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 optional to submit the nomination to 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 home 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 was the only one in my class who submitted my nomination of the Frank Shuman House for the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. I got the help to submit it from my historic preservation professor Ben Leech as well as Louis Iatarola, President of the Historical Society of Tacony.

On June 13, 2019, I submitted a form, requesting Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to acknowledge the Frank Shuman House. I, along with the Shuman house, were featured on the Philadelphia Inquirer. Read it here!!

On July 19, 2019, I received an email from Allyson Mehley, Historic Preservation Planner at the Philadelphia Historical Commission, regarding my submission for the Frank Shuman House. She wanted to help me strengthen my nomination so that 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. She also informed me 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, were officially designated as a historic property. They are now officially part of the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places!!

During my research on the Frank Shuman property, I was given the opportunity to chat with Frank Shuman's grandson, Mark Shuman. He is also a chemistry professor at West Chester University. He was telling me during that time that the two properties owned by his grandfather should be designated as a historic sites. I am very grateful to fulfill that promise to Mark.

Here's the final document: CLICK HERE!!

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

Both interviews can be found BELOW!!


The Northeast Times

Radio Show

The KYW News Radio