Preservation is most effective in communities that have historic preservation programs managed at the local government level. The Bureau for Historic Preservation offers technical assistance, advice, and educational programs to municipalities and preservation organizations to develop preservation plans, establish local historic district ordinances, investigate alternatives for preserving key buildings, and explore strategies for promoting heritage tourism and commercial and neighborhood revitalization.
For assistance or more information, contact the following Community Preservation Coordinators:
Community Preservation Coordinator Regions
(click image to download larger pdf version, 300 KB)
Options available to municipalities in Pennsylvania for protection of historic resources include designating historic districts under local ordinance as authorized by the 1961 Historic District Act (Act 167)
(PDF, 24.5 KB) as well as using provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code
(Act 67 & 68, Article 6, Section 603-8-7-G-2 and Section 604) that authorizes municipalities to use zoning for protection and preservation purposes. Municipal ordinances adopted under the Historic District Act must be certified by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), by resolution, before the ordinance takes effect. The PHMC has a policy and checklist
(PDF, 129 KB) to facilitate the certification process.
In addition, municipalities in Pennsylvania with ordinances that protect and regulate historic properties may be eligible for the federal Certified Local Government (CLG) status, a program authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act. Funding is available through the CLG program to assist such municipalities to carry out their preservation mission. To see if your municipality currently has a locally designated historic district and if it is also participating in the Certified Local Government program, please contact your regional Community Preservation Coordinator (see map above).
Additional resources are available to local review boards and historic preservation commissions through the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). NAPC provides technical support and manages and information network to help local boards and commissions accomplish their preservation objectives. NAPC's website also has an online design guidelines collection organized by state for easy searching.
Historic District Designation in Pennsylvania
by Michel R. Lefèvre
Historic District Designation in Pennsylvania was updated in 2007. It includes a step-by-step procedure to establishing a historic district under Pennsylvania 's Historic District Act.
"Historic District Designation in Pennsylvania" (PDF, 2.29 MB) is available by clicking on the title to download your copy. The booklet is in Adobe.pdf format and requires the Adobe Acrobat reader to be viewed and printed. The software is available free of charge from the link below.
Additional information such as the PHMC's Manual for PA Historical Architectural Review Boards and Historical Commissions is available by contacting your regional Community Preservation Coordinator.
By submitting materials with respect to state or federal historic preservation programs administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), you grant to the PHMC the rights to:
1. Use the materials for education and promotional purposes and to promote the mission of the PHMC;
2. Publish the materials on the PHMC Web site; and
3. Make the materials available to researchers and scholars.