Mission and Purpose:
Founded in 1964, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) is a nonprofit historic preservation organization that works within a 250-mile radius of Pittsburgh, Pa., to:
identify and save historically significant places;
renew historic neighborhoods, towns, and urban areas;
preserve historic farms and historic designed landscapes;
and educate people about the Pittsburgh region’s rich architectural heritage.
PHLF’s purpose is to renew communities and build pride among the people who live here. “Through the place, we renew the spirit of the people,” says Co-founder and President Arthur P. Ziegler. “Historic preservation can be the underlying basis of community renewal, human renewal, and economic renewal. Preservation is not some isolated cultural benefit.”
After 50 years of work in the Pittsburgh region, PHLF has shown that architectural landmarks and historic neighborhoods are community assets and that historic preservation can be a catalyst for urban renewal.
PHLF includes a nonprofit lending subsidiary (Landmarks Community Capital Corporation), a for-profit development subsidiary (Landmarks Development Corporation), and various limited partnerships and a limited liability company. PHLF and its subsidiaries engage in economic development for the purpose of revitalizing historic neighborhoods and downtown areas; creating low-income and affordable housing; and stabilizing low- and moderate-income areas.
Economic Development and Preservation
PHLF is especially known for its pioneering work in restoring inner-city neighborhoods without dislocating the people who live there, and for renovating five underutilized Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad buildings into the mixed-use riverfront development of Station Square, directly across from Downtown Pittsburgh.
Recently in Downtown Pittsburgh, PHLF and its subsidiaries acquired and converted three badly deteriorated buildings into “Market at Fifth,” a LEED-Gold mixed-use development; acquired and renovated the Thompson’s Building to house the Market Street Grocery; and restored the façades of ten buildings on Fifth Avenue and Wood Street, in partnership with the City and State.
In Wilkinsburg, PHLF’s renovation of the Crescent and Wilson apartments, combining low-income tax credits and federal rehabilitation tax credits, is considered a model project by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
PHLF has undertaken a comprehensive survey of architectural landmarks; awarded more than 575 Historic Landmark plaques; regularly completes nominations of historic properties and districts to the National Register of Historic Places; manages an easement program that protects more than 40 historic structures in perpetuity; raises funds to support a program of financial and technical assistance benefiting historic religious properties within Allegheny County; and extends loans to neighborhood organizations to help restore historic properties and improve main streets.
Through its work, PHLF is improving the quality of life for Pittsburghers and attracting tourists to the region. Thanks in large part to the work and determination of PHLF in partnership with others, historic homes in Manchester and the Mexican War Streets, among many other neighborhoods, have been restored and are anchoring economically and racially diverse communities; and stores on main streets, such as East Carson Street, and the offices, shops, and restaurants at Station Square are flourishing and attracting people.
Each year, more than 10,000 people participate in PHLF’s award-winning educational programs that include pre-school activities, a career awareness program, architectural design challenges, Poetry and Art book-publishing programs, the Landmarks Scholarship Program, teacher workshops, free public walking tours, and the publication of a series of architectural guidebooks. The History Channel, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission are among those who have recognized PHLF for its creative and engaging programs.
Through its educational programs, PHLF gives young people and adults the chance to explore real places that contribute to the life and character of the city and region, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of neighborhoods, propose solutions for vacant lots, and strengthen academic and citizenship skills. PHLF works daily to inspire a new generation of people to care for and reuse historic structures that make our city and region a distinctive, livable place. As one middle school student from Pittsburgh Brookline said after touring with PHLF, “Now that I know about Pittsburgh, I think it’s a great place and I think that place will have my future.”
Headquarters and Preservation Resource Center
PHLF’s offices and two libraries (the James D. Van Trump Library and Frank B. Fairbanks Rail Transportation Archive) are located in The Landmarks Building at Station Square.
In addition, PHLF has established a Landmarks Preservation Resource Center in Wilkinsburg, located in a former Packard showroom at 744 Rebecca Avenue. There, professionals offer classes to help people learn about home ownership and financing, restoration techniques, green-building, energy efficiency, interior design, and gardening, among other topics.
For further information or to become a member, please contact 412-471-5808, ext. 527 or visit www.phlf.org
Visit the PHLF photo gallery below.