Preservation Strategy for the New Philadelphia Town Site
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This project proposes preservation plans for the historic town site of New Philadelphia, Illinois, the first known town platted and registered by an African American before the Civil War. Frank McWorter, a freedman, founded the town in 1836 and sold lots to African- and European-American settlers. New Philadelphia is of exceptional historic significance as a place where African- and European-American settlers bought property and lived as neighbors in a time and region of intense racial discrimination and prejudice. The once active settlement is now an archaeological site, but memories of the town and its occupants were kept alive by family and community descendants and local residents. Questionnaires presenting several preservations options were distributed to archaeologists involved in excavating the site, members of the New Philadelphia Association, local community leaders, area residents, family descendants, and descendants of town residents. This paper includes an analysis of the questionnaires and suggestions for preserving the historic town site.