Frank Shuman House- Tacony, Philadelphia, PA

ARCH 4145- Research Methods for Historic Preservation- Temple University

Professor Ben Leech

Individual students will nominate a building of choice to the Philadelphia

Register of Historic Places. It's up to them if they want there building to be on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. 


The house is located on 4600 Disston Street

where local scientist and inventor Frank Shuman lived in since 1895.

Frank Shuman was considered as the “Father of Solar Energy.” He

invented the sun machine that was later used to irrigate the Nile in

Maadi, Egypt in 1912. Before he invented his sun machine, he invented

wire glass safety glass. He wanted to show everyone his work in Tacony

through his demonstrations and in film he brought from Egypt.

Special thanks to Louis Iatarola from the Historical Society of Tacony and the City Archives for helping me provide the resources I needed for the project!


I want to say thank you to my professor Ben Leech for exposing me, as well as my fellow classmates, to the real world in historic preservation and understanding how the Philadelphia and National Register of Historic Places work. The nominations we did were up to us if we actually want to nominate our buildings to the Philadelphia Register. I really wanted to nominate the Frank Shuman house to the Philadelphia Register, and I got the help from both Ben and Louis Iatarola, president of the Historical Society of Tacony, who helped me since the beginning of the nomination process. 

On July 19, 2019, I received an email from Allyson Mehley, Historic Preservation Planner at the Philadelphia Historical Commission about my submission for the Frank Shuman House. She wanted to help me strengthen my nomination so the house, as well as Shuman's inventor's compound, will be designated as a historic place. 

On August 23, 2019, Allyson informed me that the Historical Commission sent out notice letters to the owners of 4600 Disston Street and 6913 Ditman Street on August 15th. There will be two meetings held on September 18th and October 11th to review the nomination. 

On October 15, 2019, after attending the Historical Commission meeting, the Frank Shuman house, along with his former inventor's compound, are officially designated as a historic property. They are now officially part of the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places!!

Here's the final document: CLICK HERE!!

Ever since the two buildings were designated, I was interviewed by two people: Jack Tomczuk from the Northeast Times, and Mark Abrams from the KYW News Radio, to talk about the project. 

Both interviews can be found BELOW!!

Radio Show