Preservation Alliance Launches “Places To Save” List

 

The crumbling gatehouse at Mount Moriah Cemetery | Photo: Dan Papa

Since 2003, the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia has published an end-of-the-year “Endangered Properties” list, highlighting the city’s historic buildings most threatened by development, demolition, or decay. In reevaluating their annual December announcement, the Alliance has decided to take a more timely, strategic approach with the launch of their “Places To Save” list. Announcements will now be made three times a year on the Alliance’s website and in their tri-annual magazine, Extant, which editors here at the Hidden City Daily have helped to create.

The Alliance hopes that spotlighting four new threatened historic assets on an ongoing basis will help underline the need for direct action and illuminate the steps that can be taken to make preservation a reality. “Places don’t wait until December to be endangered,” says Ben Leech, the Alliance’s advocacy director. “The list was always just a snapshot in time, and buildings threatened in January or February were often lost before the next list came around. By spreading the list out throughout the year, we can be more responsive and strategic with what we feature.”

Leech says “Places to Save” will replace the lengthy, somewhat morbid “Endangered Places” list with an “intentional approach that focuses on places where there is a clear preservation strategy—threatened places that we can do something about.” He says with a shorter list it will be easier to give more attention to each place.

Leech notes that although some buildings on the list may appear to stand out more than others, all of them are in equal need of immediate attention. He goes further to bullet point a few reasons why. “The Mount Moriah Gatehouse is losing its fight against gravity and the elements, so in that way is probably the most dire of the four. Stabilization needs to happen soon or there won’t be anything left to stabilize. Planning is also moving ahead quickly on Love Park, and we’re afraid that the path of least resistance will be a new building in place of the Visitor Center. We’re picking up signals that some of the pushing for redevelopment just “don’t get” the building, so we need to quickly demonstrate that there’s strong public support for keeping it. The Blue Horizon is timely because it will be considered for Philadelphia Register designation in November and December, but local designation would be just the first step in trying to find a new owner and use for the building that doesn’t involve demolition.”

See the full “Places to Save” list HERE.

October 2014’s four endangered properties are as follows:

William Penn Inn (527-533 E. Lancaster Avenue, Wynnewood)

Mount Moriah Cemetery Gatehouse (6101 Kingsessing Avenue, Philadelphia)

Legendary Blue Horizon (1314-16 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia)

Fairmount Park Welcome Center (1599 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia)

 

About the author

Michael Bixler is a writer, photographer, and managing editor of Hidden City Daily. He is a former arts and entertainment reporter with Mountain Xpress weekly in Asheville, North Carolina and a native of South Carolina. Bixler has a keen interest in adaptive reuse, underappreciated architecture, contemporary literature and art, and forward-thinking dialogue about people and place. mmbixler.tumblr.com

Send a message!



6 Comments


  1. Why is the William Penn Inn on this list? What’s the context for its “endangered” status?

  2. I can’t see any good reason to protect the Flying Saucer that is the former Love Park visitor center. It’s ill suited for any other use and presumably, Spacely Sprockets isn’t moving in.

  3. Mt. Moriah and the Blue Horizon need to be saved at all costs.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Without Remediation, Diamond In The Rough A Risky Play

Without Remediation, Diamond In The Rough A Risky Play

September 22, 2017  |  News

How safe is safe enough? Environmental researcher Coryn Wolk explores the potential public health risks at a youth baseball field built on top of an industrial alloy production site surrounded by an oil refining complex > more

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

Wayne Junction Moves Forward With Revitalization

September 20, 2017  |  News

Developer Ken Weinstein unveils transit-oriented development plans for Wayne Junction district. GroJLart has the story > more

Inside Northeast Philly's Temple Of Ryerss

Inside Northeast Philly’s Temple Of Ryerss

September 19, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. takes us on a fall field trip to the Ryerss Mansion, an eccentric, little-known house museum in the Great Northeast > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

Unlisted Philadelphia: Locust Theatre

September 14, 2017  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, a marvelous movie house in West Philly > more

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To

Monument Lab: A City-Wide Art Museum That Asks Us To “Leave Fingerprints”

September 13, 2017  |  Vantage

We ought to write our own history, say the organizers of Monument Lab, who launch their multi-week public art and civic introspection festival today in the wake of Charlottesville, Dallas, and Durham. Nathaniel Popkin catches up with Monument Lab founder Paul Farber, who asks us all, "What is an appropriate monument for Philadelphia today?" > more

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

An Original Keeps It Classy On Chestnut Street

September 12, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

From furniture and furnace manufacturing to a 1980s video arcade, 1606 Chestnut Street has kept busy for 127 years. The Shadow has the details on this Center City standout > more