The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently launched a website devoted to providing “green building” resources to home and business owners.

The site includes:

Tips for homeowners
*10 green things for under $10
*wood window facts (to educate yourself when the replacement window salesperson knocks on the door)
*energy efficiency tips

There is also information for businesses, about the reuse of buildings, green news, research, and other green building/preservation resources.

This is a valuable site to continue your education about preservation and sustainability be sure to visit and revisit often

On Saturday, June 6, 2009 the Ephrata Cloister hosted their Building History Day. This was a day with traditional crafts being demonstrated, speakers on the topic of historic building and the evolution of domestic architecture, and tours of the unrestored floors of the Sisters’ House.

We were invited over the winter to host a seminar – we had never attended this event and where pleasantly surprised at the number and quality of the demonstrators. I would recommend this event to anyone interested in traditional building methods or techniques.

Our seminar topic was contemporary additions to old homes – after going through the nuts and bolts of the “rules” we had fun showing pictures of “the good, the bad and the ugly” – the discussion among the attendees was fun as we picked apart each addition.

I would like to publicly thank the Ephrata Cloister Associates for inviting us to be a part of such an interesting and worthwhile event. I hope we are invited back next year.


Danielle and Jonathan spent three days in Colonial Williamsburg with Jonathan’s parents Donald and Diane. The picture shows Jonathan and his dad in the stocks next to the courthouse – they quickly learned that public punishment was not very comfortable. A lot has changed in Williamsburg since Danielle and Jonathan visited Thanksgiving 2001. They are in the process of building a new plantation close to the Colonial Capital of Virginia to show how the majority of people lived during this time period – they have a few buildings built (the smaller outbuildings) and they will have to wait until the coffeehouse next to the Capital building is finished being built (next fall) for the carpenters (using only 18th century tools) to build the main house at the plantation.

Jonathan also had a new appreciation for the hand forged rosehead nails that we purchase after watching the blacksmith make them one at a time. Having the time to step back in history appreciating the colonial architecture (noticing the similarities and differences depending on the region of the country) and learning more about the people that lived during our colonial period was a relaxing way to spend a warm fall weekend.

Historic Preservation Incentive Program (HB 221) is a piece of pending legislation that will help preserve historic structures across Pennsylvania. The legislation is designed to encourage people buying, selling, or dealing with historic buildings to be sensitive to the buildings history. This legislation will give more incentives to homeowners and developers making more grants and tax credits available for the preservation/rehab of historic structures. This legislation would help the state in multiple ways: preserving our collective built history, encourage economic development, and reinvest capital in our cities and towns. Twenty-nine other states have already enacted similar legislation.

What can you do?
The budget negotiations are going on right now and are scheduled to conclude next Tuesday, July 1st. Contact Governor Rendell, your State Senators, and House Members. Let them know how important our historical resources are to you. For more information regarding HB 221 contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation at (information is available on the advocacy page of their website along with a letter to e-mail to your local representatives and Governor Rendell).