Protecting our History for Future Generations

Historic preservation: the practice of protecting and preserving sites and structures reflecting elements of cultural, social, economic, political, archaeological or architectural history.

  • In Philadelphia, houses in National Register historic districts command a premium of 14.3% over comparable properties not in historic districts. Houses in local historic districts command a premium of 22.5% over comparable properties not in historic districts. — The Economic Impact of Historic Preservation in Philadelphia (2010)

  • Construction debris accounts for 25% of the waste in the municipal waste stream each year. Demolishing 82 billion square feet of space will create enough debris to fill 2,500 NFL stadiums. — National Trust for Historic Preservation: Sustainability by the Numbers.

  • Spending by visitors to twenty surveyed Civil War battlefields generated a total of $21 million in state taxes and another $11.7 million in local government revenues. This amounts to approximately $5.22 per visitor at the state level and another $2.92 to pay for local services. — Blue, Gray, and Green: A Battlefield Benefits Guide for Community Leaders (2006)

Historical preservation frames a community's past and defines its heritage. Preservation initiatives have a positive impact on economic growth for a community in the form of higher property values, increased revenue, and job creation. Rehabilitated and renovated historic buildings are core components in revitalized downtowns and cultural venues. From an environmental perspective, renovations and rehabilitation of existing properties results in less construction, demolition, and hazardous material debris. Additionally, the cost of rehabilitation is often less than new construction with the energy savings being considerable since there is no energy used for demolition, new construction or the manufacture of new materials.

Stewardship of our environmental, cultural and historical resources is part of who we are at Spotts, Stevens and McCoy, enriching the quality of life, recognizing that many will be touched by the work we do. Our family-owned and managed firm is proud to be a part of both the ancestry and the multiple projects we’ve supported through the PA Historic and Museum Commission.

SSM recently completed an electrical design project for the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission (PHMC). The Ephrata Cloister Exterior Lighting Project, located in Ephrata, PA, consisted of replacing existing parking lot and area light fixtures, and upgrading building façade lighting of the historic buildings at the Ephrata Cloister. The project goal was to upgrade the existing parking lot lighting for improved illumination of parking areas. The existing lighting was on 12’-14’ poles with post top HID and/or quartz lamps. The post top fixtures distributed light beyond the limits of the parking lot into areas not requiring illumination. The scope of work issued by PHMC required even, safe illumination levels of the parking lot. The existing pole locations and concrete pole bases were utilized where possible as a cost saving measure.

The design implemented by SSM utilized energy efficient LED light fixtures, arm mounted, on new poles located on the existing pole bases. Additional poles and light fixtures were added as required to illuminate areas previously unlit by the existing fixtures. The height of the new light pole was increased to allow for the light fixture to be mounted at a higher elevation to provide increased distribution of light and maintain a more even illumination of the parking lot. The LED fixtures also operate at a much lower wattage with a longer lamp life providing an operational cost savings for the facility.

Existing pathway lighting is provided by historic period style light fixtures, originally having a gas source. The light fixtures lamp source will be converted from incandescent to LED. SSM researched and determined the best lamp style to utilize in these fixtures without detracting from the historic period style of the fixtures.

The site currently highlights the building facades of the historic buildings. Existing facade lighting is provided by ground mounted and post mounted quartz style light fixtures. These fixtures will be replaced, one for one, with new light fixtures with an LED lamp source. Existing locations are utilized to save on the cost of installation. The light fixtures were selected based on the best distribution available to highlight the full area of the building facades. Cost savings will be achieved by longer lamp life and lower power consumption of the LED lamps.

Pennsbury Manor , known as “William Penn’s Country House”

Pennsbury Manor , known as “William Penn’s Country House”


Known as “William Penn’s Country House”, Pennsbury Manor includes several buildings recently included in a design project to replace and upgrade existing HVAC systems on the campus with geothermal systems. Working closely with the Department of General Services and The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the multi-discipline mechanical, electrical, and hydrogeology staff of Spotts, Stevens and McCoy, along with architectural and archaeological partners took on the challenges often presented by similar historic and sensitive structures. Outdated HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems are common limitations that can be resolved with innovative application of new technologies. SSM designed the HVAC systems within the buildings, electrical and plumbing systems in support of the HVAC system design, coordinated with Agency Fire and Security and controls consultants, and developed a preliminary construction phasing plan for the project. In addition we analyzed the assessment reports and developed a preliminary abatement plan.

The design team was also supported by the Survey and Data group at SSM, who utilized high definition scanning to collect high-accuracy topographical information.