National Historic Landmarks

News presents briefs about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania.

January to June 15, 1976


Allegheny County

Allegheny County Court House and Jail – Grant Street, Pittsburgh, 1884-1888. Huge granite complex designed by Henry Hobson Richardson. Richardson, the dean of nineteenth century architects, considered the complex to be his best work.

Smithfield Street Bridge – Smithfield Street at the Monongahela River, Pittsburgh, 1883-1889. Double lenticular truss bridge with elaborate entrance portals. Designed by Gustav Lindenthal, the bridge was one of the first steel truss bridges in the U.S.

Blair County

Charles B. Dudley House – 802 Lexington Avenue, Altoona, c. 1880. Two and one-half-story brick house of little architectural significance. Dudley, a chemist employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad, pioneered the application of science to industrial analysis and testing.

Fayette County

Fallingwater – West of Pa. Rte. 381, Mill Run, 1936, 39. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this building is one of the most famous modern houses in the world.

Philadelphia County

Henry O. Tanner Homesite – 2908 West Diamond Street, Philadelphia. Boyhood home of Tanner (1859-1937), one of America’s best known Black artists. Tanner was known for his religious and portrait paintings and for his sensitive portrayal of Blacks.

Fairmount Water Works – East Bank of the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia, 1812-1822. Group of four Greek Revival buildings designed by Frederick Graff. It is both an engineering triumph as well as an architectural treasure.

United States Naval Asylum – Grays Ferry Avenue at Twenty-fourth Street, Philadelphia, 1827-33, 1844. This home and hospital for retired seaman also served as the First Naval Training School. Designed by William Strickland, its classic facade is one of Philadelphia’s masterpieces.

Hill-Physick-Keith House – 321 South Fourth Street, Philadel­phia, 1786, 1810. Brick townhouse of Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837), one of America’s most noted physicians and surgeons. Also noted for his design of new surgical instruments and the excellence of his teaching.

Washington County

Edward G. Acheson House – 908 Main Street, Monongahela, c. 1870. Two and one-half-story brick house of Edward Acheson (1856-1931), inventor of carborundum and other graphite associated materials.


National Historic Landmarks Defined

Nine Pennsylvania sites were designated from January 1 to June 15 of this year [1976] as National Historic Landmarks.

National Historic Landmarks differ from the properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places basically because the Landmarks have been designated as properties im­portant to the entire nation. The program is administered entirely by the federal Department of the Interior with survey work based on thematic studies including the American Revolution, Black History and Nineteenth Cen­tury Architecture. Reports written by survey teams form the basis for the Secretary of the Interior’s decision.

Specifically, publicly or privately owned, a National Historic Landmark is a special part of America’s heritage, judged by the Secretary of the Interior to possess significance for all Americans and to be worthy of a place on the Department of the Interior’s roll of Landmarks commemorating the nation’s past. Plaques distinguish the landmarks.

The National Register of Historic Places is a register of properties worthy of preservation. Such properties can be of national, state or local historical significance. The Register is administered in Pennsylvania by the PHMC in conjunction with the National Park Service.

Similarities of both programs are the basic benefits of (1) protective aspects of federal legislation and (2) grant-in-aid assistance.

For additional information on the Landmarks program, you can contact the Secretary of the Interior, Washington, D.C. For guidance and assistance for the National Register program, contact the Office of Historic Preservation, the PHMC.