Williamson College of the Trades is delighted to announce that its 220-acre campus was listed in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Oct. 6.
Listing in the prestigious National Register recognizes Williamson’s historical value as an institution of trade education that has been in existence since 1888. The listing also honors the fact that Williamson boasts the largest collection of buildings still in existence by noted Victorian-era architect Frank Furness, and the significant philanthropy of its namesake founder Isaiah Vansant Williamson.
Being on the register will make Williamson’s existence known to many across the country and will also allow Williamson to compete for grants to maintain its infrastructure.
President Michael Rounds said, “This recognition is a real honor and will be an important way to share the Williamson story with the rest of the country. Special thanks go to Provost Todd Zachary, Jim Tevebaugh, president of Tevebaugh Architecture and an expert on the architecture of Frank Furness, and our archivist Lesley Carey for helping us get through the long application process.”
Zachary said, “This is a huge milestone for Williamson. This recognition brings to the forefront the importance of our school to the local community and region and our long history of providing a future pathway to generations of young men.”
NRHP is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation for their historical significance. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the program is administered by the National Park Service, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. Applications for listing in the NRHP must be approved by the applicant’s state office of historic preservation before progressing to a final review by the federal agency.
Williamson’s long and arduous nomination process, began in 2009 when architectural historians from Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers completed a 45-page Historic Resource Survey Form and submitted it to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s Historic Preservation Office.
When state officials approved that initial document, Williamson was deemed eligible for placement on the National Register, an important first step in the process. In 2018, Williamson began pursuing full National Register status in earnest.
Carey prepared an addendum to the 2009 report, adding clarifying details and supporting references from the George Heckler Archives to the earlier document. Tevebaugh advised and encouraged Williamson in its application. With the full support of the board of trustees and Rounds, Zachary, Carey, and Suzanna Barucco, an historic preservation consultant, began the next step of the application process, preparing a lengthy and detailed report that included maps, photographs, and archival documents demonstrating Williamson’s historical significance.
This thorough investigation of Williamson’s buildings and campus was submitted first for review by the state Office of Historic Preservation in Harrisburg, and then sent to the U.S. Interior Department for final approval.
Visitors interested in seeing the historic Williamson campus need to request a tour through the college’s website.