Why Preservation is Paramount

By Candace Roberts, Board Chair

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “the preservation of historic buildings is a one-way street. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. And we can never be certain what will be valued in the future―because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.”

John Douglass, Ship Captain (1747-1840)

Captain Douglass was born in 1747. Soon after the Battle of Lexington he began his military service. On June 3, 1776, the Continental Congress resolved “that a flying camp be immediately established in the middle colonies.” The definition of the Flying Camp Battalion is a Reservist or a Home Guard. Their duties were to serve and protect citizens of the state in case of an invasion. They acted like a police force guarding barracks and government buildings. For its part, Pennsylvania was called upon to provide a force of some 6,000 men. Delegations of one officer and two enlisted men from each of Pennsylvania’s fifty-three associated battalions met in Lancaster, on July 4, 1776, for the purpose of selecting this force.

Amandus Johnson, Swedish-American Scholar (1877–1974)

In 1908, Johnson was one of the co-founders of the Swedish Colonial Society, whose members traced their ancestry to the pre-Revolutionary War Swedish colonists. Johnson served as instructor and later assistant professor of Scandinavian Languages at the University of Pennsylvania from 1910 to 1921. After serving as President of the Historical Section of the American Division of the Gothenburg Exhibition in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1921 Johnson accepted the post of Director of the African Educational Expedition to Angola, during 1922-1924. In the years after the expedition, Johnson published a Kimbundu English Portuguese dictionary and a narrative about his travels.

Gustavus Hesselius, Swedish born painter (1682-1755)

The leading artist in the mid-Atlantic colonies during the first half of the eighteenth century, in 1712 he arrived in Philadelphia as a trained artist. For several years after 1719 or 1720, he lived in Maryland but then returned permanently to Philadelphia. In addition to portraits, his chief subjects, he is known to have painted religious scenes, which number among the earliest colonial examples. Similarly, his two surviving mythological subjects may have been the earliest classical works executed in North America.