Historical Preservation

Historical Preservation Services Across Pennsylvania

Historical preservation today has expanded significantly beyond its original goal of saving structures of prominent Americans. Today preservationists can be found in architectural firms, city planning offices, historic parks, construction and waterproofing companies. The preservationist, wherever he or she works, appreciates the built environment and is committed to saving these valuable resources for future generations.

A Better Choice, Inc. is proud to be involved with the Historical Preservation of structures in our region. Much of our preservation work is professionally done Pro Bono. Contact us as soon as possible if you need our services, as we have limited skilled service dates available.

Fulton House

Built in 1817, Robert Fulton erected a home for his family on a lot on what is now Pittsburgh Street, which remains as one of the village’s main streets in Derry, PA.

The family lived in the attic because the rest of the house served as an inn for animal drovers, who drove cattle and sheep over long distances. By 1850, it was the only remaining inn on the historically significant northern pike, which extended from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. Travelers came on foot, by wagon and on horseback and many were associated with the then burgeoning railway industry.

Over the years, the Fulton House began to slowly deteriorate. A Better Choice, Inc. along with the Derry Historical Society and high school students pressure washed and cleaned the logs. We applied a concrete densification product to the chinking, which is the concrete between the logs.

The Kentuck Knob Preservation Project

In 1953, Bernardine and I.N. Hagan purchased eighty acres in the mountains above Uniontown, PA where their families had lived for generations. After falling in love with the home of their friends the Kaufmanns, Fallingwater, they telephoned Frank Lloyd Wright and asked if he would design a house for them. His answer was: “Of course. Come on out.”

At eighty-six, and hard at work on the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Wright said he could “shake it (Kentuck Knob) out of his sleeve at will” never even setting foot on the site, except for a short visit during the construction phase. This would be one of the last homes completed by Wright.

As most historical structures do, the Kentuck Knob began to slowly deteriorate. A Better Choice, Inc. stepped in and pressure washed and removed the moss and mold growing on the foundation. We also repaired concrete mortar joints and sealed the stone with a cleaning and densification process to preserve and protect the building against acid rain and pollutants. 

The Daughters of the American Revolution

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage-based membership service organization for women who are directly descended from a person involved in the United States’ struggle for independence.  A non-profit group, they work to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism. The organization’s membership is limited to direct lineal descendants of soldiers or others of the Revolutionary period who aided the cause of independence. It currently has approximately 180,000 members in the United States and in several other countries.

The Ward Mansion is the home of the Braddock’s Trail Chapter of DAR. It was built by Samuel Warden, grandson of the Irish immigrant Samuel Warden Sr. He grew up near Mount Pleasant and was a farmer for most of his life. Samuel built the mansion in 1886, his six surviving children were all adults at this time. In 1960, Braddock Trail member Bessie Campbell Cook left part of her Estate to the Braddock’s Trail Chapter, allowing the Chapter to acquire the property.

This structure was crumbling and falling apart due to excessive water and humidity. A Better Choice, Inc. removed the horse hair plaster, cleaned and repaired the stone foundation. Once pristine and strengthened, we applied an exclusive custom coating, PG2K, on the stone for beautification and preservation.