FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Danea Koss (814-472-8414)
October 15, 2019
EBENSBURG HISTORIC DISTRICT RECEIVES LISTING ON NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Ebensburg – Ebensburg officials are pleased to announce that their historic district nomination has been approved by the National Park Service for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of properties that are recognized for their significance in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and/or culture. National Register properties can include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects and they can be significant to a local community, a state, a Native American tribe, or the nation as a whole.
Ebensburg’s period of significance spans 162 years, ranging from 1799 to 1961. Its areas of significance fall into commerce and architecture. There are three distinct eras in Ebensburg’s history:
• 1799-1850 saw Ebensburg’s early settlement and its importance was established as a turnpike route, securing its position as a center of commerce and service for travelers along this major east-west route;
• 1850-1915 brought the completion of the railroad, railroad era tourism and the rise and impact of the automobile;
• 1915-1961 started with the devastating fire of 1915 and then the rebuild as an automobile oriented commerce, which changed travel and spending habits until the opening of the US 22 downtown bypass in 1961.
The district is bounded roughly by Highland Avenue, West Street, Sugar Street and Triumph Street. It includes 422 contributing buildings and sites and 161 noncontributing. Buildings that contribute to the historic district retain integrity; their form and/or architectural details reflect their construction during the 1799-1961 period of significance. Buildings whose materials have changed, but without altering the overall design, still contribute to the historic district. The noncontributing properties were either constructed after 1961, or have been altered to an extent that they no longer reflect their historic appearance.
“The historic nature of Ebensburg Borough is one of the many positive aspects of the community that helped our family decide to move here in 2002. Thanks to the hard work of Borough staff and many dedicated volunteers, we can all be proud that Ebensburg has now been nationally recognized for its historic significance. This designation should prove to be a useful tool with regard to further economic development and increased local tourism,” said Doug Tusing, Borough Council President.
Efforts to establish a national register historic district began in the late 1990’s under the direction of local resident, Dr. John “Jack” Coleman. Dr. Coleman served as Professor Emeritus at St. Francis University where he taught history for 40 years and was past president of the PA Historical Association and Cambria County Historical Society. When Dr. Coleman fell ill, the nomination process was put on hold. Borough staff and officials revived the process a few years back, with the help of interested local residents. Mr. Dave Huber, vice president of the Cambria County Historical Society, and Ms. Gina Tusing were staunch supporters who volunteered their time for months to help put together a needed inventory of properties. “We could not have achieved this distinction without the help and support from many volunteers who championed our cause and saw this process through to the end,” said Danea Koss, Community Development Director.
The National Register of Historic Places program is administered by the National Park Service. In Pennsylvania, the program is managed by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO), which is a bureau within the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC). Under Federal Law, the listing of a property in the National Register places no restrictions on what an owner may do with their property up to and including destruction, unless the property is involved in a project that receives Federal assistance, usually funding or licensing/permitting.
The complete nomination can be viewed at the following link, along with a property inventory, and select photographs: https://www.dot7.state.pa.us/CRGIS/Application/ASPNET/Report/Report.aspx?R=108&T=KEYNO&I=103074.