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Wise Preservation Planning LLC
      1480 Hilltop Road
      Chester Springs PA 19425
      Phone (484) 202-8187

Wise Preservation Planning LLC is a full-service historic preservation planning firm. We research, document, analyze and ultimately help protect historic resources and our cultural landscape. Our firm serves a variety of clients, including municipalities, engineers, architects, historical societies, and owners of historic resources.

The firm was founded in 1997 by Robert J. Wise Jr., who has 20 years of experience in the historic preservation field. He is assisted by Seth Hinshaw, Senior Planner, who has been with the firm since 2001. Both planners have M.S. degrees in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and exceed the 36 CFR 61 Professional Qualification Standards established by the National Park Service for architectural historians.


Wise Preservation Planning LLC provides a variety of services to municipalities. All municipalities are required by the Municipal Planning Code to plan for the future of their historic resources. Completing the historic preservation element of Comprehensive Plans is often the first step that a municipality takes. Wise drafts the text of the historic preservation component of these plans and undertakes updates. Once the municipalities have established their plans and goals, Wise helps them implement their objectives through drafting ordinances and completing projects such as the production of site interpretation and historic property research.
A large part of our business is providing "general" historic preservation planning services to local historical commissions and municipalities. This may include comprehensive or open space planning, resource surveys, consulting on historic districts, resource preservation, and developing design guidelines. the text of the historic preservation component of these plans and undertakes updates. Once the municipalities have established their plans and goals, Wise helps them implement their objectives through drafting ordinances and completing projects such as the production of site interpretation and historic property research.


New Castle Airport Historic Preservation Plan

Wise Preservation Planning LLC recently completed a historic plan for the New Castle Municipal Airport in Lawrence County, north of Pittsburgh. The plan included guidelines to assist the oversight body, the Lawrence County Airport Authority, in making sound decisions regarding historic resources located on properties owned by the airport. The Airport is considering a plan to extend one runway to increase its service options. The airport does not contain many historic buildings. The most historic building is an original hangar that dates to 1938.
The project included historic research to document the history of the airport. The research cleared some misconceptions and uncovered many forgotten details. The airport was originally supported by D. Roy Bradford, and newspaper articles of the time refer to the airport as Bradford Field. In 1932, Findley C. Wilson (photo, right) became associated with the airport. Wilson constructed the existing hangar in 1938 and a larger hangar in 1939 (the latter hangar, shown above, has been demolished). He played a major public relations role for the airport for two decades, including training pilots during World War II. The City of New Castle assumed ownership of the airport in 1936 and soon thereafter improved the two original runways.
In the 1950s, after Wilson moved to Florida, the City established an airport authority to manage the airport. Frank Farone, the airport operator in the 1960s, played a major role in bringing about needed improvements, including the construction of the current terminal and T-hangars. The Airport has been owned by Lawrence County since 1998. Over the past two decades, the airport authority has purchased several adjacent properties, including one that contains a block building dating to 1959 that was constructed by the Marine Corps Reserves as a shooting range. The airport operates an internet sales division offering products for pilots.


Historic Property Research

Wise Preservation Planning LLC has been involved in a multi-year project to research the most important properties in Upper Uwchlan Township. After completing the historic resource survey in 2001 and updating it in 2007, the historical commission contracted with Wise for this documentation. Wise first prioritized each property in terms of its need for additional study. In the three succeeding years, Wise researched ten of the highest priority properties (for a total of 30 properties researched). The historic research includes a full chain of title, documentation of construction dates for the historic resources, and biographical information on the owners and residents of the properties.
In the mid-20th century, local historian Eleanor Davis compiled a history of all tax parcels in Uwchlan Township, from the beginning of settlement until the year 1800. Her work included most of today's Upper Uwchlan Township. The documentation Wise has completed connects existing historic buildings with these early property histories completed by Davis but is supplemented by tax research and research in the clipping files of the Chester County Historical Society. In three cases, the property research completed by Wise has sorted out 18th century deed complications that Davis could not decipher. 

Since the survey was initially completed in 2001, the Pennsylvania Historic Resource Survey forms have changed. The new historic narrative for each property is added onto the updated version of the survey form. Historic resource surveys have always been considered to be dynamic in nature, creating the ability to add new information as it becomes available, and Upper Uwchlan has been exemplary in its efforts to maintain and enhance information on its most significant properties.


List of selected Municipal Planning Projects

Update of the Historic Preservation element of the Master Plan for the City of Cape May NJ

Comprehensive Plan, Historic Preservation element, East Brandywine Twp.

Comprehensive Plan, Historic Preservation element, London Grove Township (ongoing)

Historic Preservation Ordinance (Act 167), Franklin Township

Historic Preservation Ordinance, Schuylkill Township (ongoing)

Historic Preservation Ordinance, East Brandywine Township

Open Space Plan, Historic Preservation element, Upper Uwchlan Township

Interpretative Site Planning, Bondsville Mill

Interpretative Site Planning, Anson Nixon Park, Kennett Area Park Authority

Historic property research, Upper Uwchlan Township

GIS Mapping, West Marlborough Township

Impact Study text for SALDO ordinance, Upper Uwchlan Twp.

* Wise assisted for many projects as sub-cunsultant.