NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK DISTRICT
HISTORIC BETHLEHEM, PA
Bethlehem, PA For Immediate Release
Secretary Salazar, United States Dept. of the Interior, today announced the designation of Historic Moravian Bethlehem as a National Historic Landmark District.
A National Historic Landmark is defined by the National Park Service as an historic site, structure, object or district that represents an outstanding aspect of American history and culture. There are fewer than 2,500 properties designated National Historic Landmarks in the United States.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem is now officially a National Historic Landmark District, one of only eight in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem encompasses 14 acres in the heart of Bethlehem, the physical expression of the structured 18th century community with its outstanding examples of Moravian architecture and town planning.
Having navigated through the long and complex nomination process since the early 2000s, and developing a detailed written nomination, Charlene Donchez Mowers, President of Historic Bethlehem Partnership (Historic Bethlehem Museums and Sites) stated that "I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the National Park System Advisory Board Landmarks Committee in Washington D.C. on May 15, 2012. After their approval, the nomination was reviewed by the full NPS Board. We received their approval in June. We are thrilled that today, October 17, 2012, Secretary Salazar has made the official designation of Historic Moravian Bethlehem as a National Historic Landmark District."
The next step in preserving this wonderful history and sharing it with the community at large is UNESCO World Heritage recognition. While pursuing the NHL designation, Historic Bethlehem was invited to join with five other eighteenth-century Moravian communities (located in Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and South Africa) to pursue the presentation of trans-national nomination to the World Heritage List in consultation with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). As a result, HBP took on the responsibility of preparing a nomination to the U.S. World Heritage Sites Tentative List, and Historic Moravian Bethlehem's status is now pending. As stated on UNESCO's website, "World Heritage is the designation for places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy."
Receiving this NHL District designation will make a stronger case for the trans-national nomination to the World Heritage List. If Historic Moravian Bethlehem [along with the five other eighteenth-century Moravian communities] is inscribed on the World Heritage List, we will be listed among other notable sites including the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Taj Mahal in India and the Grand Canyon.