The Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office recently announced its Community Initiative Awards for 2022. The four recipients and their projects showcase a range of preservation success stories, demonstrating the value of volunteers, creativity, and community engagement.
The Community Initiative Awards recognize the hard work and dedication of outstanding organizations, municipalities, agencies, and individuals whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan.
Hay Creek Valley Historical Association in Robeson Township was one of four recognized. A mostly volunteer organization, HCVHA was recognized for exemplary stewardship of the 1791 Joanna Furnace and ongoing programming. Established in 1975, HCVHA promotes local history and interprets life in this 18th- and 19th-century ironmaking community.
HCVHA volunteers worked diligently to reclaim and maintain Joanna’s buildings and grounds and continue to study the site’s layers of relevance. HCVHA shares the site with a wide range of visitors annually through classes, workshops, tours, archeological investigations, and the ever-popular Hay Creek Festival, celebrating its 47th year in September.
Other organizations recognized were Blairsville Area Underground Railroad in Indiana County, Concord Township and the Preservation of Spring Valley AME Church in Delaware County, Friends of Sheepford Road Bridge/West Shore Historical Society in Cumberland County, and Fairview Township in York County.
The plan provides a framework of activities and goals that will help Pennsylvanians better understand historic preservation and its benefits, appreciate their shared histories as told through historic places, and balance history and economic development to manage change within their communities.
There is no formal application for the Community Initiative Awards. PA SHPO, a bureau within the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, selects candidates for consideration by reviewing success stories submitted via PA-SHARE, tracking use of the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag, monitoring social media and traditional press coverage, and reporting on active projects that utilize federal or state programs.