The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Jane Davidson — 2008

2nd Rebecca Lukens Award Recipient

The Graystone Society announces the recipient of the second annual Rebecca Lukens Award is long- time Chester County preservationist, Jane L.S. Davidson.

Executive Director of The Graystone Society, Eugene Di Orio, lauds Jane by saying, “She very clearly exemplifies the qualifications that we put forward as required for the Rebecca Lukens Award.  Her particular strength is that she is a great supporter of historic preservation. She functioned for years as the county’s historic preservation officer. She worked on putting together the Iron & Steel Heritage Region Study and very important for us here in the Lukens National Historic District, she worked on getting these properties designated as National Historic Landmarks by the Department of the Interior. She’s not only done something for us but for all of Coatesville.”

Born in the Lancaster County hamlet of Fairfield in 1939, Jane is an exuberant, passionate example of history come to life.  She “created a niche” for historic preservation before it became vogue to do so. As a member of President George H. Bush’s Presidential Advisory Council for historic preservation, Jane served not only Chester County, but also the entire United States with her vast knowledge and unique ability for meticulous research well before the information super highway came to be.

Struck by a love of history at the age of seven after reading a “tan” book about the pioneers and the wagons trains to the West, Jane was disappointed that her family never “went West”. Instead, through research, she would discover that her Swiss-German family all came through the Port of Philadelphia, and she was a part of the 10th generation.

Jane passed on December 15, 2012. “She was passionate, dedicated, and determined,” said her son Randy. “She tried to save every historic parcel she could. She always told us that you have to save history, because history is who you are.”