ADVOCACY UPDATE: Powelton Village Historic District Approved

On Thursday, November 10, the Philadelphia Historical Commission formally approved the Powelton Village Historic District in West Philadelphia and listed it on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The district principally recognizes the incredible concentration of Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne residences constructed in the neighborhood between 1851 and 1931. At 900+ properties (roughly 100 of which are “non-contributing”), it is the largest historic district added to the local Register since 2003.

Huge congratulations and a debt of gratitude to the Powelton Village Civic Association and their partners, who thoughtfully and diligently prepared this district nomination over the previous three (pandemic-stalled) years. This is the city’s 24th new historic district (out of a total of 39) approved in the past five years.

PHC Staffs Up

Thanks to a midyear city budget transfer ordinance championed by the Alliance and secured at the close of 2021, the staff of the Philadelphia Historical Commission is growing. Two new planner-level staffers joined the office in early November, with two more likely to be in place by next month (the staff recently had two departures, creating the need for four new hires). By year’s end the PHC should have a complement of nine full-time staffers, a modest but desperately needed increase in staff capacity as the number of historic properties under their purview continues to grow (see Powelton Village, above).

As City Council approaches the end of their 2022 fall session, we are working to secure additional funding- via the midyear budget appropriations process – which should allow the Historical Commission staff to grow by two more in the coming year, bringing their staff complement to 11. This still compares unfavorably to peer cities and their budgetary level of commitment to similar historic review offices. While still below the commitment of peer cities to their historic review offices, the increase in resources will nonetheless allow the PHC to more ably process nomination submissions, building permit reviews, and ongoing work related to a citywide Cultural Resource Survey and the creation of new “tiered” historic districts.

On The Calendar

Frank Furness: Architect of the Industrial Age

Sunday, November 20, 2022, 4pm

The School in Rose Valley, 20 School Lane, Rose Valley, PA 19063

Our friends at The Rose Valley Museum at Thunderbird Lodge host James Tevebaugh, AIA; President, Friends of the Furness Railroad District. Frank Furness designed over 200 projects for the Reading, B&O and Pennsylvania Railroads. The later work of Will Price, a Furness protégé, further reflects the transition from Victorian to Modern design amidst the Industrial Age. Registration and more details here

In With The Old

Thursday, December 8, 2022, 6:30pm

Oaks Cloister

Picture this. You just arrived on the train. You walk up to a splendidly decorated historic mansion. You are greeted at the door, where someone welcomes you into the ballroom. It’s a cold December evening outside, but it’s cozy in here. You glance up at the gilded ceiling, then over to the fireplace. Someone offers you a drink and a snack. You look around, and realize everyone else at the party also cares about history and preservation.

Too good to be true? We don’t think so! Make that dream a reality when you join us on Thursday, December 8th for In With the Old 2022 at Oaks Cloister in Germantown! Click here for tickets!

November Preservation To-Do List

Enjoy the Fall colors with Preservation events around Philadelphia. This month take a neighborhood tour in Manayunk or Powelton Village, celebrate the completed renovations at the Athenaeum, volunteer for Love Your Park week, and much more!

Click here to view more preservation-related events around town this month. 

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