The Philadelphia Historical Commission - Philadelphia’s Principal Public Steward of Historic Resources
Founded by William Penn in 1682, the City of Philadelphia is home to an unparalleled collection of historic resources documenting more than three centuries of local, regional, and national history. Created by City Council ordinance in 1955 and reorganized in 1985 under Section 14-2007 of the Philadelphia Code, the Philadelphia Historical Commission is the City’s regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the preservation of that collection of historic resources including buildings, structures, sites, objects, interiors, and districts. The Historical Commission identifies and designates historic resources, listing them on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. It regulates preservation through the City’s building and other permitting processes, reviewing alteration and demolition proposals that would require a building permit and/or alter the appearance of a resource on the Philadelphia Register. With its federal certification, the Historical Commission also performs federally-mandated environmental clearance and historic preservation reviews for some municipal agencies. In addition to its regulatory duties, the Historical Commission also serves as a clearing house for technical and historical information, providing assistance to property owners, developers, and design professionals; and materials on the history of Philadelphia and its built environment to cultural resource management professionals, educators and students, and the public. During all of its activities, the Historical Commission integrates historic preservation with economic development as it safeguards the city’s unique heritage and wealth of cultural resources, fosters civic pride, promotes healthy and sustainable communities, enhances property values, provides educational opportunities, and attracts new residents, businesses, and tourists.
On October 1, 2012, the Court of Common Pleas reversed the decision of the Board of License & Inspection Review and reinstated the decision of the Philadelphia Historical Commission in the Church of the Assumption, 1123 Spring Garden Street case. Click here for the Court’s opinion and order.
Development Permit Guide and Recommendations for Reform - For the first time in City history, we have done a comprehensive review of the majority of the City's permitting and approval process. This report documents the existing process, makes recommendations for reform and creates a comprehensive permit guide. The permit guide has a list of most of the City permits and approvals, when they are applicable, what information needs to be submitted and to whom. Now the customer can know what the process is and who to call with problems, for most situations.