An Explanation of Historic Designation Categories
Buildings and other places in the Pittsburgh region may be eligible for three designations if their architectural and/or historic character is outstanding. Each designation is made by a separate organization with its own criteria, but in each case the intention is to distinguish and help preserve the places chosen.
PHLF Historic Landmark Plaques
In 1968, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation began an Historic Landmark Plaque program to identify architecturally significant structures and designed landscapes throughout Allegheny County.
Beginning in 2010, PHLF expanded its Historic Landmark Plaque program to include counties surrounding Allegheny, especially if the applicant site has some connection to the Greater Pittsburgh region, e.g., property owned by a leading Pittsburgher or the work of a distinguished Pittsburgh architect.
Since 1968, Landmarks has awarded 562 Historic Landmark Plaques. An Historic Landmark plaque identifies the site as a significant part of our local heritage; it will not protect a building from alteration or demolition. Buildings, structures, districts, and landscapes may be approved for an Historic Landmark plaque if all of the following conditions are met:
- they are remarkable pieces of architecture, engineering, construction, landscape design, or planning, or impart a rich sense of history;
- alterations, additions, or deterioration have not substantially lessened their value in the above respects;
- they are at least 50 years old and are located within Allegheny County or surrounding counties (see above).
- they are not located in historic districts bearing a plaque (unless of exceptional individual significance).
The Historic Plaque Designation Committee, comprised of several trustees, architectural historians, and knowledgeable citizens, usually meets once a year to review all nominations and approve awards. If awarded, the plaque will be ordered by the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. A PHLF Trustee has funded this program so the cost of cast aluminum plaques is partially underwritten by PHLF; however, the cost of a bronze plaque is the responsibility of the owner.
You may obtain more information, an application, and instructions by contacting Frank Stroker or by calling him at 412-471-5808 ext. 525.
Click Here for a searchable database of our plaque properties, with maps.
You may also download a copy of the application and directions here: plaque_Application.pdf
Click here for a pdf booklet listing all PHLF Plaque Properties (1968–2014)