Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Testimonials in Pennsylvania’s Preservation Tool Box

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One of PA SHPO’s core missions is to educate the commonwealth’s citizens about state and federal historic preservation programs. We can’t do it alone, so we do our best to provide interested citizens, advocates, and partners with the tools to help communicate what historic preservation is and why it matters.

Testimonials

The production of testimonial videos is one way in which PA SHPO shares preservation’s positive outcomes and its importance for Pennsylvania’s many diverse communities.

In 2016, the PA SHPO produced its first set of testimonial videos as part of the national effort to retain the federal historic preservation tax credit in the federal government’s tax overhaul. These two videos featured different preservation stories with one thing in common: they couldn’t have happened without the historic tax credits.

Since then, six more videos have been added to the PA SHPO’s growing testimonial library, viewable on PHMC’s YouTube channel, that highlight preservation in its many forms throughout the commonwealth. PA SHPO plans to add more videos each year to continue to showcase some of Pennsylvania’s many preservation successes and to tell their stories as inspiration for others.

PA SHPO staff regularly use these testimonials in visits with legislators and in our workshops and share them through PHMC’s social media accounts. The accessibility of these videos on YouTube means that you and your organization can use them, too.

Here is our list of testimonials for you to enjoy – and use as part of your own preservation education toolbox – to date:

Walk In Art Center, Schuylkill County (2018)

The Walk In Art Center was a PA SHPO 2018 Community Initiative Award winner for their work transforming the vacant Walk In Shoe Factory into regional arts center.

Use this testimonial when you want to communicate preservation options for vacant, high profile buildings or the impact of the arts on a community.

Watch the video!

Scripture Rocks, Jefferson County (2018)

Scripture Rocks and the Jefferson County History Center (JCHC) was a PA SHPO 2018 Community Initiative Award winner. JCHC partnered with a regional archaeology group to document Scripture Rocks, a collection of boulders inscribed by local personality in the early 20th century.

Use this testimonial when you want to illustrate how archaeological sites can be used to bolster local history and tourism efforts and how partnerships can be successful in preserving places like Scripture Rocks.

Watch the video!

People standing on large rock
Documenting Scripture Rocks.

Climax Tunnel, Clarion County (2018)

The Climax Tunnel project was a 2018 PA SHPO Community Initiative Award winner. The Redbank Valley Trails Association worked with local partners to open critical link in 50-mile rail trail, which is also a venue for interpreting local history in this are of the Lumber Region.

Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA), in conjunction with the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and the Clarion County Commissioners, is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve and maintain a 51-mile, four-season, nonmotorized recreational trail; promote preservation and protection of natural resources; and recognize historic sites along the corridor.

Use this testimonial when you need an example of a project that had local buy-in, county, state, and federal support and is not a traditional “preservation” project.

Watch the video!

Climax Tunnel grand opening earlier this month.

City of Lancaster, Lancaster County (2017)

The City of Lancaster is one of Pennsylvania’s Certified Local Government (CLG) communities. Lancaster is a leader in PA’s preservation community for creatively using CLG grants for community revitalization, planning, and preservation.

Use this testimonial when you want to communicate the relationship between economic development and historic preservation in Pennsylvania’s small towns and cities.

Watch the video!

Chestnut Street in Lancaster embodies the city’s preservation ethic.

George and Anna Spangler Farm, Union County (2017)

The Spangler Farm was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. The property has been in the family for over three generations and the family’s dedication to its agricultural legacy spurred a National Register nomination and public education program.

Use this testimonial when you need an example of grassroots preservation and how property owners can celebrate and share their historic places.

Watch the video!

The George Christian and Anna Catherine Spangler Farm in Union County was listed in August 2016.

Brandywine Battlefield Park, Chester County (2017)

Brandywine Battlefield Park is a National Historic Landmark and PHMC historic site. Brandywine Battlefield benefits from long-standing and careful stewardship because on a partnership of local preservation groups and state, and federal governments.

Use this testimonial as an example of a successful public, municipal, state, and federal partnership to protect and preserve historic landscapes and buildings.

Watch the video!

Brinton 1704 House and the surrounding lands were the location of core combat actions in the final phase of the Battle, Chadds Ford, Delaware County

North Scranton Jr High School, Lackawanna County (2016)

The 1920s North Scranton Junior High School, which is listed in the National Register, was the classic preservation “white elephant” and returned to the community because of the historic tax credit program.

Use this testimonial to communicate how federal preservation programs can be used to save places that are important to the local community and put them back into service.

Watch the video!

The former North Scranton Jr. High School was rehabilitated into the Gerald T. Langan Apartments for the area’s senior citizens.

Pyramid Lofts, Philadelphia County (2016)

The vacant Harry C. Kahn & Sons warehouse in Brewerytown neighborhood of Philadelphia was rehabilitated into the Pyramid Lofts with the assistance of the federal historic tax credits and is now an anchor in this developing Philadelphia community.

Use this testimonial to communicate the importance of state and federal funding for historic preservation programs and their role in preserving buildings in Pennsylvania’s cities and towns.

Watch the video!

How will you use these testimonials?

With this post, I formally invite you to use these testimonials in your own work and efforts to preserve Pennsylvania’s older and historic places.

Let me know how you’re using them and if you have ideas for new testimonials with a quick email to me at ssplain@pa.gov or comment on this post.

Important! If you have a few minutes…

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PHMC values your time and privacy. Your responses to this survey will be anonymous.  

To ensure we focus our work on those initiatives that best help us fulfill our mission, please share your ideas on the following by December 23. You may begin the survey here.

Thank you!

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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  1. Pingback: PRESERVATION MONTH PART 2: How to Preserve a Building - Practical Preservation

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