Milestones & Timeline

Keeping Philadelphia Historic Since 1979

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia was established in 1996 to be the principal historic preservation advocacy organization for the Philadelphia region. We grew out of a merger between two predecessor organizations: the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation (established in 1979) and the Preservation Coalition of Greater Philadelphia (established in 1982), two distinct but complementary organizations with long track records in the city. Over the past 35 years, we’ve experienced our share of milestones, suffered some regrettable losses, and celebrated some important victories. We are unwavering in our conviction that Philadelphia is a better place today, and will be a better place tomorrow, thanks to the passion and devotion of our predecessors, and we are proud to carry this legacy into the future.

1979

The Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation was founded as a nonprofit corporation to guide investment dollars into historic renovation projects through tax and other financial incentives, including façade easement donations. Cuthbert Street Row, built in 1710, becomes the first property in Philadelphia to be protected in perpetuity via a preservation easement.

1982

The Rittenhouse Preservation Coalition forms to oppose the demolition the Yarnall and Harrison houses, two historic rowhomes near Rittenhouse Square threatened by a proposed highrise. The group, led by Rhoda Richards, succeeds in passing new zoning laws that block the new tower and save the buildings.

1983

The Rittenhouse Preservation Coalition grows to become the Preservation Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s first citizen-based preservation advocacy organization. Its first chairman in James Biddle, former president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

1984

The Preservation Coalition and others successfully lobby Mayor Wilson Goode and City Council to approve a major overhaul of the city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance, which was first established in 1955. For the first time, the Philadelphia Historical Commission was granted the authority to prevent the demolition of historic buildings and to designate historic districts.

1986

The Foundation for Architecture establishes its popular walking tour series.

1994

The 1st Annual Preservation Achievement Awards are hosted by the Preservation Coalition.

1996

The Philadelphia Historic Preservation Corporation and the Preservation Coalition of Greater Philadelphia merge to become the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

2002

John Andrew Gallery begins ten-year tenure as executive director of the Preservation Alliance.

2003

The Preservation Alliance releases its 1st Annual Endangered Properties List and the first issue of its Preservation Matters newsletter.

2008

The Preservation Alliance inherits the Foundation for Architecture’s walking tour program and continues its ambitious roster of over 60 unique tours.

2009

The Alliance leads a campaign to protect significant public interior spaces by amending the Philadelphia Historic Preservation Ordinance to allow interior designations.

2009

The Preservation Alliance is cosponsor of the first Hidden City Festival, a citywide celebration of under-appreciated historic spaces.

2012

Sixteen years of persistent advocacy efforts by the Alliance and others were rewarded when Pennsylvania becomes the 30th state to establish a state-level historic preservation tax credit.

2012

John Andrew Gallery retires and is succeeded as executive director by Caroline E. Boyce, former executive vice president of AIA Pennsylvania, founding director of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, and executive director of Preservation Pennsylvania.

2014

The Alliance publishes the debut issue of Extant, a new magazine to promote historic preservation efforts in the Philadelphia region and the first in a series of planned collaborations with Hidden City Daily, an online journal that developed out of the Hidden City Festival.

2016

Caroline E. Boyce steps down after three years as Executive Director. She is replaced by Paul Steinke, former General Manager of Reading Terminal Market, former Finance Director for the Center City District, and first Executive Director of the University City District.