Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission Approves 15 New State Historical Markers

Apr 24, 2012, 10:33 ET from Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The birthplace of commercial ice cream production, an author whose works focused on the poor, immigrants and children, an African American who promoted the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and an acclaimed Philadelphia architect are among the subjects of 15 new state historical markers approved by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) at its April 23 meeting.

The new markers, selected from 59 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,200 familiar blue-with-gold-lettering signs that dot roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.

Since 1946, PHMC's historical markers have chronicled the people, places and events that have affected the lives of Pennsylvanians over the centuries. The signs feature such subjects as Native Americans and settlers, government and politics, athletes, entertainers, artists, struggles for freedom and equality, factories and businesses, and a multitude of other notable topics.

Nominations for historical markers may be submitted by any individual or organization and are evaluated by a panel of independent experts from across the state and approved by PHMC commissioners at their spring meeting.

More information on the Historical Marker Program, including application information, is available online at

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Media contact: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639

Editor's Note: The following is a list of the newly approved state historical markers with the name of the marker, location and a brief description:

Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
The oldest natural science research institution in the nation, it played a leading role in biological research in North America and around the world.

Birthplace of Commercial Ice Cream Production, Seven Valleys, York County
In 1852, surplus milk and cream from York County's successful dairy industry was used to produce ice cream that was distributed commercially for the first time in the U.S.

Frank Furness, Philadelphia
A prominent Philadelphia architect, Furness had exceptional originality and influence in the field of architecture on a statewide and national level.

James A. "Billboard" Jackson, Bellefonte, Centre County
An editor of the Negro Department of "Billboard Magazine" in the early 20th century, this African American businessman was a major influence in the promotion of black theatricals during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.

John C. Asbury, Philadelphia
Asbury, an African American politician in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sponsored an early civil rights bill which, although unsuccessful, helped to secure his reputation as the most prominent black Republican in Pennsylvania.

John T. Comes, Pittsburgh, Allegheny County
A prominent ecclesiastical architect in the early 20th century, he had numerous commissions in the western half of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and several other states.

The Kelly Family, Philadelphia
Patriarch John B. Kelly Sr. achieved national and international acclaim in the sport of rowing and was politically influential in promoting Irish-American tenets. His son John Jr. was also an award-winning rower and his Academy Award-winning daughter Grace gained international recognition as Princess of Monaco.

McAllister's Mill UGRR Station, Gettysburg, Adams County
A confirmed Underground Railroad site on the National Park Service's Network to Freedom. Abolitionist James McAllister was active in sheltering freedom seekers at his mill during the 1850s.

Pennsylvania Bible Society, Philadelphia
Founded in 1808, it was the first Bible Society in America. Founders included Benjamin Rush, Bishop William White and Robert Ralston.

Pennypack Creek Bridge, Philadelphia
Originally built circa 1697, it is the oldest roadway bridge in continuous use in the U.S. One of the earliest roads in Pennsylvania, the King's Highway went across this bridge.

Rebecca Harding Davis, Washington, Washington County
An author recognized for helping to usher in the Realist movement, she focused on the lives of the working poor, immigrants and women.

Revolutionary War Gun Factory, Hummelstown, Dauphin County
Due to British occupation of Philadelphia during the American Revolution, the Provincial government's gun manufacturing facility was moved to the interior of the state so that operations to supply the Continental army with muskets and rifles could continue.

SPHAS (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) Basketball Team, Philadelphia
An American Jewish basketball team in the early years of the professional sport. Established in 1918, the SPAHS dominated the American Basketball League in the 1930s.

Valley Forge General Hospital, Phoenixville, Chester County
Constructed in 1942 to treat WWII battle casualties, Valley Forge General Hospital was the only military hospital in Pennsylvania built for this purpose.

Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades, Media, Delaware County
Due to a decline in apprenticeship training programs in the late 19th century, Isaiah Williamson, a successful dry goods merchant, established this institution to provide a free education to young men in trades including carpentry, masonry, horticulture and painting.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission