Bradford’s Downtown Historic District tells a story worth preserving.
While the oil industry is the basis of Bradford’s history, the story told by the buildings downtown goes further than that, according to Erin Hammerstedt of Preservation Pennsylvania.
“People had the money in their pockets, they were feeling good, they were going to stay awhile. …. their other buildings burned down,” she said, referring to the history of fires in Downtown Bradford. “They were ready to make their mark and build something that had their name on it.”
“In the last five years at least 10 buildings have been remarkably improved with maintenance and upkeep,” she said.
As an example, she showed two pictures of the building where Triple A Nail is located – one from today; one from 2009. The first picture showed the building with peeling paint and, generally, in deplorable condition. Now, it is one of the most beautiful buildings on Main Street.
Hammerstedt also talked about why historic districts are important. In one word: Tourism. Tourism is the number two industry in Pennsylvania, and historic districts are the number one destinations of tourists.
Linda Devlin, executive director of the Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau, noted that tourists do tell her – and write in the organization's guest book – about the beauty of Downtown Bradford.
Hammerstedt will be at a work session prior to Tuesday’s City Council meeting to give another presentation about her "re-inventory" of Historic District properties, and will be meeting with building owners throughout the day.