Editor’s Letter

In 2016 the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) presented its first Community Initiative Awards to recognize organizations, agencies, municipalities and individuals throughout the commonwealth for their historic preservation successes. The program has become a key component of PA SHPO’s statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere, encouraging...
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House on a Hill: Connecting with the Past in Western Pennsylvania

“It is our family and local histories that are our most precious parts of culture, in my estimation. They put ‘meat on the bones’ of the artifacts we find. Of course, all family history is myth until we have the documentation that backs it up.” — Lynne Humphries-Russ   The narrow access road was hidden, and I almost missed the turnoff. I was anxious to see the...
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Melester Barn

The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) lists about 20 properties per year in the National Register of Historic Places. PA SHPO staff responds to nominations submitted by the public to recognize a particular building, site or district for its historic value and as a course to make it eligible for grants or tax credits to support the property’s restoration or rehabilitation....
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Finding Truth in the Frame: Leah Frances’ Discovery of Pennsylvania’s Historic Places

The National Park Service describes historic preservation as “a conversation with our past about our future.” Historic places are vital to this conversation, revealing the stories about the events, people and developments of a community’s past and representing its identity. In 1935 Verne E. Chatelain, a pioneer of public history and the first National Park Service historian, wrote the paper...
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Pittsburgh’s Wood-Paved Roslyn Place

It’s not often that architectural historians look down — we usually leave that to the archaeologists — but on Roslyn Place, one of Pennsylvania’s newest National Register–listed historic districts, we turned our heads to the ground to consider something that is rare in America: a wood-paved street. Roughly 26,000 oak blocks make up the 250-foot-long cul-de-sac surrounded by 18 houses in...
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Community Initiative Award Recipients Featured in PA SHPO Videos

A core mission of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) is to educate the public regarding state and federal preservation programs. 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 2018 PA SHPO honored three organizations with Community Initiative...
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Mather Mill: A Model for Developing Resiliency for Historic Properties

The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO), a bureau of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) that administers federal and state programs for protecting historic properties in the commonwealth, hosted a demonstration workshop on October 3, 2018, to explore resiliency options for Mather Mill, a National Register–listed gristmill constructed circa 1820 in...
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2017 Trails

Another year has passed on the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Exhibits, special events, thousands of visiting schoolchildren, more than a few beer and wine festivals, and several battle reenactments are now recorded in the books. As a way of wrapping up the year, we look back at a few milestones along the way. But before we turn our attention to the World War I centennial and an overview of...
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Meet Andrea W. Lowery, PHMC’s New Executive Director

In August 2017 the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) appointed Andrea W. Lowery as the new executive director of the agency. A preservationist with more than two decades of experience, Lowery succeeds James M. Vaughan, who retired in July 2017. Lowery has worked for PHMC since 2011, most recently serving as chief of the agency’s Division of Architecture and Preservation...
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Worthy of Preservation? Considering the Future of Architecture in Historic Preservation

The roots of historic preservation run deep in this country, especially in Pennsylvania. Taking hold in the 19th century as a response to unchecked modern development, the field has grown into a multidisciplinary profession, but what galvanizes concerned citizens to oppose the demolition of historic properties for new construction remains much the same today as two centuries ago. After the U.S....
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