Architecture has been called the art of building beautifully, a fixation of man’s thinking, and record of his activity… Keep in mind that last phrase. It is important.
Rehabilitating historic properties conserves taxpayers’ dollars, conserves our local heritage, and conserves the natural environment. Rehabilitating historic buildings and using the infrastructure that is already in place to serve them is the height of fiscal and environmental responsibility.
Historic preservation clearly does much more than preserve bricks and mortar. It recognizes that our built history connects us in tangible ways with our past and provides context for the places we occupy and the world we live in. It fuses art with craftsmanship, capacity for modern utility with embodied energy, and progressive ideas for economic revitalization with traditional authenticity. Historic preservation is at the same time wonderfully egalitarian; all socioeconomic classes in every corner of the nation have successfully utilized its principles to protect their heritage and revitalize their communities.
-Craig Potts, Executive Director of the Kentucky Heritage Council and State Historic Preservation Officer
Last week at the National Trust’s annual conference we talked a lot about how to attract a wider audience to historic preservation. One of the conclusions that we came to is that a lot of people are already preservationists – they just don’t know it! So I’ve put together a little list of preservation related traits to help you spot a preservationist (including yourself!).
You might be a preservationist if…
- You want to live in a walkable neighborhood close to shops, restaurants and businesses.
- You think old buildings have charm.
- You love the unique quirks and places that make your community special.
- You love history.
- You get excited about innovative uses of old spaces – like a microbrewery in an old factory, or condos in a former school building!
- You go out of your way to patronize local businesses – especially if they have a cool location or are downtown.
- You’d rather go to the small old theater with the awesome marquee and real-life stage than the cineplex.
- You enjoy it when locally produced products and local businesses have names inspired by local historical events, people or places.
- You have ever worked to save a place that was important to you or your community because it was associated with an important person or event in your community’s history.
How would you finish this sentence? Leave your answer in the comments!
It has been said that, at it’s best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a a mutual concern for the future.
-William Murtagh, first keeper of the National Register of Historic Places