Philadelphia Historic Sacred Places Project

Philadelphia's Historic Sacred Places

The Historic Sacred Places Project created the first comprehensive, field-checked inventory of Philadelphia’s 842 purpose-built historic sacred places. PennPraxis’ field survey findings were published in The Pew Charitable Trusts’ 2017 report, Philadelphia Historic Sacred Places: Their Past, Present, and Future. The project inventory is a resource for policymakers, municipal officials, preservation planners, designers, and funders, assessing the current circumstances of the city’s older religious properties, which are key assets for the architectural character, cultural stability, and economic development of their neighborhoods. The project also provides a baseline to monitor preservation and demolition trends going forward. The project was led by PennPraxis Senior Fellow Randall Mason, and Molly Lester served as one of the project managers, overseeing a team of field surveyors, GIS analysts, interdisciplinary advisors, and Partners for Sacred Places. The project’s inventory builds on both quantitative and qualitative data to inform decisions and conversations about the future of the city’s distinctive historic religious assets.


Randall F. Mason, Professor, Historic Preservation/ City & Regional Planning
Molly Lester, Associate Director - Urban Heritage Project
Amy Hillier, Associate Professor of Social Policy and Practice