The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission awarded $2.6 million in Keystone Historic Preservation grants to help historical and heritage organizations, museums and local governments in 24 counties, including Greene.
The PHMC announced that Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation, a federally designated National Heritage Area in southwestern Pennsylvania that promotes the region’s steel-making heritage, will receive $73,000 in grant money for the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop in Rices Landing, Greene County. The foundry is owned and operated by Rivers of Steel.
The funds will be used to complete the final phase of the restoration of this national historic landmark, which has been in process for the last decade. Over $1 million has been invested by Rivers of Steel, including all grant and matching funds, in preserving the machine shop.
“We are grateful to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for their continued support for the restoration and preservation of the W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop,” said August Carlino, Rivers of Steel’s president and chief executive officer.
Built in 1900, the shop produced parts for steamboats, coal mines, railroads and for local businesses. The Machine Shop, as it is known, received recognition as a National Historic Landmark in 2017.
The shop is located in the Rices Landing Historic District, on the Monongahela River. Added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992, the town is recognized as a river port and early industrial town.
“These funds continue to prove the economic value of inventing in historic preservation and heritage conservation, as evidenced in our recent economic impact assessment,” Carlino said.
“The commonwealth’s and PHMC’s investment not only helps to save this National Historic Landmark for future generations, but it also yields immediate economic benefits to the community of Rices Landing and surrounding areas in Greene County through job creation, increased tourism, and revenues generated for these local economies.
“As a result of this restoration, the Machine Shop will be able to remain open to visitors for many years to come, helping locals and tourists alike understand the impact the industry of this region had on the formation of our country, as well as providing a look into the past to view the technology of handcrafted manufacturing,” he continued.
In August, Rivers of Steel released an economic impact study that estimates the generation of more than $92 million of economic benefit and 922 jobs each year as a result of spending by visitors to Rivers of Steel and its partners, including the expenditures of Rivers of Steel on grant making, operations, and capital improvements.
The PHMC awarded 52 grants selected from 94 eligible applications. Grant amounts ranged from $5,000 to $25,000 for project grants and $5,000 to $100,000 for construction projects. All grants require a 50/50 cash match and were awarded through a competitive selection process.
“We are pleased to support these important projects from across the Commonwealth. It is rewarding to impact communities in 24 different counties,” said PHMC Executive Director Andrea Lowery, in an issued statement.
“The selected projects represent the breadth of historic resources that Pennsylvanians value – from cornerstone buildings in their downtowns, to covered bridges and significant archaeological sites. This investment ensures that Pennsylvania’s cultural memory will be preserved for future generations.”