Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

PA SHPO’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access

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As part of PHMC’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access (DEIA), PA SHPO identified ways in which underrepresented stories and places in Pennsylvania can be better identified, documented, and celebrated.

Through three proactive efforts —survey, National Register nominations, and historical markers—PA SHPO has identified significant thematic and geographic gaps in Pennsylvania’s cultural resources data.

With financial support from Keystone and mitigation funds, PA SHPO has started working to address those gaps to preserve and share a more inclusive and representative record of Pennsylvania’s history.

Proactive Survey

A Survey Project Manager will begin in September 2020 and direct above ground survey work and related research in Pennsylvania for the next 3 years.

One-story brick building
Mt. Zion AME Church in Devon, PA is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photograph by Jim Toner, ca 2014.

Proactive survey work includes African American churches and cemeteries in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and National Park Service), population by race and ethnicity census research to support survey priorities, and collecting baseline data for 1,100 municipalities in 52 counties.

Proactive National Register Nominations

PA SHPO routinely identifies older and historic places that can benefit from listing in the National Register of Historic Places and pursues National Register nominations, either through staff preparation or hired consultant, for a select number of properties each year.

To date, six properties have been listed or will soon be listed in the National Register:

Brick building
Crawford Grill as it stands today.

Five additional properties will have proactive National Register nominations prepared in SFY2020-2021:

  • Hawk Mountain, Berks County;
  • Chimney Rocks, Blair County;
  • Passtown School, Chester County;
  • Cameron County Courthouse, Cameron County;
  • Grandview Cemetery, Cambria County.

Proactive Historical Marker Nominations

PHMC’s Historical Marker Program captures the memory of people, places, events, and innovations that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries. More than 2,000 cast aluminum markers tell the important and interesting stories that are part of the history of Pennsylvania.

PHMC is working with partners across the commonwealth to encourage historical marker nominations for underrepresented subjects, specifically archaeology, women’s, Hispanic, Latinx, and Asian American history, as well as Black and LGBTQ+ history in counties other than Philadelphia.

Nominations for approved subjects in the following underrepresented counties are especially encouraged: Armstrong, Cameron, Carbon, Clarion, Clinton, Columbia, Elk, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Jefferson, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Potter, Sullivan, Susquehanna, and Wyoming.

Dedication for the Pandenarium historical marker in 2019. Photograph courtesy of Angela Jaillet-Wentling.

Historical markers supported by the PA SHPO to date as part of the proactive historical marker initiative are:

  • Pandenarium, Mercer County;
  • William J. Murtagh, Philadelphia;
  • Gloria Casarez, Philadelphia;
  • Fighter’s Heaven, Schuylkill County;
  • Frances Dorrance, Luzerne County;
  • Parker’s Landing Petroglyphs, Clarion County;
  • Sylvania Electric Products, Cameron County;
  • Cynthia Catlin Miller, Warren County;
  • Lemoyne Archaeological Site, Cumberland County;
  • Berwyn School Fight, Chester County.

If you are interested in nominating a subject for a Pennsylvania historical marker that falls into an unrepresented or underrepresented theme or geographic area, please contact Karen Galle at kgalle@pa.gov or 717-705-4266.

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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