Historic Preservation, Part II

When walking downtown wondering where the older buildings have gone, like Fosters Warehouse Furniture, the older restaurants and shops, it seems that Boise has suffered from what other cities have suffered from.  It seems that either these buildings were not good enough to keep and needed to be torn down because of this new, invigorating term called progress. BODO (Boise Downtown) is the area where these older buildings were and is trying for the upscale, chic look that other cities have and that Boise is trying to emulate.

I look at the examples in the book, like Pikes Place and Pioneer Square in Seattle, Lower Downtown (Lodo) in Denver, and the renovation of St. Louis Union Square Station and Pittsburgh’s Station Square are excellent examples of cities looking at existing structures and using the character and flavor to renovate and attempt to preserve these prestigious buildings and their place in history.  Boise has tried to make what seems a token gesture at restoration and preservation, but our fair city seems to be getting better at attempting to work at doing better in preserving its past.  Boise has its own historical street program like the one mentioned in Chapter 11, on Pg. 324.  On Grove Street there is a narrative on the early buildings and how it related to businesses that were originally downtown that were run by Chinese immigrants.  This historic street exhibit is essential in telling the story of the everyday life that occurred in the early history of Boise.

Examples of what preservation and restoration in Boise can be seen with what was done with the Egyptian Theater. The theater was saved in the 70’s and has been renovated many times.  It is an example a building that is registered in the Historic American Building Survey or HABS and is known in the survey as the Ada Theater.  The Fort Boise Administration Building is also registered in HABS, so there are many buildings that are in the Survey in Boise.

Seeing that from this week’s readings implies that  preservation does indeed matter and that local governments care as much for preserving certain buildings and landmarks as much as the federal government does.  Concerned citizens are the ones that raise their voices in preserving and using technology as a way to seek to renew and make these older gems of the past sparkle as when they were first built.

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I am a non-traditional old goat! I am a disabled, retired Army veteran with 29 years of service and two combat tours behind me. I want to be able to work in Public History because I have been in so much of it!

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