Specific Project Themes

Wise Home
Projects and Services
   National Register Nominations
   Historic Resource Surveys
   Historic Structure Reports
   Historic Resource Impact Studies
   Municipal Planning Services
   Transportation / Section 106
   Training & Presentations
   Other Products and Services
   Project Themes
Wise Happenings
Wise Consultants
Contact Wise
Wise Blog

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.

Transportation Projects

Airport Planning
Wise has participated in several air-related transportation projects. In 2011, Wise completed a master plan for historic resources for the New Castle Airport in Lawrence County, Pa. The project established a set of guidelines to assist in the planning for historic resources owned by the airport. The airport includes one of the few pre-World War II hangars that survive in the state. Wise also documented early stone hangars at Wings Field in Montgomery County as part of a Section 106 project regarding the widening of Skippack Pike.

Bridge Planning
Wise has been involved in the documentation and advocacy of historic bridges in Pennsylvania. Many historic bridges in Pennsylvania are single-lane structures that do not meet current PennDOT guidelines, and in many cases these earlier bridges are being demolished and/or replaced. Wise assisted in the advocacy for the retention of the Fetters Mill Bridge in Montgomery County, and PennDOT agreed to consider alternatives to rehabilitate the bridge rather than construct a modern concrete bridge. Wise has also documented bridges as part of historic resource survey projects throughout southeastern Pennsyvlania.

Rail Planning
Many railroads ceased to operate in the latter half of the 20th century after the automobile drastically reduced commuter traffic. In many cases, the rails were taken up to recycle the steel, leaving the railroad beds intact. The "rails to trails" movement helped establish walking and/or biking recreational trails on these abandoned railroad beds. Wise has worked on various projects related to railroads. The Liberty Trail project was a feasability study to determine if the earlier line of the Liberty Bell Trolley could be converted into a walking and/or biking trail. Wise identified the original and final routes of the trolley, listed historic buildings that stood along the route, and recommended an alternate route for locations where historic bridges had been removed. Wise had worked on other rail-related projects, including the documentation of an incline railroad at Hawk Mountain and National Register nominations for which the railroad was a primary influence, including Eagles Mere, Byers Station, and Glenmoore.

Recreation & Culture

Park Planning
Wise assists municipalities with aspects of planning related to the retention and interpretation of historic resources. These plans begin with an understanding of the history of the property, showing how the use of the property changed over time. They then examine options for interpretation of the existing historic landscape and provide guidance for management of their historic resources. Our project in Anson Nixon Park documented the historic water filtration process that was formerly conducted on the property, identified critical buildings to preserve and reuse, and suggested approaches to interpretation. Other Wise projects include the Bondsville Mill, where Wise provided a proposed plan for a milling complex in a partial state of ruin, and Frazer Ruins, the ruins of a colonial house where a local Patriot leader lived during the Revolution. These two buildings are municipally owned and located in parks.

Conservation of Natural Areas and Trails
With increased use of natural areas and trails, it has become increasingly common to produce leaflets pointing out historic and natural features and resources of interest. In Eagles Mere, Pa., the trail system was developed in the very early 20th century to encourage exercise in a natural setting. With a single exception, these trails survive and continue to provide opportunities for strenuous or relaxing hikes surrounding the Eagles Mere Lake. In 2013, working with several conservation entities, Wise was able to double the size of the Eagles Mere National Register Historic District to include the trails.

Art and Cultural Resources
In the early 20th century, artist enclaves were established in the Philadelphia suburbs. Wise has helped to document various aspects of the art history of the area. The home and studio of N.C. Wyeth, the renowned illustrator, was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1997. Wise wrote the nomination for the property, which is located near the studio of his famous son Andrew Wyeth and within a few miles of the studio of Howard Pyle. Other Wise projects include the Kuerner Farm National Historic Landmark nomination (site of much of the work of Andrew Wyeth) and the Fetters Mill National Register nomination (studio for three early 20th century artists). The Brandywine Conservancy, Inc. owns and manages three buildings listed as National Historic Landmarks - the N.C. Wyeth House and Studio, the Kuerner Farm, and the Andrew Wyeth Studio; Wise successfully drafted the NHL forms for these properties.


Commercial Properties
Wise undertakes a variety of projects for the planning of rehabilitation of existing commercial properties and the design and planning of new commercial buildings. In many municipalities, the construction of new commercial buildings may require a historic resource impact study, particularly if existing historic resources are located on or near the tract to be developed. Wise assists in design details for new buildings, siting and landscape recommendations, and provides guidance for signage.

Agricultural Resources
Wise consultants are among the leading historic preservation scholars studying barns. We have documented dozens of barns in eastern Pennsylvania and the greater Philadelphia area. We have also given presentations documenting how the design of barns changed from medieval Europe through the late 20th century. We have documented hundreds of barns for a variety of project types, including historic resource surveys, historic resource impact studies, and National Register nominations.

Industrial Resources
Wise provides a variety of services to help plan for the future of industrial resources. In a recent project, a multi-additive vernacular factory in Montgomery County was slated for demolition to make room for an apartment complex. Other projects include the documentation of mill complexes, identification of milling villages in Chester County, and the National Register nomination for Fetters Mill.

Other Theme Types

Educational Institutions
Wise has completed projects on three university campuses. We have completed two separate historic resource impact studies for Cheyney University as part of its ongoing refurbishing of its historic campus. In these studies, Wise helped Cheyney identify historic resources worthy of preservation, compiled an overview of the historic development of the campus, and argued for the preservation of a staff residence dating to the mid-20th century. Wise has also completed an impact study for Immaculata University and documented a historic fraternity house the campus of Lafayette University.

Religious Properties
Over the past decade Wise has completed several projects related to religious resources. These projects span the entire history of American religious architecture, from the very early 18th century to the late 20th century. Wise has produced PowerPoint presentations that document various aspects of American religious architecture, particularly the years prior to the introduction of the Gothic Revival style (an era for which little documentation had existed). We have listed houses of worship on the National Register of Historic Places, documented them through historic resource surveys, completed impact studies for building campaigns, and documented ancillary buildings (parsonages, burial grounds, etc.).

Battlefield Projects
Wise has participated in several projects related to battlefield planning. Bob Wise was involved in the initiative to protect the grounds of the Battle of the Brandywine, serving on the task force that identified critical parcels of land and establishing contacts among elected officials in the various municipalities and the the owners of the properties to create partnerships among all parties involved. Wise also assisted with the planning for the preservation of the Mumford Battlefield in Kentucky. In 2013, Wise completed an impact study for the Meredith House in West Whiteland Township, a property associated with the Battle of the Clouds, and established that the current house was not standing at the time of the battle. As part of the Hopewell Township survey, Wise documented some colonial houses that George Washington marched past on his way to attack the Hessians at Trenton.

Fracking in Pennsylvania
In 2012, Wise opened a satellite office in Berwick to assist landowners with cultural resource management issues brought about by the gas drilling and pipeline industry. So far its chief project has been to increase the Eagles Mere National Register Historic District to include the entire Eagles Mere watershed to include the natural and historic areas within the watershed.