After completing the reading I found it interesting that most of the chapters focused on preserving historic buildings, however there was a brief mention of the importance of National Parks, and historic battlefields. When I think of preservation, I think of all areas that include; ocean/river ways, land areas, as well as historic buildings. I assume most of you do as well. I’ve been to a few tide pools along California’s coast and the coastal communities there are very involved with preserving their tide pools for future generations. They organize volunteers to clean the tide pools, and community members even volunteer to educate visitors and help with class field trips. The connection I saw in the reading is the importance of being involved in your community and fighting for preservation. Some examples included, the ladies association to preserve Mt. Vernon, as well as Clete’s example in saving Wallace, Idaho. Local organizations, and donations make a significant contribution to preservation. However, even some wealthy preservationists do receive negative comments. For example, Henry Ford’s preservation efforts at Greenfield Village were “criticized as too much a product of Ford’s personal tastes…” pg.38.
Our government has made efforts to preserve historic buildings, and the National Parks Service also does great work in preserving buildings, land, and trails at our national parks. Last week on PBS there was an interesting documentary about Idaho fire lookouts and cabins that are being preserved, and people are able to rent them out. The program was organized by the Forest Fire Lookout Association or the FFLA. Here is their website http://www.firelookout.org/lookout-rentals.htm Many cabins have been restored, however it is expensive, and other cabins that have been deserted for years are falling apart. The longer they are left empty the further in disrepair they become.
I was also interested to learn how Japan, and China deal with preservation. Preservation is important in terms of their language and culture, but not so prevalent in the age of their buildings. I was surprised to learn about the Ise Shrine in Ise city, Japan; and that they rebuild the shrine every 20 years. Japan and China have an abundance of historic shrines that locals and tourist often visit. The Ise Shrine reminded me of an article I read about the Three Gorges Dam in China that was built across the Yangtze river. The intention of the dam was to control flooding, and provide electricity. However, the construction forced at least 1.4 million residents to move, and it altered the course of the river which flooded several archaeological sites. Some historic shrines were relocated, however it was too expensive to move everything. The river dolphins are also being threatened and may face extinction. It is a difficult decision to make when it is time to modernize, but that may threaten or destroy historic sites.