The Pennsylvania Baseline Survey Team is excited to share another year of findings! Between January 2022 to October 2022, our five Year 2 Baseline Survey teams surveyed in 18 counties and recorded 6,663 new resources in 396 municipalities. Quite an impressive number!
You can find a refresher on what PA SHPO’s Baseline Survey is all about here and the highlights of what was recorded in Year 1 here. We made a few tweaks to the methodology but the focus on the types of above-ground resources – what are called Group 1 and Group 2 priorities – didn’t change.
New in Year 2
Surficial Archaeological Evidence (SAE) as a concept was introduced in Year 2 in order to account for the number of properties in Year 1 that were later found to be demolished or heavily deteriorated.
SAE is “the indication of one or more former structures or activity areas that are visible on the surface.” Examples of surficial archaeology include ruins of foundations, middens, other features, or altered terrain. It is a different concept and approach to identifying what might be potential archaeological sites.
Under the supervision of qualified archaeologists, survey teams were asked to document examples of surficial archaeological evidence using the archaeological resource form in PA-SHARE – but it is important to note that they did this from the public right-of-way and they did not do any excavation. The methodology relied on using aerial imagery and historic maps to identify places that were no longer extant, specially focusing on any visible archaeological evidence related to the following property types:
- African American churches and cemeteries
- Resources associated with racial and ethnic communities
- Recreational properties
- 20th century resources
- Industrial resources
In total, the Year 2 Survey Teams documented 306 potential archaeology sites across all 18 counties! However, not all of these locations received PASS numbers as many areas require additional investigation to assess if an archaeological site is present.
Year in Review
One of the things the Baseline Survey contractors are asked to do is recommend properties for further survey where there is a potential historic district, resources/areas that have potential to be eligible for listing the National Register of Historic Places, or further research is warranted to determine significance. The following examples are selected from these recommended properties for each of the five Year 2 contracts.
Armstrong, Indiana and Mercer Counties/Contract A
Contractors recorded 1,151 resources for Contract A and 39 were recommended for further study.
In Armstrong County, 275 new resources were recorded and 19, including 4 for Superficial Archaeological Evidence, were recommended for further study. General areas and topics were also recommended for further survey, including Mid-20th Century Resources in Manor Township, Rimerton in Madison Township, and Spring Church in Kiskiminetas Township. Other notable properties include the Deanville Round Barn, the Blanket Hill Speedway, and Bell Town Road Cemetery, among others.
In Indiana County, 25 resources were recorded and 2 were recommended for further study. Chevy Chase Heights in White Township was recommended for further evaluation level survey and for archaeological investigation based on archaeology potential noted during research. Similarly, Wehrum in Buffington Township was recommended for archaeological investigation based on surficial evidence found during fieldwork.
In Mercer County, 851 resources were added to PA-SHARE; 17 were recommended for further study, including three properties notable for their archaeology potential. Properties recommended for further research included the Mercer County Home and Hospital, Mercer County Sanitarium, Sharpsville Gardens, Stoneboro Fairgrounds, and Camp Reynolds, among others.
Survey contractors also recommended some broader historic contexts for Mercer County like 19th century public schools and educational institutions, Amish and Mennonite cultural resources, mid-20th century religious architecture, nineteenth century iron furnaces, and properties associated with African American life in Stoneboro Borough.
Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Perry and York Counties/Contract B
Contractors recorded 1,651 resources for Contract B and 45 were recommended for further study.
In Adams County, the Colt Park Subdivision of mid-20th century houses in Gettysburg Borough was identified for additional study.
In Cumberland County, the survey contractor recommended additional study for properties associated with African Americans within and to the north of the existing Carlisle Historic District in Carlisle Borough. Some resources documented include the pictured Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, a historically Black congregation to the north of the Carlisle Historic District boundary.
In Dauphin County, survey teams recorded 663 new resources and they recommended 18 places for further study, including 8 instances of surficial archaeological evidence. Properties recommended for further research included addresses in Paxtang and Millersburg, as well as African American community resources in Steelton Borough and Harrisburg.
In Franklin County, 4 places were identified for further study: Letterkenny Township, Orrstown Borough, and ruins along the Cumberland Highway in Newburg Borough and ruins in Fannettsburg Borough.
In Perry County, 12 properties were recommended for further study, including two examples of surficial archaeological evidence in Shermans Dale and Loysville. Landisburg Borough and Marysville Borough were identified for their potential historic districts while a Lustron House in Marysville Borough, the outskirts of Loysville in Tyrone Township, and the outskirts of Ickesburg in Saville Township, among others, were identified for additional research.
In York County, 112 properties were surveyed, 9 of which were determined to be outstanding by the survey team. This included four examples of surficial archaeological evidence. Potential historic districts included Hallam Borough and Jacobus Borough. Individual properties recommended included Trinity Road Cemetery and the Fawn AME Zion Church Cemetery.
Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin Counties/Contract C
Contractors recorded 1,269 resources for Contract C, including 52 locations of surficial archaeological evidence.
Three resources were recommended for further study in Bedford and all for their archaeological potential. One resource, the Peppercorn Market in Bedford Borough, was recommended for further study to explore its associations with the French and Indian War.
Five recommendations were made in Fulton County, including three archaeological properties. The two above-ground properties recommended for further study included the Wells Tannery community and Enid Church and School, both located in Wells Township.
Ten properties were recommended from Huntingdon County. Saltillo Borough, Three Springs Borough, Mapleton Borough, and Petersburg Borough were recommended for further, identification-level baseline survey. Four industrial properties were recommended for archaeological investigation. Two streets – King Street and Washington Street in Petersburg and Cromwell Street in Orbisonia Borough were recommended for evaluation-level survey.
There were five properties recommended for further survey in Juniata County. This included further identification-level survey in McAlisterville, Thompsontown Borough, Port Royal Borough, and Jericho Mills and evaluation-level survey of Cocolamus Mill in Fayette Township.
Finally, eight properties were recommended for further study in Mifflin County, four of which were noted for their archaeology potential. Future surveys of Burnham, Reedsville, and Belleville Boroughs were recommended and McVeytown Borough was identified as a potential historic district worthy of further above ground and archaeological investigation.
Pike, Wayne and Schuylkill Counties/Contract D
Contractors recorded 1,287 resources for Contract D. All recommended resources from all three counties were identified as potential historic districts. No potential archaeological sites were recommended for further study.
There was one recommendation made in Pike County – Towpath Street in Lackawaxen Township, which included the Rowland Toll House and two historic canal locks.
Four communities in Wayne County were recommended as potential historic districts – Waymart Borough, Gouldsboro in Lehigh Township, Newfoundland in Drehr Township, and Lake Ariel in Lake Township.
Four communities were recommended as potential historic districts in Schuylkill County. They are Mount Carbon, Port Carbon, Tower City, and McAdoo.
Luzerne County/Contract E
Contractors recorded 1,303 resources for Contract E, including 45 locations of surficial archaeological evidence.
Sixty properties were recommended for further study in Luzerne County, the majority of which (42) were recommended for evaluation-level survey. Eleven archaeological properties were recommended for further study as well.
A sample of the outstanding properties from Luzerne County include Carter’s Dairy Freeze in Exeter Borough and the Agudas Israel Congregation in Hazleton, among many others.
The Pennsylvania Baseline Survey has successfully documented many types of properties in 2022! From places of worship, mills, racetracks, houses, and more the Pennsylvania Baseline Survey Team hopes to continue surveying more properties as the third and final year of the Pennsylvania Baseline Survey has begun.
Baseline Survey of above-ground resources and surficial archaeological evidence in seventeen more counties will continue into 2023.
Today’s Guest Author is Carolyn Gimbal, an architectural historian with Johnson, Mimiran & Thompson, Inc.