Historic Preservation has been the core mission of the Historic Harrisburg Association since its founding in 1973. It is recognized in Harrisburg and elsewhere that Historic Preservation can be and is a key factor in urban revitalization, economic development and tourism promotion.

By promoting, encouraging and recognizing historic preservation and its impact on urban revitalization, HHA recognized the consequential impact known as “smart growth,” whereby economic growth is focused in urban areas and existing communities, rather than in open space, thereby preserving farmlands, forests, natural resources and the natural beauty with which Pennsylvania is especially blessed.

While historic preservation is nearly as old as construction itself, and noteworthy instances of preservation have occurred in past centuries, the modern, organized historic preservation movement is mostly a post-World-War-Two phenomenon.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a 750,000-member-supported nationwide advocacy organization was established by an Act of Congress in 1949. The National Historic Preservation Act, enacted in 1966, greatly strengthened the movement by establishing the National Register of Historic Places, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, State Historic Preservation Offices and the Section 106 Review Process.

At the local level, historic preservation organizations such as Historic Harrisburg Association came into being in the 1970s, and many municipalities such as Harrisburg established municipal historic districts to promote and regulate historic preservation, with rules administered by the municipality’s Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB).

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