Neal Santos

On June 15, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Philadelphia to its list of “National Treasures.” Though parts of three other cities–Louisville, Miami, and Detroit–have made the list, this is the first time the Trust has designated an entire city. The designation comes two years after the city became the first American city identified as a World Heritage City.

This news comes as historic buildings and neighborhoods in Philadelphia face increased development pressure, which is aided in part by policies that encourage demolition of older buildings rather than adaptive reuse. In recent years, a number of high-profile buildings were demolished, and currently a section of Jeweler’s Row–the nation’s oldest diamond district–is threatened by a Toll Brothers condo project.

Additional preservation funding does not accompany the “National Treasure” designation. However, the Trust plans to collaborate with the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the historic commission, and members of Mayor Kenney’s Historic Preservation Task force to promote the preservation and rehabilitation of the city’s historic buildings.

See the Trust’s profile of Philadelphia to learn more about the city’s historic neighborhoods and buildings.