The Lead

Pa. approves 36 new historical markers honoring artist Keith Haring, others

By: - December 8, 2022 12:10 pm

A historical marker at Locust Grove Cemetery in Shippensburg. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).

Three-dozen more blue and gold historical markers will soon adorn roadsides in 18 counties across the commonwealth.

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) announced Thursday that it has approved 36 new historical markers, selected from 91 applications, to join the more than 2,000 markers already spread throughout Pennsylvania. 

The new markers recognize and commemorate a mix of historic places, people, and events, including the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the oldest appellate court in North America; Keith Haring, the internationally recognized and socially engaged Pop artist; Piper Aircraft, manufacturer of the J-3 Cubs and World War II L-4 Grasshoppers; and Ford Station Underground Railroad, operated by Erie’s first freedwoman Emma Howell, according to the commission.

“Those approved represent the diverse stories reflected in Pennsylvania history and, in many cases, show how Pennsylvania history is the nation’s history,” PHMC spokesperson Howard Pollman told the Capital-Star.

The markers will find their homes in 18 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, including Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Cambria, Clinton, Delaware, Erie, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lehigh, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Washington, and York counties. 

The commission does not have a timeframe for when the new markers will be installed due marker text needing to be finalized and due to “ongoing supply chain issues,” which have caused the commission to temporarily pause applications for new historical markers, according to a Nov. 14 blog post from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. 

“During this temporary hiatus, PHMC marker staff will focus on repairing and maintaining damaged markers and will be reviewing the marker program in the interest of continuous improvement,” the blog post reads. 

Pollman noted that installation “usually occurs in the summer and fall and sometimes are scheduled to coincide with a local community event.”

In 2019, PHMC began a system-wide review of the text of existing markers, some dating back to the preceding agency’s era nearly a century ago, for “appropriate and respectful language and sensitive treatment of challenging subject matter,” Pollman said.

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The commission reports strong public interest in the markers with the most recent round of nominations having “the most nominations in recent history,” Pollman said.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.