Lost and Found

Lost A century after its erection in 1870, and just one year after it was named to the National Register of Historic Places, Old Main, a landmark on the campus of what is today West Chester University of Pennsylvania in Chester County was demolished – despite protests by local, county, and state historical organizations, architects, even the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The...
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Wyck: Witness to a Way of Life

Relatively few in Great Britain might think much about a house occupied by one family for nine generations, yet for many in the United States several generations seems an eternity. Wyck, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, is a rare example; it is a residence inhabited continuously by a single family for nearly three centuries, from 1689 until 1973. Moreover, it’s furnished with...
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An Impressive Legacy: A Half-Century of Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania, 1955-2005

A quarter-century ago, James Biddle (1929-2005), president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, from 1968 to 1980, was named chairman of Pennsylvania’s first State Historic Preservation Board. Jimmy, as the scion of one of the Commonwealth’s most notable families was known – especially to fellow preservationists, many of them working at the grassroots level –...
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A Tall Order for a Tall Ship: Pennsylvania’s Flagship Niagara – An Interview with Captain Walter P. Rybka

Continuing his stellar career with sailing landmarks – including several vessels built specifically to train sailors – Walter P. Rybka joined the staff of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in 1991 as master of the Flagship Niagara. It was the Brig Niagara, his relief flagship, that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commandeered and led the American forces to a...
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A New Way of Learning How to Preserve the Past

There is one question that Carole Wilson, historic preservation specialist for the Lancaster County Planning Commission (LCPC), is repeatedly asked by historic home owners: “Where can I find someone qualified to do this work?” Many owners of historic houses and buildings throughout Pennsylvania wrestle with the same dilemma – where do they find someone who possesses the...
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Giving New Life to a Grande Dame

Established in 1796 on two thousand acres in the southern Allegheny Mountains in Bedford County, the Bedford Springs Hotel grew from a backwoods collection of simple bathhouses, which took advantage of seven natural springs, to become one of the country’s premier resort spas by the mid-nineteenth century. Located along route 220, the hotel lies in a picturesque valley between Constitution Hill...
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Meet Jim Vaughan, PHMC’s New Executive Director

James M. Vaughan was appointed executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) in November 2011. Prior to this appointment Vaughan served as Vice President, Stewardship of Historic Sites for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. In his career Vaughan has led several historic organizations including The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew...
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