of a fish out of water among more formal architectural styles. Named for the flat fish found at the bottom of the ocean, flounder houses have the appearance of a house sliced in half.
Baseline Survey On the Road Again: Newly Documented Roadside Resources in Pennsylvania (September 2023)
“I can’t wait to get on the road again/On the road again/Goin’ places that I’ve never been/Seein’ things that I may never see again/And I can’t wait to get on the road again…” -Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again,” 1980
With Pennsylvania’s long transportation history – from railroads and canals to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the many beautiful bridges throughout the Commonwealth – it’s no surprise that the teams working on the Baseline Survey Project discovered and inventoried a multitude of Pennsylvania’s previously unrecorded roadside resources!
Announcing PA-SHARE 2.0 (October 2023)
Earlier this year, the PA State Historic Preservation Office started working on new upgrades and improvements to PA-SHARE. We’re calling this effort PA-SHARE 2.0.
Preserving the Henry Ossawa Tanner House (November 2023)
Earlier this year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included the Henry Ossawa Tanner House in North Philadelphia on their 11 Most Endangered List. With the help of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, I was able to connect with Chris Rogers of the Friends of the Tanner House to talk about what is happening at this National Historic Landmark.
The Elusive Historic Agricultural District (December 2023)
We had some fun recently during a site visit to identify the presence of a historic agricultural district for a solar project…
*Cue Sir David Attenborough’s voice*
Here we are searching for the elusive historic agricultural district. Often impossible to find, we are hoping to get a glimpse of it today, as whispers of its appearance have been heard. What vast expanses of agricultural land use and lack of modern residential development, perhaps we will get a sighting after all. But what is this that appears on the horizon? Large modern grain bins indicative of monocropping, followed by farmsteads lacking historic barns? Ah well, it would appear the earlier rumors of a visit from that elusive beast, the historic agricultural district, have been unfounded. Perhaps when we return to the hunt tomorrow, we may catch a glimpse.
I will sign off this final blog post of 2023 just as I have every year… with a very heartfelt “thank you.”
We here at PA SHPO appreciate our blog readers, writers, and contributors, as well as everyone who likes our posts on social media, reads the newsletters, shares their thoughts and knowledge in comments or emails, and provide all sorts of support, logistical and otherwise, throughout the year. We certainly couldn’t do this without you.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2024!