Historic Preservation

While neighbors are generally excited about the new construction boon — many have also expressed concerns around increased demolition — primarily out of a desire to protect buildings and sites which are contributing to the rich neighborhood history of what makes Bella Vista unique, while also being mindful of our city’s sustainability and zero waste goals, structural impact to adjacent properties during demolition, lead abatement, or the displacement effect it has on tenants.

Consideration for renovations, conversions, and adaptive reuse where practicable, can be encouraged by placing the buildings under the purview of the Historical Commission through the nomination process. (Other ways are ensuring appropriate zoning, as well as creation of incentives).

In Philadelphia, as with many functions and services, ordinary volunteers act as important extension of the city process. 

Since Bella Vista does not have a historic district — it is up to ordinary volunteers to proactively identify and put forward a researched and compelling case for inclusion of places that matter, on the city’s historic register. This document is called a nomination. There are several well-defined criteria for historic designation, including its notable role in history, cultural significance, its architect or architectural style, or other characteristic of significance.

How can you get involved?

  1. Become familiar with the current list of properties on the city’s historic register (below)
  2. Contact BVNA with additional building(s) you believe to be significant and meriting to have any potential demolition approved by the Historical Commission. Community input and support can help guide and prioritize the backlog of nominations.
  3. Volunteer with us. Whether it is to photograph the building, research its history (or that of its architect or original occupant), or donating to help fund such work — we always welcome help.
  4. Nominate buildings yourself. Anyone can nominate a structure.
  5. Write for our new monthly feature, Bella Vista Property of the month! Prior issues here:
2020-01 Church of the Crucifixion620 S 8th St
2020-02 Banca d Bozzelli735-37 S. 7th St
2020-03 Columbus Hall744 S 8th St
2020-04 DiGiorgio Tumolillo927-929 S 8th St
2020-05 William Still House625 S. Delhi St
2020-06 Frances Ellen Watkins Harper House1006 Bainbridge St
2020-07 Tripoli Barber Supply606 S. 9th Street
2020-09 Engine Company 111050 South ST
2020-11 Ronaldson Cemetery900 S 9th St

Do you own one of these unique properties? Would you like to learn how BVNA can facilitate the costs and paperwork of recognizing your property through an official city-issued historic plaque? Drop us a line!

Note: State Historical Markers offer recognition, but not protection:

Note: National register offers recognition and some tax credits, but not protection