As expressed by Darwin Braund, the awards program master of ceremonies, the Historic Preservation Awards is our local “historic hall of fame” for individuals and organizations, and their various historic preservation projects. This year, on the 25th anniversary, several new worthy recipients were added to the long list of 165 honorees to date. The 2013 award recipients are:
- Centre County Genealogical Society (CCGS) – Centre County. Established in 1975, the CCGS has worked to document and preserve many fragile pieces of Centre County history, and make them more accessible to the public. Their accomplishments include a physical inventory of Centre County cemeteries; transcribing and publishing information from cemeteries, marriage, birth and death records; attending public outreach events; hosting genealogy educational workshops; maintaining an informative website, and directly assisting others in the preservation of their own past.
- Robert B. Hazelton, Historic Research – Pennsylvania Furnace, Ferguson Township. Bob Hazelton’s nomination spans all four of the awards categories. His extensive work includes walking and studying the landscape, caring for historic cemeteries, conducting historical research, and sharing his findings with the public through countless history presentations and guided site visits – all as a volunteer. His program topics span the county’s geography, to include Erbtown, Spring Creek Canyon, Scotia, Boalsburg, and most recently Baileyville.
- Historic Flour Mills Map Project: Mr. Robert McLaughlin, of Howard, Centre County. Mr. McLaughlin has been researching the historic roller and flour mills of Centre County. Nearly all have been lost from the landscape, with only a few still visible. He has identified over 60 mill sites to date. In 2012, with the help of a Penn State student, these sites were mapped atop a modern topographical map in digital form, to make it available for use by researchers. This ongoing research represents a rich overview of Centre County’s early industrial and agricultural history.
- James Irvin Farm: Lewis and Gail Biddle Family – Oak Hall, College Township. The Georgian style limestone mansion, stone bank barn, and adjacent outbuildings have been in the family’s care for more than 100 years. Dating to circa 1825, and first occupied by General James Irvin and his wife Julianna Gregg Irvin, the significant architectural structures on this farmstead remain nearly unchanged today. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Oak Hall Historic District.
- Robert Valentine House: Michael and Tara Immel – Bellefonte. The Italianate style house located at 105 E. Curtin Street in Bellefonte, known historically as the Robert Valentine residence, was rescued by the Immel family after it was nearly destroyed by fire in fall 2008. The Immels have invested time, effort, and finances into an extensive restoration, preserving the stone structure and a key component of Bellefonte’s historic residential streetscape that would have otherwise been lost forever.
- Salt Lick CCC Camp S-121 Historical Marker Committee: The Howard T. “Jim” Davy Family, and the Curtin Township Board of Supervisors – Orviston, Curtin Township. This committee was instrumental in the development and installation of a stone monument marking the site of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp S-121. The Camp opened in 1933, housing men who constructed roads, opened fire trails, planted trees, and improved streams. On the CCC’s 80th anniversary, the marker commemorates the workers’ legacies, and preserves the CCC’s history for future generations.
Naming the “John H. Ziegler Historic Preservation Annual Awards Program”
At the awards program, a special presentation was made by the CCHS Board of Governors, announcing the annual Historic Preservation Awards Program will carry the name of John H. Ziegler. John has been involved since the beginnings of this awards initiative twenty-five years ago and has served as its chairman since then. This naming of the program is to honor John who has in so many ways furthered the Historical Society’s mission over the years by encouraging community members to better understand, experience, appreciate and preserve the cultural and natural heritage of Centre County.
From this point forward, the awards will bare the name: John H. Ziegler Historic Preservation Awards Program of the Centre County Historical Society.
We extend our thanks to the Preservation Awards committee members* and those who volunteered to help with event preparation, refreshments, and clean-up: