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Resources on Historic Buildings at the Pennsylvania State Archives


The following links to the holdings of the Pennsylvania State Archives and the resources available at the Bureau of Historic Preservation will be useful to patrons conducting research on historic buildings.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission's Bureau of Historic Preservation holds a variety of material - both in automated and paper formats - about buildings, archaeological sites and other historic properties in the Commonwealth. Types of material available include photographs, maps, histories, narrative descriptions, National Register of Historic Places nomination forms, the results of county survey projects, and integrated online locator systems.

STATE ARCHIVES HOLDINGS:

Microfilm

  • Federal Direct Tax for 1798 (rolls 7309-7332 in MG-262, Special Collections Microfilm), also known as the "Glass Tax" or "Window Tax," provides measurements and other descriptive data about the buildings owned by each taxpayer 
  • Federal Direct Tax for Lancaster County, 1815 (rolls 11990-11998 in Record Group 47 County Microfilm Cabinets) contain much of the same kind of descriptive infornation on buildings as the 1798 Direct tax except that the number and size of the window openings is not specified.

Record Group 1 Records of the Department of Agriculture

  • Glass Lantern Slides of Pennsylvania Market Houses, 1920. (1 box) {#1.9} [Description]
  • Farm Census Correspondence, 1924, 1927-1928. (5 folders) {#1.10} [Description]
  • Farm Census County Summaries, 1924-1927. (1 box) {#1.11} [Description]
  • Farm Census Returns, 1924, 1927. (58 boxes) {#1.12} [Description]
  • Farm Census Summary Lists, 1924-1928. (10 folders) {#1.13} [Description]

Record Group 6 Records of the Department of Forests and Waters

  • Valley Forge Park Commission Blueprint, 1928. (1 folder) {#6.8}[Descriptions]
  • Valley Forge Park Commission Condemnation Proceedings, 1940-1946. (6 folders) {#6.9}[Descriptions]
  • Valley Forge Park Commission Reports, 1919, 1935-1939. (2 volumes) {#6.10} [Descriptions]
  • Photographs and Negatives, [ca. 1890-1971]. (16 cartons, 1 box, 36 drawers) {#6.20} [Descriptions]

Record Group 7 Records of the General Assembly

  • Capitol Preservation Committee Completed Projects Files, 1997-1999 (1 volume, 12 videotapes and Microfilm Rolls 5763-5772) {#7.84} [Description]
    • The filies relate exclusively to the renovation of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.

Record Group 9 Records of the General State Authority

  • Construction Photographs and Blueprints, 1932-1939. (10 boxes, 4 folders) {#9.1}[Description]
    • Photographs and blueprints are for Commonwealth-owned buildings.

Record Group 12 Records of the Department of Highways

  • Historical Reference Files of Joseph W. Hunter Relating to State Roads, Turnpikes, and the National Road, 1806-1929. (11 boxes) {#12.7} [Description]
    • Historic buildings are ocasionally noted on the margins of these roads.
  • State Road and Turnpike Maps, 1706-1873. (650 items) {#12.9} [Description]
    • Historic buildings are occasionally noted on the margins of these roads.
  • Applications File, [ca. 1907-1910], (892 glass slides and film negatives and 5 volumes) {#12.25}[Description]
    • Historic buildings occasionally serve as backgrounds.
  • Lantern Slide File, [ca. 1907-1930] (Approximately 1,400 lantern slides) {#12.26} [Description]
    • Historic buildings occasionally serve as backgrounds.
  • Main File of Black and White Prints and Negatives, [ca. 1924-1956]. (61 boxes, 40 drawers) {#12.10} [Description]
    • Historic buildings occasionally serve as backgrounds.
  • Photographic Unit's Construction File, 1938-1961. (8 drawers) {#12.11} [Description]
    • Historic buildings occasionally serve as backgrounds.
  • Photographic Unit's File of Mounted and Unmounted Prints, [ca. 1915-1932]. (17 boxes) {#12.12} [Description]
    • Historic buildings occasionally serve as backgrounds.
  • Photographic Unit's Slide File, 1940-1948. (1 box) {#12.15} [Description]
    • Historic buildings occasionally serve as backgrounds.

Record Group 13 Records of the Historical and Museum Commission

  • Photographs of Commission Properties for Publications, 1950-1990. (9 boxes) {#13.45} [Description]
  • Historic Survey Reports, 1970-2000. (20 cartons) {13.140} [Unprocessed accession #4780]
  • Graeme Park House Drawings, [ca. 1918-1919]. (1 flat box) {#13.64} [Description]
  • Reports, Correspondence, Blueprints, and Miscellaneous Records Relating to Historical Property Maintenance, 1945-1975. (5 cartons) {#13.67} [Description]
  • Valley Forge Park Commission Reports and Files, 1908-1975. (1 carton) {#13.68} [Description]

Record Group 17 Records of the Land Office

Record Group 20 Records of the Department of General Services

  • Reports, Correspondence, Photographs, Blueprints, and Miscellaneous Records Relating to Works Progress Administration Construction Projects, 1930-1943. (4 cartons, 1 box) {#20.5} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties.
  • State Art Commission Minutes, 1919-1950, 1965-1968. (9 folders) {#20.40} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties or buildings funded by the Commonwealth.
  • State Art Commission Indexes to Projects, 1965-1987. (3 volumes, 3 folders) {#20.41} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties or buildings funded by the Commonwealth.
  • State Art Commission Projects, 1981-1982, 1985. (2 folders) {#20.43} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties or buildings funded by the Commonwealth.
  • Building Demolition Files, 1974-1985, 1988-2002. (7 cartons) {#20.42} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties.
  • Building Demolition Files of the Bureau of Real Estate and Insurance, 1951-1966. (3 boxes) {#20.10} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties.
  • Capitol and Capitol Park Extension Photographs, 1896-1928, 1950. (1 box, 1 drawer) {#20.34} [Description]
    • Photographs depict buildings in the Capitol Park Extension in Harrisburg.
  • Construction Plans and Specifications for Public Buildings and Bridges, 1893-1975. (7 drawers, 150 folders) {#20.35} [Description]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned properties.
  • Minutes, 1915-1930. (16 folders) {#20.37} [Description] [Holdings]
    • Records relate to Commonwealth-owned buildings.
  • Report of the Capitol Park Extension Commission, 1920. (1 folder) {#20.38} [Description]

Record Group 22 Records of the Department of Education

  • Historic Properties File, 1931-1945. (4 boxes) {#22.5} [Description]
    • File relates to historic properties owned and operated by the Department of Education.
  • Photographs of Elementary and High Schools, undated. (23 prints) {#22.6} [Description]

Record Group 31 Records of the Department of Commerce

  • Photograph File of Mounted Prints and Negatives, 1938-1954. (9 boxes, 12 cartons) {#31.6} [Description]
  • Photograph File of Transparencies, 1938-1954. (9 boxes) {#31.7} [Description]
  • Aerial Photographs and Index of the 1940 Aerial Survey of Pennsylvania, 1937-1942. (32 drawers, 26 cartons) {#31.18} [Description] [Images]
  • Geographic Index to Aerial Surveys, 1946-1950. (3 volumes) {#31.19} [Description]
Record Group 46 Records of the Valley Forge Park Commission

Record Group 47 Records of County Governments

  • Record Group 47 Records of County Governments contain microfilm copies of county tax, deed, and estate records that are useful for establishing ownership of tracts of land, documenting property valuations, and in some cases providing estate inventories revealing how homes were furnished.
Manuscript Group Holdings

Manuscript Group 11 Map Collection, 1681-1973

  • Many county and township maps depict extant buildings and the T.M. Fowler bird's eye views of towns and cities are particularly valuable sources of information.
    • (Other good map depicitons of historic buildings can be found in the Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970, maintained as a browsable website by Proquest Information and Learning. Please note: this is a subscription service and you need to access this resource through a subscribing library or other organization. The State Archives has no affiliation with this site, nor do we hold more than a few original Sanborn Maps in our own Manuscript Group 11)

Manuscript Group 31 Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society Records, 1959-1969

  • Records relate exclusively to covered bridges.

Manuscript Group 85 J. Horace McFarland Papers. 1859-1866, 1898-1951

  • Photographs depict historic buildings and streetscapes in Harrisburg and nearby towns.

Manuscript Group 165 Lloyd Mifflin Collection, 1835-1965

  • Photographs depict some historic buildings in Columbia Borough and vicinity.

Manuscript Group 171 Samuel W. Pennypacker Papers, 1703-1916 (bulk 1851-1916)

  • Photographs depict some historic building throughout southeastern Pennsylvania.

Manuscript Group 174 Historical Society of Berks County Deposit of Union Canal Company of Pennsylvania Papers, 1792-1885

  • Materials relate to the Union Canal and iron furnaces lying in Berks County.

Manuscript Group 175 Pine Grove Furnace Collection, 1785-1914

  • Materials relate exclusively to Pine Grove.

Manuscript Group 182 Lebanon County Historical Society Deposit of Manuscript Collections, 1757-1940

  • Materials relate exclusively to Lebanon County.

Manuscript Group 185 Harmony Society Papers, 1742-1951

  • Papers relate exclusively to Old economy Village.

Manuscript Group 199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collections, [ca. 1830-1974]

  • Some photographs depict train stations and also other buildings as background.

Manuscript Group 203 Cornwall Furnace Collection, 1768-1940

  • Materials relate exclusively to Cornwall Iron Furnace.

Manuscript Group 213 Postcard Collection, [ca. 1880-1974]

  • Postcards depict buildings and streetscapes throughout Pennsylvania.

Manuscript Group 214 Warren J. Harder Collection, 1928-1968

  • Photographs depict buildings and streetscapes in Harrisburg and vicinity.

Manuscript Group 217 Harrisburg Home Star Collection, [ca. 1920-1971 (bulk 1961-197l)]

  • Photographs relate to Harrisburg and vicinity.

Manuscript Group 218 Photograph Collections, [ca. 1853 - ongoing]

  • Photographic subjects include buildings throughout Pennsylvania.

Manuscript Group 240 William W. Stoey Collection, 1893-1925

  • Photographs depict buildings in Dauphin, Cumberland, York, and Adams Counties.

Manuscript Group 280 Arthur D. Bransky Collection of Charles Ross Photographs, 1905-1906

  • Photographs depict buildings in Adamsdale, Alburti, Allentown, Annville, Blandon, Bowers, Campbelltown, Centerpoint, Fleetwood, Fogelsville, Hereford, Kutztown, Macungie, Monterey, Newberry, Pottsville, Reading, Shamokin, Temple, Topton, West Leesport, and Williamsport.

Manuscript Group 281 Samuel W. Kuhnert Papers, [ca. 1912-1976]

  • Photographs depict buildings in Dauphin, Cumberland, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Perry, Northumberland, Montour, and Lycoming Counties.

Manuscript Group 289 George Hart Photographs, [ca. 1860-1960]

  • Photographs depict some buildings in Reading and Philadelphia.

Manuscript Group 291 Hope Lodge Collection, 1920-[ongoing], & undated

  • Materials relate exclusively to Hope Lodge.

Manuscript Group 303 R. Brognard Okie Architectural Papers, 1793, 1828-1949

  • Drawings relate primarily to homes constructed in the Philadelphia suburbs but some as far away as Erie.

Manuscript Group 316 Historic Fort Hunter Museum Collection, 1843-1940, 1954, 1978

  • Materials relate exclusively to Fort hunter Historic site.

Manuscript Group 324 Old Mill Village Collection, 1845-1847, 1857-1870, 1883-1897, 1907-1915, 1932-1937, & undated

  • Materials relate exclusively to Old Mill Village.

Manuscript Group 325 Pine Street Presbyterian Church Photograph Collection, [ca. 1895-1925]

  • Photographs depict some buildings in Harrisburg.

Manuscript Group 326 Bowers-Rawson Family Photographs, [ca. 1865-1911]

  • Photographs depict buildings in Potter County including Austin, Costello, and Germania.

Manuscript Group 327 Ira J. Stouffer Postcards, [ca. 1915]

  • Postcards depict buildings in Blair, Cambria, Centre, Dauphin, Franklin and Huntingdon counties.

Manuscript Group 328 William C. Harleman Photographs, [ca. 1910]

  • Photgraphs depict buildings in Carbon and Schuykill counties and include views of Glen Onoko, Lehighton, Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Tamaqua, and Weissport.

Manuscript Group 329 Ivan L. Carter Photograph Collection, [ca. 1922-1938]

  • Photographs depict buildings in and around Carlisle.

Manuscript Group 335 Violet Harner Wise Photographs, [ca. 1945-1965]

  • Photographs depict some buildings in Harrisburg.

Manuscript Group 338 Real Estate Trust Company of Philadelphia Records, 1861-1963

  • Records relate exclusively to real estate development in Philadelphia.

Manuscript Group 339 Cornwall Ore Bank Company Records, 1802-1935, 1954

  • Records relate exclusively to Cornwall Ore Banks.

Manuscript Group 343 Carl W. Gatter Architectural Research Books, 1981

  • Records relate to a planned but never carried out reconstruction of the "Slate Roof House" in Independence Park, Philadelphia.

Manuscript Group 344 Susquehanna Company Records, 1754-1803

  • Contains abstracts of deeds and conveyances for tracts located in the Wyoming Valley.

Manuscript Group 351 Julius F. Sachse Deposit of Ephrata Cloister Materials, 1680-1939 (bulk: 1725-1931)

  • Materials relate exclusively to the Ephrata Cloister.

Manuscript Group 354 Old Economy Village Collection, [ca. 1813-1953]

  • Records relate exclusively to old economy Village.

Manuscript Group 362 Denise Weber Photographs, 1906

  • Photographs depict the Vinton Colliery in Vintondale.

Manuscript Group 367 Lawrie and Green Collection, [ca. 1922-1960]

  • Drawings depict buildings located in Harrisburg and vicinity as well as the Lycoming County Courthouse, Williamsport; the Sunbury Hospital, Sunbury; the Hunt Library and Student Union Building at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh; the Warren Municipal Building, Warren; and the Williamsport YWCA Building, Williamsport.

Manuscript Group 380 Mattie Edwards Hewitt Photographs, [ca. 1925-1945]

  • Photographs depict buildings in east central Pennsylvania including in Adamsdale, Alburti, Allentown, Annville, Blandon, Bowers, Campbelltown, Centerpoint, Fleetwood, Fogelsville, Hereford, Kutztown, Macungie, Monterey, Newberry, Pottsville, Reading, Shamokin, Temple, Topton, West Leesport, and Williamsport.

Manuscript Group 385 Walter Benson Photographs, [ca. 1955-1985]

  • Photographs depict buildings in Annville, Harrisburg, Hershey, Gettysburg, Grantville, Fort Indiantown Gap, Linglestown, Middletown, Stoverdale, Strasburg, and Wellsville.

Manuscript Group 394 Pennsbury Manor Collection, 1746-1942

  • Records relate exclusively to Pennsbury Manor.

Manuscript Group 396 Milford H. Patterson Architectural Designs, [ca. 1940-1980]

  • Drawings depict Utz Potato Chip Co., Hanover; Bethlehem Steel Co., Steelton; West Shore Country Club, Camp Hill; Hershey Chocolate Corp., Hershey; Zion Luthern Church, Harrisburg; and St. Paul's Lutheran Church, New Cumberland.

Manuscript Group 419 United States View Company Photographs, [ca. 1880-1900]

  • Just 64 photographic prints depicting people standing in front of vintage houses.

Manuscript Group 425 Ebasco Environmental Company Aerial Photographs, [ca. 1980-1985]

  • Aerial photographs depict portions of Adams, Bedford, Chester, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Lancaster, Somerset and York Counties.

Manuscript Group 432 Rathmell Covered Bridge Collection, 1950-1960

  • Materials relate to covered bridges across Pennsylvania.

Manuscript Group 437 Karl Arndt Collection of Harmony Society Materials, 1794-1949

  • Materials relate exclusively to Old Economy Village.

Manuscript Group 439 Edward K. Barnsley Papers, 1801-1932, 1986 (bulk 1932-1986)

  • Materials relate to the reconstruction of Pennsbury Manor.

Manuscript Group 464 Francis Cooper Photographs, 1896-1920

  • Photographs depict buildings in Juniata and Mifflin Counties.

Manuscript Group 480 J. B. Lankes Photograph Collection, 1923

  • Photographs depict barns located near Adamstown, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Dillsburg, Elizabethtown, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lititz, Millersburg, Newville, Shiremanstown, Summit, Waynesboro, Wellsville, and Wescoesville.

Manuscript Group 482 Albert F. Zimmerman Photographs, 1865-1938

  • Photographs depict buildings and streetscapes in Williamsport and vicinity

PA State Archives - Research Guides - Historic Buildings

If you need further assistance, you may contact an archivist at ra-statearchives@pa.gov