Palmerton to seek distinction as National Historic Place
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Dale Freudenberger, market towns manager for the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, speaks with Palmerton Borough Council of the possibility of the borough being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Palmerton could be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in time for its 100th anniversary celebration of its incorporation as a borough.
Dale Freudenberger, market towns manager for the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, met with Palmerton Borough Council on Tuesday to rekindle talks on the potential distinction.
Freudenberger, who was joined by members of the Palmerton Area Historical Society, said several years ago grants were applied for, and an application submitted, which he said was rated the "highest in the state."
"Unfortunately, they were unable to help us," Freudenberger said. "Now, we're working with the Historical Society, and the [Palmerton Area] Chamber [of Commerce] to come up with a commitment of funds to hire a historic preservation specialist."
Freudenberger said Benjamin Harvey has been hired as a consultant to assist the borough in writing a nomination for the borough to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
He said Harvey will be working in the borough for the next year-and-a-half. From now through January, Freudenberger said Harvey will conduct survey work in which he will walk the streets to do historic research so that he may eventually create a formal document.
By early spring, Freudenberger said a draft could be created and sent to the National Historic Preservation Board, that, if approved, would be send back and forwarded to Washington, D.C.
That would mean the designation could be in place in time for the borough's 100th anniversary celebration of its incorporation as a borough, Freudenberger said.
"You would be a planned community under the company towns category, which has never before been done," Freudenberger said. "The Pennsylvania Historic Committee is excited to have Palmerton listed as a model."
Freudenberger reiterated that they are currently in the process of writing the nomination, which he said would be beneficial to the borough.
"It does not bring any negative effects to your community or property owners," he said. "It can bring you that recognition, economic benefits and so forth."
Peter Kern, president of the Palmerton Chamber, said the entity is in support of the concept.
"We certainly support the initiative," Kern said. "It's a positive step, and one that certainly enhances property values."
Kern said the distinction would only serve to enhance the borough's visibility.
"It doesn't, in any way, impact the ability of a homeowner/property owner to do anything to their property," Kern said. "Palmerton perhaps stands out from a historical perspective, which is something we want to take advantage of."
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's official list of properties recognized for their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture.
The National Register Program was established by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archaeologic resources.
National Register properties include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects. They can be significant to a local community, a state, an Indian tribe, or the nation as a whole.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is the Commonwealth's official history agency. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission's Bureau for Historic Preservation maintains the Commonwealth's Inventory of historic properties and prehistoric sites and manages the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania.