About The
Spruce Hill District

About Philadelphia
Historic Districts


Further Reading

Frequently Asked



Spruce Hill Historic District
About Philadelphia Historic Districts


Under the Historic Preservation Ordinance, Section 14-2007 of the Philadelphia Code, the Philadelphia Historical Commission bears the responsibility for the preservation of buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts that are important to the historical, cultural, architectural, archeological and educational traditions and values of the City, Commonwealth and Nation. To this end, the historical, architectural and other qualities of properties throughout the City are evaluated for possible designation as historic resources based on the criteria described below. Over 10,000 entries illustrative of the City's history from the earliest years to the recent past already appear on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Click here for a list of historic districts on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

Designation brings with it benefits to the owner of an historic property. There is, of course, the satisfaction derived from the ownership of a recognized significant cultural resource and from the trusteeship for the past and future which accompanies ownership. The owner of any designated property may call upon the Commission's staff for historical and technical services. In addition, the protection against inaccurate or unsympathetic alteration and against unnecessary demolition offers some assurance that the character of a resource will be preserved or improved. In Philadelphia and other cities, this has helped to enhance resale values and to foster community pride. A well-maintained and accurately preserved property may also be eligible for an Historical Commission plaque. Finally, the designation of an historic district provides a tool for neighbors to help protect their community against inappropriate alterations which can destroy the visual character of a neighborhood. Click here for a list of the criteria for designation to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

Designation entails some modest restrictions. To ensure authenticity and compatibility, the Commission reviews all proposed alterations to historic resources. The Commission also has jurisdiction over the issuance of demolition permits for historic properties. You will find, however, that the Commission and its staff approach such matters in a reasonable and practical way, and understand changes in building uses and contemporary requirements. The Commission's jurisdiction extends only to the exteriors of historic buildings; interior modifications that do not affect the appearance of the exterior are approved by the staff upon submission. Click here for a guide to working with the Philadelphia Historical Commission.

The Commission welcomes your participation in the effort to recognize and preserve the City's historical and architectural heritage. Should you have any questions about historic preservation or the work of the Commission, please do not hesitate to contact the Commission staff.

576 City Hall
Telephone: (215) 686-7660/Fax: 686-7674
Monday through Friday, 8:30am-5pm

Source: Philadelphia Historical Commission