One of the things I love most about the Pearl S. Buck House is that, impressive as it is, it doesn’t feel like a museum. It is a home: warm and welcoming. It brings to life the story of a talented, energetic, woman who saw injustice and didn’t turn away. Instead, she used her talent and energy to break through barriers and nurture understanding. I have always admired Ms. Buck, both as a writer and a humanitarian, but being in her home, seeing the objects that were part of her life, I see her as a human being.
We issued the invitation, and people volunteered. During the next four years, thousands of people, from Pennsylvania and beyond, visited the park to try their hand at archaeology, learning about local history as they carefully uncovered brick, nails, pottery, glass, and more at the historical site. Some people even planned vacations around a park visit, having learned of the Public Archaeology Dig from the Conde Nast publication, Cookie, and an airline magazine.
Every day the Muncy Heritage Park and Nature Trail is being used by young and old alike to experience nature. We see singles, couples, and family groups enjoying the loop trail around the pond, taking in the solitude of the towpath through the woods or standing along the Susquehanna River watching the bald eagles in flight. We have canoers, bikers, birders, and brides all using the park. The local high school takes science and history field trips to the park.
The 405-acre park had been the Wheaton family farm from the late 1830s until it was sold to the state in the early 1970s. One of the remaining farm buildings is the Wheaton House, the family home built in the early 1840s. By the 1990s it needed significant structural work to become a usable public space, and the Keystone Fund grant allowed us to begin the work.
Thanks to the Keystone Fund, this route is a beautiful destination for outdoor enthusiasts and boasts one of the most impressive rail-trails in Pennsylvania. The 165-mile trail cuts through 4,500 acres of river gorge parkland along the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers, weaving past stunning landscapes, historic towns, dramatic waterfalls, and the remnants of the Lehigh and Delaware canals.
For three decades, Montgomery County Parks and Heritage Services had ranked the 78-acre property as a high priority for land conservation. The property contains prime agricultural soils, wildlife-rich woodland habitat, and the confluence of Montgomery County’s only two high-quality streams, Unami Creek and Ridge Valley Creek.
Built in 1895, the Allegheny Observatory is one of the major astronomical research institutions of the world. The observatory’s exterior was in need of repair; pieces of the terra cotta surface were breaking off, there was cracking and erosion of mortar joints, and water infiltrated through the deteriorated parapet, damaging the terra cotta pieces. The Observatory restoration is part of the ongoing renewal of the Pittsburgh’s Riverview Park.
The Roxbury Bandshell is one of just a handful of remaining bandshells built throughout the Country by the Works Progress Administration. The use of Keystone funds to restore the roof of this building that had been proposed for demolition sparked a renewed interest in the bandshell. It now hosts a variety of events, including local theatre productions and weekly summer concerts.
Since 1789, Philosophical Hall has been the American Philosophical Society’s home, hosting meetings of members including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John J. Audubon, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, and Robert Frost. Over the years the APS has gathered a museum collection that traces American history and science from the founding fathers to the computer age, including a draft copy of the Declaration of Independence hand-written by Thomas Jefferson and the original journals of Lewis and Clark. Keystone funding repaired the Philosophical Hall’s roof, ensuring the long-term preservation of the museum’s important collections and maintaining the building’s form and integrity as part of Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.
The Pearl S. Buck House is a rare National Historic Listing which tells the story of a woman’s past and ongoing contribution to society. The home of Pearl S Buck was at risk of closing its doors because of safety issues, structural deficits, limited access, significant water infiltration, and general disrepair after 3 decades of public use. Thanks to the Keystone Fund, which enabled the leverage of private and public funding, the historic dwelling was restored.
The Yuengling Mansion, once the Yuengling family home, now serves over 20,000 people a year. It hosts jazz festivals, outdoor concerts, gallery shows, civil war re-enactments, renaissance fairs, Celebrate Schuylkill Festivals and theater performances. Keystone funds were used to strengthen underlying structural support and finishes of the building’s character-defining front entrance and porch area.
Because of Keystone funds, the 1902 Pomeroy Academia Covered Bridge, the longest remaining covered bridge in Pennsylvania, continues to be a cherished landmark. The timber frame structure, stone piers, abutments and wingwalls of the bridge were rehabilitated utilizing Keystone funding along with the addition of a small park. The bridge is now open to all pedestrians.
The Erie Playhouse, the third-oldest community theater in the nation and one of the busiest community theaters in Pennsylvania, has existed for nearly 100 seasons. With Keystone grants through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the playhouse restored the marquee, façade, and outer lobby.
The 1850 Coal Oil Johnny House was the home of John Washington Steele, the owner of one of the most productive oil farms during the oil region’s first boom. The restoration of the house’s interior and construction of additional exhibit space, supported by Keystone Funding, gives visitors the opportunity to understand life and the rapid transitions made during the first oil boom.