PlanPhilly

Preservation

    • St. Peter Claver Catholic Church

Saying goodbye to Philadelphia’s first black Catholic church

By Ashley Hahn Over tea, at her kitchen table, Adrienne Andrews Harris cracks open a thick binder containing the story of St. Peter Claver Roman Catholic Church. It’s a blend of…

    • The former Please Touch Museum site was demolished in 2016 (Steve Ives/EOTS Flickr Group)

Philly reckons with its endangered history as preservation task force pivots to solutions

By Ashley Hahn “We’re moving through a jungle, shrouded in mist. We’re on a path. We don’t know where it’s going, or what’s going to hit us in the face. But…

    • The William & Letitia Still House, an Underground Railroad station, is newly protected by historic designation.

Found in South Philadelphia, an Underground Railroad station

From the outside, 625 South Delhi Street looks like an average Philadelphia rowhouse. But in the 1850s, it was home to Underground Railroad leaders William and Letitia Still. Within the house’s…

VIEW MORE

ABOUT PRESERVATION

Historic preservation is a professional endeavor that seeks to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, objects, landscapes or other artifacts of historic significance. Urban design practitioners have assigned the preservation of historic sites and properties varying levels of importance over the last century. However, the importance of maintaining a sense of context and understanding for the forms that preceded us has increased over the last thirty years for many reasons. The market, as well as the urban design discipline itself, has moved us to understand and appreciate that a site’s history and context is an integral part of urban planning.

Government has responded accordingly; the federal branch has established a process by which tax breaks are awarded to developers renovating historic sites, and many local governments have the power to permanently ban demolition of any structure with a certain level of historical significance.

There are now local and regional historical commissions charged with protecting local jewels of the past, though many buildings of the same typology were destroyed decades ago without concern.  In Philadelphia, the Historical Commission reviews any proposed change to properties on the Local Register of Historic Places, which prevents these property owners from making significant exterior changes without approval.  The Register is mainly comprised of individual properties, though there are “historic districts” that are protected, such as Society Hill.

UPCOMING EVENTS IN PRESERVATION

VIEW MORE

Logging in via Facebook

Log in

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Which weekly emails would you like to receive?