Cue those spotlights! Load those confetti cannons! Each year, the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Awards celebrate remarkable preservation work across the state. In a field where the losses are so permanent and can feel so personal, it’s important to take the opportunity to applaud these success stories!

Preservation Pennsylvania will celebrate the 2018 award honorees on Thursday, September 27 from 3:30-7:30pm at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Scott LaMar, of WITF will be presenting twenty-two awards, many of which used the important federal and state historic tax credits.

The evening’s keynote speaker is noted preservation economist Donovan Rypkema of PlaceEconomics who will preview key findings of an economic study commissioned by Preservation Pennsylvania. This will be the first chance to hear the results of this study, which will be used to support the reauthorization and expansion of the Pennsylvania Historic Tax Credit program, a key priority of Preservation Pennsylvania in the coming months. (Ticket information available here.)

Check out the full list of awards at the bottom of the post, and know that it represents a collection of love stories about places, people, pride and preservation.

There are beloved places that tell the story of the community, that uplift the soul, that are a touchstone to the past…

…like the Colonial Theatre, which seized the opportunity to expand its space and entertainment offerings by annexing the 1925 former bank building next door;

Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville. Photo by Sabra Smith, Preservation Pennsylvania.

…or the St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church where discovery of structural failures in roof trusses led to an emergency response that combined a cost-effective stabilization with part of a permanent solution;

Metal roof

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Heritage Design Collaborative.

…or Hill College House, which features more public and communal space than any other residence at the University of Pennsylvania, and underwent a LEED Gold-certified renovation that respected the philosophy of architect Eero Saarinen about the value of communal areas where students may gather and form relationships necessary to the college experience.

Inside large building

Hill College House, Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC.

There were special people motivated to rescue a thing they loved for future generations to appreciate and learn from…

…like the owners of the Century Inn, who rebuilt with care after the building was consumed by fire;

Stone building

Century Inn, Scenery Hill. Photo courtesy of the Century Inn.

…or the passionate woman who started a movement to speak for the people who once rested on their journey along the Underground Railroad and those who gave them shelter and encouraged dialogue about abolition at the Corson/Hovenden Homestead;

Two people at podium

Lawyer Michael Fiorentino with Sydelle Zove at Whitemarsh hearing. Photo by Sabra Smith, Preservation Pennsylvania.

…or the former student who led the rescue and restoration of an iconic schoolhouse.

School building

School House No. 5. Photo courtesy of Adams Township.

Each of the preservation projects below are a source of pride and inspiration to us all. Congratulations!


  • Otto Haas Award for outstanding individual achievements in historic preservation:  Natural Lands (Montgomery County)
  • Henry A. Jordan Award for outstanding historic preservation efforts at the local level:  Astride McLanahan (Blair County)
  • Chairman’s Award for demonstrated leadership in historic preservation:  The Star Barn Village (Lancaster County)


  • Ralph Modjeski Award for excellence in transportation design, preservation and archaeology:  Pine Bank Covered Bridge (Washington County)
  • Preservation Planning Award:  Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority (Erie County)
  • Public Impact Award:  Market Street Revitalization Project (York County) and Colonial Theatre (Chester County)


  • Assisi Residence (Delaware County)
  • Century Inn (Washington County)
  • Drury Plaza Hotel (Allegheny County)
  • F.A. Winter and Son Music Store (Blair County)
  • Charles McManus Tavern (Cumberland County)


  • Stewardship:  Hill-Physick House (Philadelphia County)
  • Community Involvement:  Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art- Bedford, Formerly the Dr. John Anderson House (Bedford County)
  • Communication:  Marker Advocates of Tobyhanna Township (Monroe County)
  • Emergency Response:  St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church (Philadelphia County)
  • Grassroots Advocacy:  Sydelle Zove (Montgomery County)
  • Local Government:  School House No. 5 (Butler County)
  • Sustainability in Historic Preservation:  Hill College House (Philadelphia County)

In addition to the above Preservation Pennsylvania awards, the PA State Historic Preservation Office has selected three awardees for their 2018 Community Initiative award, which will be also be presented at the September 27th event. 

The Community Initiative Award from the State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) recognizes three recipients 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 identified, shared, and celebrated!

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.

Walk In Art Center (Schuylkill County):  The Walk In Art Center is a non-profit organization founded in the belief that art and culture can positively affect the lives of all. Located two blocks from the Schuylkill River, the Walk In Art Center (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.

Jefferson County History Center (Jefferson County):  Located in downtown Brookville, the Jefferson County History Center (JCHC) 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.

People standing on large rock

Documenting Scripture Rocks.

Redbank Valley Trails Association (Clarion County) in conjunction with the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, PA DCNR, and the Clarion County Commissioners:  Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA) is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve and maintain the 51-mile 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 4-season non-motorized recreational trail, stabilized the Climax Tunnel, improved 17 of 19 bridges, added parking and restroom facilities, signage, 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.

We hope to see you there!