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Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation
Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation

Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation is a non-profit educational institution in Washington, Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to encourage and assist the preservation of historic structures in Washington County, Pennsylvania.[1] The foundation operates its own landmark certification process, as well as working with the National Park Service to document and place landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places.[1] It also offers advice and assistance for historic building owners who wish to preserve their facilities.[1] Since its inception, the foundation has been successful in helping many historic building owners in the preservation of their structures.[1]

For a number of years, the foundation has been in conflict with Washington & Jefferson College. In 1968, the college's campus master plan called for the expansion of the campus eastward towards Wade Avenue in East Washington Borough, a plan that placed them in conflict with the residents of that area.[2] For the next 30 years, the college maintained a policy of purchasing any homes in that area as they became available.[3] In response, the Washington County History and Landmarks Foundation was able to get the East Washington Historic District, a collection of 120 Victorian homes in that area, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.[4] The college opposed the designation but did not object in time to prevent it.[5] According to College President Howard J. Burnett, the district "was structured to prevent expansion of the college."[5]

In the 1990s, the hard feelings between some residents and the College came to a head, with residents trying to have the Borough enact anti-demolition laws to block expansion and a meeting of the Washington County History and Landmarks Foundation deteriorated into a shouting match between residents and college officials.[2] Burnett maintained that the expansion was beneficial to the community and that the opposition came from a small and non-representative group on Wade Avenue.[6] He also questioned the historic value of many of the designated homes, pointing out that many of them were in very poor shape and others were vacant.[6] As of 1995, the college owned about 30 properties listed in the historic district.[4] In the end, efforts to block the demolition of these buildings, including several which were part of the historic district, were unsuccessful.[6][7] Notably, one 140-year-old farm house at 137 South Wade Street, which the college had acquired in 1977 after being vacant for several years, was moved to a new location outside of town.[4]

In 2009, the foundation sponsored an architectural survey of buildings in the African American areas of Washington.[8]

Bridges


Historic districts


Public landmarks


Residential landmarks and farmsteads


See also


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