Historic Preservation I

I think I echo some of my classmates when I say that I didn’t realize it took so much time and effort to preserve a place, and that it takes a lot of private investments and work to make it all happen. The bureaucratic review processes would be enough to make me give up and say never mind, so I applaud those who work in preservation and still have a full head of hair (50-53). In an age in which institutions like the NEH and the National Parks Service are under threat, I can’t help but wonder if organizations like the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be faced with a loss of funding as well. What happens then? Will the work become completely privatized?

Conversely, I think I would love to be involved in the process of contextualism (103). The work of matching and compatibility to ensure the aesthetic and historic value of a site is something that always catches my eye, and I always think of my trip to New York City, where you can see stunning old cathedrals contrasted against the modern landscape of Manhattan. You can’t just put anything next to a historic site, and to learn that there are guidelines from the Secretary of the Interior on this very process is incredibly cool (112-115).

One interesting aspect within this list of regulations is the notion of teardowns, and this is where the Preservation Idaho site fit nicely into the rest of the reading (117). On a couple of occasions, I’ve been downtown on a weeknight and was able to witness some of the houses being moved from the Central Addition neighborhood up into the North End. It’s abundantly clear that the Central Addition land is worth a ton of money, seeing everything that’s being built up around it, and so I’m glad to see that effort is being made to preserve these houses, instead of tearing them down at the first sign of an interested land investor. Before I started paying attention to this neighborhood, I didn’t often think of houses as being worth preservation, and I hope that further work is being done to maybe try and teach the local community why saving these particular homes was worth so much effort and time.

One thought on “Historic Preservation I”

  1. I also found the discussion on contextualism very interesting. If done right, as you mentioned in New York City, the result can be a beautiful mix of styles. But I caution against some of those efforts. Looking at the picture on page 119 of Red Lion Row in D.C. made me cringe. In my opinion, this is an example of what not to do. I realize that different people have different tastes, but this was just weird to have historic facades on plain office buildings. I can see why there’s controversy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *