West Newton (and Historic District) - October Update

October has been an eventful month in West Newton. At the beginning of the month, DWNI celebrated Oktoberfest with an annual dinner fundraiser with live music. A car cruise followed the next day in Vine Street Park, but unfortunately this was an incredibly rainy weekend so attendance was low. At this time, DWNI is actively working on “Miracle on Main Street.” DWNI has themed is as a “Country Christmas” – going back to a more traditional time with hopes of a good fundraising effort. Also, WYTC continues to do weekly rides on the trail to taken in the fall foliage. At the end of September, they held the second oldies dance at the Palisades in McKeesport. WYTC recently renovated one of their bulletin boards located right next to GAP and the West Newton Visitors Center. It is easier to get in and out of than the previous set-up. One concern of both WYTC and DWNI has been the maintenance and information provided inside the boards. I offered my help to design and put together some poster and information regarding information about the trail and town of West Newton. Inside the bulletin board I included a photo welcome sign, a GAP map, an available properties poster, a flyer on WYTC, a West Newton brochure with town map and business list, Trail Town Ice Cream flyer, and there’s still room for more. As for the West Newton Historic District PA Historic Resource Survey for eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, I am very very very close to submitting. This has been an ongoing project since April. It has included a lot of research, but also interpretive thinking to realize what makes West Newton unique and significant. During October, I added the last few building descriptions and edited the entire list of 46 resources to the district (45 buildings and 1 structure – with only 4 being non-contributing to the district). Another step was to finalize my final set of current photographs, historic photographs, and series of maps. As for the official form, most of it involved copying and pasting my statement of significance/history and descriptions (but with some edits of course) and filling out other information such as County, Period of Significance, Types of Materials, Architecture Styles, Historic Functions, Photo List, and so on. I am finalizing the last edition with Erin Hammerstadt of Preservation Pennsylvania before I send it into the State Historic Preservation Office, hopefully by the end of this week. It takes about three to four weeks to find out the results of eligibility from the State Historic Preservation Office in Harrisburg. Once I know if my proposed historic district focusing on the transportation evolution and commercial corridor of West Newton is eligible or not eligible, I or the next year’s TTOC can prepare the National Register nomination. -William Prince