ADVOCACY UPDATE: Appropriations Bill Nets PHC $150K

City Council is on the verge of passing a mid-year transfer ordinance that will provide an additional $150k to the budget of the Philadelphia Historical Commission (PHC). This is a late infusion of appropriations not included in the previously approved Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget. The bill was voted favorably out of committee at the November 17th meeting of the Committee on Appropriations. It is our hope and expectation that the monies provided will allow the Historical Commission to modestly expand its staff, more efficiently process the voluminous permit reviews and nominations that regularly come through the office, and provide ample attention to neighborhoods throughout the city.
This was among the Alliance’s primary legislative objectives for 2021. The Commission still needs even more support, but this is an excellent start in the right direction. We are greatly appreciative of Council’s attention to this core issue, in particular Councilmembers Helen Gym and Mark Squilla, who championed the inclusion of additional support for PHC.
Also now making their way through Commission review are three additional historic districts: the French Norman Revival historic district, also known as the French Village, in West Mt. Airy; Manheim Square in lower Germantown, a row of vernacular Early American houses; and the Chestnut Street East Commercial District, which principally focuses on the commercial development of the 600, 700, and 800 blocks of Chestnut Street. All three have been recommended for approval by the Committee on Historic Designation and are tentatively scheduled for final review at the November 12th monthly meeting of the Historical Commission.

On the nomination front, we are very pleased to share that John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School (319 N. 19th St and 312 N. 18th St) has been formally listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places! Completed in 1911 and designed by Ballinger and Perrot, Hallahan was the first diocesan all-girls high school established in the United States. The school unfortunately closed at the end of the 2020-21 school year, but the property it is now safeguarded from demolition and primed for the next chapter of its storied life. Huge thanks and appreciation to the hundreds (!) of Hallahan alumnae, friends and family who lent their voice to this process. The full nomination, prepared on our behalf by Adrian Trevisan, is available here:…/319-N-19th-St-and-312-N-18th-St…

In other Historical Commission business, three new historic districts were approved on Friday: Chestnut Street East Commercial Historic District (The Keeping Society of Philadelphia, nominator); the French Village Historic District in Mt. Airy (Jenna Farah, Libbie Hawes and the staff of the Philadelphia Historical Commission); and the Manheim Square Historic District in Germantown (Keeping Society). Congratulations to the nominators!
A full recording of last week’s Historical Commission meeting will be available soon
John W. Hallahan
Catholic Girls’ High School
319 N. 19th St and 312 N. 18th St

December Preservation To-Do List

Enjoy the holiday season with festively decorated historic sites. This month take a holiday tour of Fairmount Park’s historic mansions, go on a stroll in Chester and more.

Be sure to visit our virtual bookshop for book recommendations to find the perfect gift.

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

Donate or Become a Member Today

Your support is vital to ensure that the Preservation Alliance can promote the appreciation, protection, appropriate use, and development of our region’s historic buildings, communities, and landscapes.