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...
read more

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...
read more

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....
read more

From the Executive Director

Imagine a Pennsylvania without historic buildings and districts. The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, federal legislation that has dramatically and positively impacted almost every community in the state. Today we take preservation for granted, but that wasn’t always the case. In post-World War II America it was easy to equate progress with concepts...
read more

Punxsutawney Post Office

Although Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, is best known as the home of a renowned weather-forecasting groundhog, it is also a community of notable historic buildings, including the grand Classical Revival U.S. post office shown in this circa 1916 postcard. The Punxsutawney Post Office, with its imposing Ionic limestone columns, was the hub of the community’s mail services from its completion in...
read more

The Restoration of Old Bethel: An Example for the Future

Introduction To a world in a state of con­stant change, today’s goals and cherished values may well be­come tomorrow’s prohibitions. The original idea of restoration – getting people to return to an undervalued old part of town – was understood only in positive terms, until gradually, it be­came apparent that some people at least were moving out or being moved out as a...
read more

The Meaning of Old Bethel

One problem with the construction, or reconstruction, of black history is the scarcity of original manuscripts, particularly those from the black church which traditionally has been a center of black activity. Because few records remain, misconceptions about the lives and attitudes of blacks have often led to a distortion of their history. The reason that few records exist, however, is not...
read more

Evolution of a Preservation Agency: Centre County’s Historic Registration Project

The commemoration of America’s Bicentennial gave birth to numerous community-minded pursuits during its nationwide celebra­tion. Although many of these special endeavors were shelved when the year was over, the administrators of one at least. the Historic Registration Project in Centre County. realized that their work had just begun. Now, four years later, this unique organization is still...
read more

Pennsylvania Architectural Heritage: The Preservation Movement in the Keystone State, 1800-1950

The primary focus of this series of four articles is the architectural heritage of Pennsylvania through the past three centuries. However, in the context of history, architecture is neither an isolated creation nor an assured cultural resource for the future. As buildings ore the products of the interaction of many facets of a society, so. too, the preservation of architecture is the result of...
read more

Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: Representative Styles as Seen in Lancaster County

At the time of the Common­wealth of Pennsylvania’s Ter­centenary, it is appropriate that architecture receive special atten­tion. Of all the arts, architecture is most closely related to life itself: whether a barn or a cathedral, a build­ing satisfies a human need. Thus, buildings are a mirror of a given epoch’s ideals and functions. 1n this light, Pennsylvania’s architectural...
read more