Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Spotlight: William C. Goodridge Freedom Center Keystone Grant

Leveraging local dollars to support important historic preservation initiatives is one of the key facets of the PHMC’s Keystone Historic Preservation Grant program.

Never was this more evident in the development of the William C. Goodridge Freedom Center, an ongoing initiative of the Crispus Attucks Association of York, and the completion of its second phase of work through a Keystone grant.

William C. Goodridge (1805-1863) was a prominent African-American businessman in York operating several businesses including a barber shop, a variety store, an employment agency and line of railroad cars and associated delivery business.  He often hosted anti-slavery meetings with noted abolitionists and was a consistent force in the Underground Railroad network through York County.

This photo shows the tall, metal blue and gold marker for William C. Goodridge.

PHMC Historical Marker for William C. Goodridge.

It is important to note that after Goodridge’s death, the property was eventually purchased by a prominent York Architect, Reinhardt Dempwolf.  Dempwolf updated the house adding many of the classical Colonial Revival details on the façade and in the interior of the house creating the appearance of the house it has today.  Many of the Goodridge-era elements also remain in the house, providing an interesting glimpse into the historic evolution of the house.

The building is also recognized through the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program for Goodridge’s association with the Underground Railroad.

This photo shows a wood floor with a clear window in it to show the house's underground railroad area.

This part of the exhibit has a vision panel in the basement showing visitors part of the Underground Railroad structure below the house.

Crispus Attucks envisioned the William C. Goodridge Freedom Center and Underground Railroad Museum as an opportunity in the community to celebrate an important African American and his contributions to York.  This ongoing initiative will create a resource that brings all ethnicities together to share, appreciate, and understand freedom and all of its nuances can only improve the lives of all who visit the center.

Their most recent phase of rehabilitation embarked on repairs to interior finishes of the first floor to improve the safety of visitors coming into the building.  Plaster and floor repair, electrical upgrades and installation of a sprinkler system were done.  The York County Commissioners also provided a substantial match to install an HVAC system in the property to stabilize the humidity and temperature.

Although still only open for special events and programming, eventually the William C. Goodridge Freedom Center and Underground Railroad Museum will incorporate regular programming that discusses the various perspectives on Freedom Seekers, the law relating to slavery, and how it affects people today. The PHMC’s contribution to the project through the Keystone fund helps support this historically and architecturally significant row house in York.

This photo shows a fireplace mantel decorated wtih candles and greens for Christmas.

Decorations from the recent Christmas Tree Freedom Festival event.

Keystone Historic Preservation Grants are back!

Could your local historical organization benefit from the Keystone Historic Preservation Planning Grant or Construction Grant programs? I am excited to announce that the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission will open the application process for fiscal year 2017-2018 funding under the Keystone Historic Preservation Grant Program on January 2, 2018.

Applications for either the Keystone Construction or Planning Project grants are due on March 1, 2018.

New electronic application system

All PHMC grant program applications are transitioning to DCED’s Electronic Single Application for Assistance system.  You can access the application system at:

Your organization may need to register as a first-time user and create a new user name and password as all past log-in credentials of PHMC’s former eGrant system were not transitioned to the new system.  Although the format is different, past applicants will find similar questions but with clarification to help guide the preparer.  Please review the program guidelines and helpful program fact sheets to make sure your project meets the eligibility requirements for the program.

Another new change for the Keystone program is that applicants are not required to mail a hard copy of the application and supporting documents.

Where to turn for help

PHMC Grants Staff will offer two informative webinars highlighting the new application process. Please join us on January 18, 2018 at 10:00 AM or January 24, 2018 at 3:00 PM. You need only participate once since the same information will be presented in both webinars.  Helpful hints on crafting a competitive application will be shared during the webinars as well. Please send an email to to register for either webinar.

If you want more information about the Keystone Grant program or to inquire if your project may qualify, contact the Grants Staff at the PA SHPO at (717) 783-9927 or Remember to join us at one of two webinars discussing the changes to the application process.

But more importantly, take a few minutes this December visit a historic site in your neighborhood or check out the William C. Goodridge Freedom Center.  Visit the Goodridge Freedom Center website at for their special programming.

Share a similar success in your Community with the Keystone Grant Program!

1 Comment

  1. Scott Doyle


    good luck with next round of Keystone applications. Looking forward to more great projects.


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