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Historic Preservation in Philadelphia

Old buildings have a story to share.

What is Historic Preservation?

Historic preservation is a conversation with our past about our future. It provides us with opportunities to ask, "What is important in our history?" and "What parts of our past can we preserve for the future?" Through historic preservation, we look at history in different ways, ask different questions of the past, and learn new things about our history and ourselves. Historic preservation is an important way for us to transmit our understanding of the past to future generations. (National Parks Service)

Whenever I see an old building, I would wonder, "Why is this building still standing?" If a building is still standing, then there has to be reason. When I studied historic preservation during my undergraduate years at Temple University, I learned that in order to keep an old building, there has to be a significance behind it, whether it has to do with a person, an event, its architecture, etc. Then I would be like, "Oh, okay! This building then played a big part in the city or area during a certain time!" We have a sense of what this building was like during a certain century, who lived in this building, lifestyle, etc.

Old City is one of the BEST examples in Philadelphia: where the birthplace of America took place, and where the Declaration of Indepence was signed. Everywhere in Old City you would see old buidlings and structures. You get to be part of history by walking through the old streets of Philadelphia. 

Everywhere in Philadelphia there are historic buildings. As you explore around the city, you get to understand what made Philadelphia great. In each neighborhood they tell a story of their orgins, and how it impacted the city. 

So... What Does Historic Preservation Mean to Me?

A building that wants to share a story. They don't have to be buidlings. They can also be landscapes, statues, bridges, etc.

Historic Preservation in Philadelphia


Independence Hall (Old City)


Left: Elfreth's Alley (Old City); Right: Cliveden (Germantown)

Featured Books at Drexel

Below are books selected from the Drexel University Catalog relating to historic preservation. The books below are the most common preservation books.