Every May, the National Trust for Historic Preservation picks a new theme for their National Preservation Month. This year, they’ve built it around: “See! Save! Celebrate!” to encourage us to see our historic places, save the threatened ones, and celebrate the vital role they play in our communities.
To support that goal, we’re going to do a three-part blog series with each post focusing on one aspect of the theme. Last week we posted about seeing PA historical architecture, with an overview of the styles found in Pennsylvania and the time period they are associated with, and we gave you resources for saving historic buildings in another blog post.
Now we want to celebrate projects that saved historic buildings in Pennsylvania for future generations and give you a list of ways you can support and encourage historic preservation projects.
First I’m going to begin by tooting our own horn a little bit. In November of 2011, we began working on a project that looked like this:
The Franklin Street Train Station in Reading, PA was originally built in the 1920’s. In 1972 when Hurricane Agnes destroyed the building, it was abandoned and sat empty until 2011 when the Berks Area Regional Transit Authority began the massive undertaking of restoring the building to its original glory so they could use it as a bus terminal for their public busing system.
After sitting abandoned for 40 years, the building was in terrible shape. Such terrible shape that in 1999 it was listed as being “At Risk” on the PA At Risk list of threatened historic buildings. The flooding of Hurricane Agnes did the initial damage, but vagrants and vandals over the years, as well as several fires, decimated the building.