July 9, 2024 – Sen. Nick Miller (D-Lehigh/Northampton) announced today that Whitehall Township and the Whitehall Township Historical Preservation Society were awarded a Keystone Historic Preservation Grant for $12,360. 

“I am excited to bring this funding to Whitehall Township and the Whitehall Township Historical Preservation Society to design accessibility improvements to the Helfrich Springs Grist Mill and the Peter Grim House and Garden, making them compliant under the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Miller. “Both properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and have history dating back to the 1800s. Preserving and maintaining them are of the utmost importance so that all future generations can enjoy.” 

The funding will go toward the planning, design and construction to create ADA-accessible access to both locations, as well as updating the parking lots. They also plan to develop a historic restoration and maintenance plan for the property that will include a site evaluation, a prioritization of immediate and future restoration/maintenance work, a description of each noted project and recommended materials and any municipal requirements related to the work. Both properties are now owned by the township. 

“These facilities are open to the public as a museum with a well-maintained artifact and historic document collection of Whitehall history, at no charge,” said Stephanie Tashner, president of the Whitehall Preservation Society board of directors. “Periodically, the facility provides a historical pertinent speaking presentation that is also open to the public at no charge. The properties are also used by a variety of community organizations for their meetings.” 

“Currently, neither property is handicapped accessible,” she added. “The planning grant will allow us to have appropriate design work that will hopefully result in greater access to the facilities. Although the buildings will never be able to be fully accessible due to stairs and restroom limitations, the access planning that the grant will develop will open the doors for greater community involvement.” 

Today, the Mill houses exhibits, and the Whitehall Township Historical Preservation Society hosts regular tours and open houses, lectures and community meanings. The Whitehall Township Historical Preservation Society is in the process of restoring the Grim House, which houses their headquarters and genealogical research library. 

“Having tangible pieces of history is an incredible asset, and we want people to be able to visit,” added Miller. “By making the properties and the parking lots ADA-compliant, we are welcoming everyone.”