Local Blogger Applauded as Proponent of Preservation
Phillips receives Community Initiative Award for 'Old Erie on Foot'
Local photographer blogger, photographer, and regular Erie Reader contributor Erin Phillips is all about looking after her own — not only her two young children, but also the city she calls home.
Since 2018, her Instagram account and blog "Old Erie On Foot" have chronicled her fascination with some of the Gem City's oldest and most historic structures, from private residences to public buildings. She abides by the belief that "every old building has a story that needs to be told," and marries actions to words with her photo essays and writings — several of which she has graciously shared with the Erie Reader over the years.
Those efforts have now been officially recognized by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), a bureau of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, in the form of a 2020 Community Initiative Award. The Community Initiative Award honors the people, agencies and organizations who work to "help Pennsylvanians better understand historic preservation and its benefits, appreciate their shared histories as told through historic places, and balance history and economic development to manage change within their communities."
Phillips impressed the selection committee with her use of social media and digital channels to engage followers and tirelessly promote the value and beauty of Erie's historic places. Neither she nor the other two awardees formally applied for it — instead, the SHPO found them by:
- Monitoring social media and traditional press reports
- Finding associations with active state and federal preservation projects
- Tracking the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag
- Review of secondhand success stories submitted to the SHPO
Also honored along with Phillips were the Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka (Allegheny County) and Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc. (Franklin County). Congratulations to Erin and everyone else striving to keep the heritage of Pennsylvania's many historic cities and towns alive.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org