Putting Marietta On the Map: This Place Matters!

This past spring semester 2020, even with the interruptions of COVID-19, Elizabethtown College students in the Honors program studied historically significant properties in Marietta.  The students have created a collection of eight reports focusing on five prominent families who contributed to the establishment and building of Marietta in the Nineteenth Century. 

The Clark, Mehaffey, Cassel, Spangler, and Rich families feature in this series of reports. The Clark/Mehaffey property is located in former Irishtown.  Four Cassel family properties are located in former Moravian Town.  Three Spangler (two Spangler & one Rich) properties are located on Fairview Avenue in former Waterford.

The industries and businesses associated with these families and properties are agriculture, lumber, coal, iron, transportation, and retail/distribution of related products.  The Rich family is associated with the insurance industry and all the families in this study were involved with local banking enterprises.

Members of these families, representing these industries, associated with these properties, served in local Marietta Borough public service positions and elected to the state and/or federal legislatures, while others were appointed U. S. Ambassadors.  Many held state and national leadership positions in the Whig, Republican, and Prohibition political parties. 

The Honors students’ scholarship about Marietta has been published through two online ArcGIS maps about the history of Marietta.  

In 2014, Arcadia Publishing (Charleston, South Carolina) published a book entitled, Elizabethtown College as part of their Campus History Series: Images of America, authored by Jean-Paul Benowitz, who teaches History at Elizabethtown College.  In 2015, Arcadia Publishing asked Jean-Paul to write a history of Elizabethtown Borough, published under the title, Elizabethtown: Images of America.  In the fall semester of 2016 Elizabethtown College began offering an Honors First Year Seminar, taught by Jean-Paul, called “Landmarks and Legends: Learning Local History.”  In the spring semester of 217 Elizabethtown College began offering an Honors research methods course, taught by Jean- Paul called, “Elizabethtown History: Campus and Community.”  

These courses helped Elizabethtown College secure a Mellon Grant, in 2018, called “Confronting Challenges with Confidence: Humanities for Our World Today.”  Jean-Paul’s courses were supported by this grant as part of the “Development and Delivery of Global and Regional Heritage Studies Courses/Experiences.” The Mellon Grant and these local history courses led to the creation in 2019 of a Certificate in Public Heritage Studies for History majors at Elizabethtown College.  

These courses are based, in part, on The National Collegiate Honors Council program called “Partners in the Parks.”  This is an outdoor experiential learning program offered through a collaboration between NCHC and the National Park Service.  NCHC also offers programming called “Place As Text” where students immerse themselves in the local community exploring the culture and geography of the local neighborhood.  Students are challenged to be sensitive and reflect about the human experience in the local built environment.

In the spring of 2016 the course, “Elizabethtown History: Campus and Community,” involved a partnership with the Lancaster Preservation Trust and Elizabethtown Borough.  Students conducted archival and field research in an effort to prevent the historically significant Moose Lodge building in Elizabethtown from being razed.  This successful historic preservation project attracted the attention of the Architectural Historian for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Engineering District 8.  

In the spring of 2017 the course, “Elizabethtown History: Campus and Community,” involved a partnership with PennDOT.  Students engaged in archival and field research to conduct National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 reviews of local historic properties.  Student research findings were published through the digital humanities project: ArcGIS story maps.  Students’ reports were used by PennDOT, Elizabethtown Borough, and the federal Department of Transportation regarding historic preservation initiatives and public works projects concerning re-building the Market Street Bridge. 

In the spring semester 2019, the course, “Elizabethtown History: Campus and Community,” involved a partnership with RiverStewards, Inc.  The students conducted NHPA Section 106 reviews of historically significant properties in the Marietta Historic District(s) and the Chickies Historic District.  The students published their findings online through an ArcGIS map.  The students presented their findings at Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD) at Elizabethtown College on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 and at Marietta Day on Saturday, May 11th, 2019, in Marietta.  One of the students in the class, Kyle C. Cappucci, expanded the project for a Summer Scholarship, Creative Arts, and Research Project (SCARP) in the summer of 2019.  Cappucci expanded the scope of the map beyond historical significance to illustrate the contemporary relevance of Marietta.  

Cappucci presented his scholarship to the Marietta Borough Council meeting on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019, and to the general public at the former First National Bank on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.  His presentations entitled: “Putting Historic Marietta on The Map: This Place Matters!” illustrated how the scholarship by the Honors students at Elizabethtown College can bring positive attention to the Marietta Historic District, the Chickies Historic District, and the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail.  To this end, Cappucci suggested Marietta Restoration Associates, Inc.; RiverStewards, Inc.; Rivertownes PA USA, Inc.; and Susquehanna Heritage, Inc. take the lead in launching a historic preservation awareness campaign created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, called “This Place Matters!” 

“This Place Matters!” a national campaign, created by the National Historic Preservation Trust, encouraging people to celebrate places meaningful to them and to their communities. Since 2015, participants have shared more than 10,000 photographs of themselves and their favorite places on social media using the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters.

In the summer of 2020, Kyle Cappucci will work on an Elizabethtown College Summer Scholarship, Creative Art and Research Program Project entitled: “This Place Matters! The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Economic Revitalization in Marietta, Pennsylvania.” Through this SCARP project Elizabethtown College partnering with various stakeholders in Marietta, will be launching a This Place Matters campaign for Marietta.  This campaign is not just public awareness through photography and social media. It is about telling the stories of why these places hold historical significance. Through This Place Matters, the National Historic Preservation Trust, encourages and inspires an ongoing dialogue about the importance of place and preservation.  

About the author: Jean-Paul Benowitz is the Director of Special Programs and Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships at Elizabethtown College. 

HON 201 Marietta Property Reports Spring 2020


HON 201 Marietta Map #1


HON 201 Marietta Map #2