Last year, the Graystone Society of Coatesville rolled out their first annual Rebecca Lukens Award. The award was established to honor individuals who exhibit the qualities of Rebecca Lukens. In a way, the recipient must exhibit resilience, loyalty, caring, practicality, insightfulness, tenacity, resourcefulness, and patience.This year's recipient is long-time Chester County preservationist, Jane L.S. Davidson. The award will be presented in the Lukens National Historic District during the celebration of Rebecca Lukens' 214th birthday March 20. "She very clearly exemplifies the qualifications that we put forward as required for the Rebecca Lukens Award," said Executive Director of The Graystone Society, Eugene Di Orio. "Her particular strength is that she is a great supporter of historic preservation."
Davidson, born in Fairfield, Lancaster County, in 1939, is known to be an exuberant, passionate example of history come to life. As a member of President George H. Bush's Presidential Advisory Council for historic preservation, Davidson served not only Chester County, but also the entire United States with her vast knowledge and unique ability for meticulous research well before the internet.
"She functioned for years as the county's historic preservation officer," said DiOrio. "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."
Davidson's love of history began at the early age of even, after she read a "tan" book about the pioneers and the wagon trains to the West. She was disappointed that her family wasn't one that 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.
The inaugural Rebecca Lukens Award was given out last January to long-time Graystone Society volunteer, Mary R. Sullivan.
The Rebecca Lukens Award will be given to Davidson in the Lukens National Historic District, 50 S. 1st Avenue in Coatesville, March 20, 2008, from 5-7 p.m. Tickets will be $25 and reservations are required.
The event is made possible through the kindness of the following sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor:The Huston Foundation; Supporting Sponsors: DNB First;
Partners: Huston Properties, Inc., Rainer & Company, Scott G. Huston and The Stewart Huston Charitable Trust; Friends:18th Century Restorations, Frens & Frens, LLC, Lukens Veterans Guild, Lutz & Travers, P. C., and Summers.