By 1885, the status of the community as a town was eliminated and large tracts of the land were put into agricultural use. Today, no structures from the town remain above ground, and the town site is covered by prairie grasses and agricultural fields.
The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) awarded funding of $14,800 to test the usefulness of low-altitude aerial surveys employing high resolution thermal imaging at New Philadelphia. This method was employed at the town site in 2008 for a new and specific purpose: determining whether this technology can detect the grid pattern of an historic town site buried beneath 1-2 feet of agricultural fields and prairie grasses. The success of this technique will provide an extremely useful resource for applications on numerous similar sites throughout the nation.
Dr. Tommy Hailey of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and Mr. Bryan Haley of the University of Mississippi, have pioneered the techniques used in combination in this survey, and they collected and processed the survey data utilizing a powered parachute ultralight aircraft and a high resolution thermal camera. The data sets were geo-referenced and integrated using spatial mapping programs, such as Geographic Information Systems software, and the creation of mosaic imaging representations.
The survey results were then examined in relation to a geo-referenced version of the 1836 town plan and other comparative data. Dr. Christopher Fennell of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign served as principal investigator and provided overall coordination of the project. Overall, the survey technique proved successful for identifying probable sub-surface locations of buried foundation remains within the 42-acre town site.