The Erie Warner: From Movie Palace to Movie House to Civic Center

Once upon a time, brightly lit marquees of movie palaces of Pennsylvania’s streets dazzled the eyes of pleasure seekers. Today, the genre, described as possibly “the most dis­tinctly American contribution to archi­tectural history,” is all but extinct. And when a survivor is found, as on Erie’s State Street, the structure is a reminder of the gaudy and the phony, the...
read more

Wilson Eyre: The Philadelphia Domestic Ideal

At the turn of the twentieth century, Wilson Eyre was at the height of his architectural powers. For sixteen years he had had a successful practice in Philadelphia, one of America’s major architectural centers. The United States bad become a world power, with money to give con­crete evidence of this in the buildings of her great cities, and Philadelphia’s blend of conservative...
read more

Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1950-1981

As the last in a four-part series about Pennsylvania s architecture, this conclusion focuses on the develop­ments which have occurred in the field of preservation over the past thirty years. Although this temporal division may seem disproportionate when com­pared with the one hundred fifty years covered in rite preceding article. it has been dictated by both the incentives and challenges to...
read more

If Only the Walls Could Talk: The Story of the Federal Barn

“There is no building that does nor develop some unexpected charm with age; but the early American barn, taking into consideration its reason for being, I’ve found to be an exceptional and impressive subject. The growth of moss, the dust of hay, the powdering of mortar in joints, the mellowing of cut stone, the aging of wood – all things thought to be unfortunate – are...
read more

Revolving Funds: Historic Preservation Gets a New Tool

Over the past seventy-five years, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has preserved Pennsylvania’s historic heritage through its sixty historic sites and museums. Across the Commonwealth, hundreds of other historic properties have also been maintained as house museums or community centers by local governments, historical societies and preservation organiza­tions. With the...
read more

A Country Seat on the Susquehanna: Wright’s Ferry Mansion

On the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania, ten miles west of Lancaster, Wright’s Ferry Man­sion was built in 1738 for a remarkable English Quaker, Susanna Wright. In 1726, when Susanna was twenty-nine, she purchased one hundred acres in this region on the fringes of Pennsylvania wilderness, then inhabited by a small tribe of Indians and known as...
read more

Okie Speaks For Pennsbury, Part II

In its attempt during the 1930s to re-create William Penn’s 1683 manor house in Bucks County, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in­advertently unleashed a storm of con­troversy over the way in which the site, its archeological evidence and its ar­chitecture should be interpreted. Long before reconstruction of the manor house was completed in 1938 (landscap­ing and furnishing occurred...
read more

Pennsylvania Firehouses: The Evolution of Design

Firehouses are among the most easily recognizable and popular public buildings across the nation. Beginning with the construction of the first permanent homes for volunteer companies in the early nineteenth cen­tury, fire station design has been influ­enced by functional requirements. Be­yond serving as a place to store fire­fighting equipment, however, the fire­house was also a public building,...
read more

Historic Preservation in Pennsylvania: A Primer

Depending on the individual, historic preser­vation evokes a myriad of interpretations. To the local historical society, it’s restoring the town’s oldest structure to a house-museum showcasing collections of period antiques. To community planners, it often results in a challenge of saving the best while destroying the rest. And to many, historic preservation means little more than a...
read more

Reading’s Past Will Be a Part of Its Future

Travellers, visitors, or out-of-towners have associated Reading, Pennsylvania, at various times in its history with its most sa­lient industry or activity. In the eighteenth century, had our ancestors been as ready as we to identify a per­son or place solely by one feature, Reading could have been known as “Felt Hat City.” In the nineteenth century, when railroading became one of...
read more