2020 Preservation Achievement Awards
Special Recognition Award Winners
During our national emergency, the Preservation Alliance joins you in wishing for a return to normal life soon. In the meantime, we hope to provide an interesting diversion by sharing news about this year's Preservation Achievement Award winners. More to follow over the coming days.
Our Special Recognition Awards have been presented annually since 1994 to individuals and organizations whose extraordinary accomplishments in historic preservation have made significant contributions to the region’s unique character and sense of place.
The 2020 James Biddle Award for Lifetime Achievement in Historic Preservation
This year's recipient of the James Biddle Award is Sara Jane (Sally) Elk , longtime President and CEO of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc.

Over the last thirty years, Sally has led the transformation of Eastern State Penitentiary from abandoned ruin to celebrated historic site. Sally’s leadership has made the Philadelphia penal complex--one of the first of its kind in the world--an attractive destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. We are proud to add her name to the distinguished list of James Biddle Award winners.

See more winners here .
Sally Elk of Eastern State Penitentiary.
Also Receiving Special Recognition
  • Brickstone: Board of Directors Award for exemplary stewardship of historic properties

  • Barbara Kaplan: Rhoda and Permar Richards Award for exemplary service to the Preservation Alliance

  • Eastern North Arts & Cultural Committee: Preservation Education Award for public advancement of preservation knowledge

  • Randal Baron, longtime staffer at the Philadelphia Historical Commission: Public Service Award for preservation in the public interest

  • State Rep Jared Solomon and Heather Miller, Stop Royal Farms Coalition: John Andrew Gallery Community Action Award for achievement by a community organization

  • Friends of Abolition Hall: John Andrew Gallery Community Action Award for achievement by a community organization

  • Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church: Special Anniversary Award

  • St. George's United Methodist Church: Special Anniversary Award

  • L&I Riverwards Coalition: Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance Award in recognition of the latest generation of preservation achievement
Building Philadelphia Speaker Series

Designation Celebration
In an abundance of caution in the face of the rapidly developing coronavirus threat, we have made the difficult decision to postpone several upcoming programs and events. We are following the guidelines of many of the organizations and institutions in the city, who are cancelling or postponing large group activities.
If you previously purchased a ticket and are able to attend the new date(s) once announced, you will not need to do anything. All current tickets will be honored. If the new date(s) does not work for you, we will promptly refund your ticket purchase.
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of these programs. In addition, PAGP staff are working from home for the time being. You can reach any of us by email .
Thank you for your patience and understanding. This is a challenging time for us all, and the most important thing is to stay safe and follow recommended precautions.
Feel free to email Susan Matyas with any questions or concerns.  
The Society Hill Towers (I.M. Pei) under construction in September, 1963-- photo via George McDowell Bulletin Photographs, Special Collections Research Center, Temple
Oaks Cloister
Advocacy Update
Mayor's Office Announces First Steps for City-Wide Historical Survey
Last week the Mayor's Office announced Philadelphia is slowly stepping to a city-wide survey of historic and cultural assets.

We think this is great news. The start wouldn't be possible without a grant from William Penn Foundation--$250,0000.

“A complete inventory provides many advantages to historic preservation," says Paul Steinke, Preservation Alliance Executive Director. "Thank you to the City and the William Penn Foundation for working together on this important step forward.”
The view from South Philly-- photo via VISIT PHILLY
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