Celebrating National Historic Preservation Month
May is National Historic Preservation Month. To celebrate, the Preservation Alliance asked 31 historic preservation leaders in Philadelphia to name a building that has inspired them and why.

Below is what Nancy Moses had to say about a historic site that inspired her. This can also be found at 

Nancy Moses

Academy of Music

240 South Broad Street, Philadelphia
The Academy of Music is quintessentially Philadelphia: brick and brownstone on the exterior, lavishly baroque inside. I first visited soon after my husband and I moved to the city in 1976, and was captivated by its elaborate gilt carvings, plush red seating, ethereal ceiling mural, and spectacular crystal chandelier.  
Designed by Napoleon LeBrun and built between 1855 and 1857, it is the oldest opera house in America still used for its original purpose — but it may not have survived at all if it hadn’t been for the unstoppable Frances Ann Wister. In 1920, while serving on the Philadelphia Orchestra board and chairing its Women’s Committee, she was able to halt efforts to move the Orchestra to a new building on Benjamin Franklin Parkway and turn the Academy into a movie house.  
Over the next twenty years, Wister used her organizing savvy and old Philadelphia family connections to save many cherished landmarks including the Powell House, Grumblethorpe, Second Bank of the United States, Deshler-Morris House, Uppsala, and Elfreth’s Alley. As Philadelphia’s first preservation activist, she and her women friends founded the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, and she coined the term “Society Hill” to draw attention to this derelict area with its remarkable Colonial and Federal buildings.
Many don’t realize it was women like Frances Anne Wister who pioneered historic preservation — decades before others stepped in. The Academy of Music reminds me of her story, and it’s a story that deserves to be told.
Delp, Bob, “Frances Anne Wister (1874-1956)” (1998). People and Places. 14. http://digitalcommons.lasalle.edu/people_places/14, accessed online 4-29-2020
Nancy Moses
Chair, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission