Celebrating Historic Preservation Month Across the Corridor
Written by Wendi Blewett, DLNHC Collections Manager
May is Historic Preservation Month, dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the nation’s heritage through its historic sites. Established in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the event is coordinated by local preservation groups, historical societies, and other organizations across the country.
While there are many, many historical areas in the Corridor, did you know there are also 333 nationally recognized historic places? The National Register of Historic Places (aka National Register or NRHP), authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, lists nearly 100,000 properties or locations in the US that are recognized as worthy of preservation. This May, let’s look at a few of these historic places – you may be surprised to find some of them are in your own backyard!
Bear Creek Village Historic District, Bear Creek Village
Added to the National Register in 1999, this location has 55 buildings, 4 sites, and 2 additional structures that includes houses and outbuildings, churches, cemeteries, a dam and lake, and the remains of early lumber and ice industries. Be sure to visit the Bear Creek Preserve or Buttermilk Falls, just south of the village!
Nathan Denison House, Forty Fort
This historic home was built in 1790 and added to the National Register in 1970. It was the home of Colonel Nathan Denison, a Revolutionary soldier, and Luzerne County judge. The Denison House is open to the public on select Summer Sundays. The Forty Fort Meetinghouse, also on the NRHP, is less than 5 minutes away.
Eckley Historic District, Foster Township
This is the site of Eckley Miners’ Village, an anthracite coal mining patch town that remains virtually unchanged from its appearance in the 1870s. The site is now an indoor/outdoor museum. It joined the National Register in 1971.
Palmerton Historic District, Palmerton
Added to the National Register in 2018, this area includes over 1200 buildings and structures. It was developed by Stephen Squires Palmer, President of the New Jersey Zinc Company, starting in the 1890s.
Little Gap Covered Bridge, Lower Towamensing Township
This covered bridge joined the NRHP in 1980. Although its exact date of construction is unknown, it has elements of bridge construction that date roughly to the 1860s.
Asa Packer Mansion, Jim Thorpe
This mansion was added to the National Register in 1974 and sits in the Old Mauch Chunk Historic District (also on the National Register). It was completed in 1861 and was the home of Asa Packer, coal and railroad magnate and founder of Lehigh University.
Weona Park Carousel, Pen Argyl
The “Jewel of Pen Argyl” was added to the National Register in 1999. It is a Dentzel stationary menagerie carousel with 44 animals and 2 sleighs. The animals were hand carved between the 1890s and the 1910s. You can visit the park and take a ride on the carousel during its open season.
Daniel Steckel House, Bath
Built in 1803 as a showplace for the burgeoning settlement of Bath, it was added to the NRHP in 1982. It had been converted to a bed and breakfast in recent years.
Lehigh Valley Silk Mills, Fountain Hill
Originally the Lipps and Sutton Silk Mill and the adjacent Warren Silk Mill, the Lehigh Valley Silk Mills were one of three major silk mills in the Bethlehem area in the 1910s. The buildings were added to the National Register in 1993 and stand today as storage space and borough offices.
Coplay Cement Company Kilns, Coplay
This historic site, added to the National Register in 1980, is known today as the Saylor Park Industrial Museum. The nine cement kilns built in 1892-3 are still standing. While you’re there, take a walk on the Ironton Rail Trail or hop over to the D&L Trail!
Troxell-Steckel House, Egypt
Built in 1756 by John Peter Troxell (Johan Peter Trachsel), the property includes a spring house and barn. It now operates as a historic museum. It’s been on the National Register since 1980.
Lock Ridge Furnace Complex, Alburtis
Added to the NRHP in 1981, the Lock Ridge Iron Company was organized in 1866. It was purchased by the Thomas Iron Company and operated until 1921. Visit Lock Ridge Park to see the museum and the remains of the complex.
Quakertown Historic District, Quakertown
The Quakertown Historic District encompasses 386 acres and almost 2200 buildings! It showcases both pre- and post-Civil War construction and includes buildings also on the National Register, like the Enoch Roberts House and the Quakertown Passenger and Freight Station. It was added to the NRHP in 2011.
Trevose Manor, Bensalem Township
The Trevose Manor, or Growden Mansion, is an English manor that was added to the National Register in 1976. It was built in the 1680s and has seen many prominent visitors over the years, such as Benjamin Franklin.
Summerseat was built in the 1770s and was added to the National Register in 1971. It is also a National Historic Landmark. It was built for Thomas Barclay and owned by two signers of the Declaration of Independence: Robert Morris and George Clymer.