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By Melissa Mortimer Melissa Mortimer was one of the recipients of the 2020 American Express Aspire Award . My first memories of preservation go back to driving to my grandparent’s house in Missouri as a kid. The trip from Tennessee took our woody minivan through Cairo, Illinois, where for 31 years, we watched the slow decay and demolition of the commercial district, as well as its historic homes. Every trip, my mom would pull down a side street to go look at her favorite school building, ...
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By Shaw Sprague, Ross Bradford, and Raina Regan Introduced in both the 115 th and 116 th Congress, the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act has gained considerable support to address specific ongoing abuses in donations of preservation and conservation easements. This legislation addresses egregious syndicated conservation easement transactions which the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) described in IRS Notice 2017-10 . The National Trust supports reintroducing and passage ...
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By Lois Lee Pioneering Black architect Paul Revere Williams, FAIA (1894-1980), is finally receiving well-deserved, national recognition 40 years after his death.  Williams’ extensive portfolio transcends the racial boundaries of the architecture profession during his time , and his story continues to be told today. The recent acquisition of Williams’ archives—previously thought lost in a fire—by the Getty Institute and the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture has heightened ...
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By David Preziosi, FAICP Preservation Dallas is the recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2020 Trustee’s Award for Organizational Excellence . From its early days, newer, better, bigger has been the attitude in Dallas, Texas. As a result, a constant tearing down and rebuilding led to countless historic buildings being lost over time in the pursuit of the shiny and new. Against tremendous odds, Preservation Dallas has fought for nearly 50 years to change the philosophy ...
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The latest issue of Forum Journal captures the proceedings from PastForward Online 2020, the historic preservation movement’s first-ever all-virtual national conference which drew more than 4,000 registrants. Like the national conference, Forum Journal opens with introductory remarks by President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Paul Edmondson. Paul’s remarks are followed with insightful keynotes by national thought leaders like Darren Walker, President of the ...
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“If you go to Capitol Hill with Nellie Longsworth, be sure to wear comfortable shoes.” A generation or more of historic preservation advocates heeded that advice and earned the chance to walk the halls of Congress with Nellie as she championed laws and incentives that define how we save historic places.  Nellie died March 1, 2021, at the age of 87. She leaves behind her beloved children Jennifer, Jeff, and Mark, and a community of historic preservation activists who adored her. Courtesy of ...
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By Zulmilena Then Zulmilena Then was one of the recipients of the 2020 American Express Aspire Award . One day, I had a dream where I was in danger. Like in a horror movie, I screamed for help, but my voice didn’t come out. I was surprised. I tried again, but I was mute. It felt distressing and exhausting trying to use my voice to be rescued and not heard. In the waking state, this is the same feeling I felt as a Brown woman advocating preservation as a way to protect my Black and Brown childhood ...
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Editor's Note: For more on Moynihan Train Hall and its part in the legacy of Pennsylvania Station, read a Q&A between Tom Mayes and Holly Leicht on SavingPlaces.org. A project decades in the making, the new Moynihan Train Hall opened to Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road passengers in January 2021. While it does not fully replace the underground warrens of the present Penn Station below Madison Square Garden, the train hall serves as a symbol of what is possible for adaptive use transportation ...
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Last October, more than 500 preservationists participated in the PastForward Online 2020 Town Hall on climate change. This virtual gathering generated a range of opinions, ideas, and suggestions for how the preservation movement can more effectively engage in climate change advocacy and action. What did we learn and how can we build on this important discussion? The Town Hall on Climate Change began with a series of short video commentaries from practitioners around the country. A brief overview ...
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By Debra Mecky   In 2020, Greenwich Historical Society was awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship . We are now accepting award nominations for 2021 through February 15 .  In 2018 Greenwich Historical Society completed a five-year plan to advance its mission and make a greater contribution to the community. At the heart of our $13.5 million dollar capital project was the reimagining of our suburban campus to restore and ...
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By Christine Madrid French When Louisa Bird Cunningham founded the Ladies of Mount Vernon in 1853, she focused on the concept of “home” to save President George Washington’s house in Virginia. That moment, recognized as one of the earliest historic preservation movements in the United States, continues to shape the effort to save significant sites in the twenty-first century. Today, however, the emphasis is on broadening the concept of home and context to include all of the cultures that contributed ...
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By Mike Palien Twenty years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation formed the National Trust Community Investment Corporation ( NTCIC ) as a dedicated subsidiary to finance impactful preservation and community development projects. Today, NTCIC raises money through several state and federal tax incentive programs, such as the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), and Solar Tax Credit (STC); and makes investments in mission-oriented projects. Since its inception, ...
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Since including the James River near Jamestown, Virginia, on the annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2013, the National Trust and our partners, including Preservation Virginia, as well as preservation advocates around the country have urged the Army Corps of Engineers to explore alternatives that protect the James River’s cultural landscape from Dominion’s misguided transmission line. During the initial review of the project, almost 30,000 people signed a petition during ...
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The West is filled with stories of cowboys, loggers, pioneers, and homesteaders seeking new lives often under uncertain, tough circumstances. Now imagine if the stories and those individuals who forged new paths for themselves and their families on the frontier were Black. In 1857, the state of Oregon’s constitution set exclusion laws that did not allow Black Americans to settle, live, or own property, and over time, this led to an erasure of the state’s Black history. Today, two preservation organizations—both ...
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The National Trust Preservation Fund , the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s small dollar grant program, offers a timely look at issues preservation organizations are tackling across the country. Applications to the fund’s October 2020 grant round reflected the impact that the pandemic and recent social justice issues are having on the field and on the work that organizations are choosing to do. More than sixty percent of all awarded grant projects had a focus on diversity, equality, inclusion ...
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By Tracy Stone It may surprise you to hear that Los Angeles has a river that traverses 51 miles of the city and county and is, in fact, the reason that the city exists where it does. Once a source of sustenance for the region, the Los Angeles River is best known as a concrete flood control channel created by the Army Corps of Engineers in response to a devastating flood in 1938. Since channelization, the river achieved some fame and recognition as a cultural landmark with appearances in movies ...
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2020 forced us all to hunker down at home with time to revisit our values. In Main Street’s Comeback: And How It Can Come Back Again ,  author Mary Means writes a convincing argument that the desire to revitalize our main streets is a core value of American culture. Means demonstrates that the emotional pull of linking arms with neighbors to incrementally tackle our downtown revitalization problems is deeply rooted in all of us—and that is why the Main Street Approach will help us climb out of ...
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Editor's Note: For a look back at 2020 check out last week's post Looking Back on 2020: Where Do We Go From Here? and make sure to share your preservation resolutions on Forum Connect. 2020 was a rough year. For thousands of non-profit organizations across the country in small towns and cities that do this work, it was a year of staff and programming cuts, furloughs, museum closures (and openings—and closures) and, for some, permanent dissolution. For faculty and students in university-based ...
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At the heart of our work as historic preservationists is the philosophy of acknowledging and managing change. Every place, landscape, or piece of cultural heritage we strive to protect is affected by external factors that can be attributed to both human and natural intervention. Our challenge is to ask: how much change is too much change? In an answer that might seem antithetical to protecting spaces of the past, my answer is as much as we can handle, and then more . Restoration of the ...
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New Orleans is more than beignets and Bourbon Street, voodoo queens and Mardi Gras. An old city with a multicultural blend of its African, French, Cajun, and Spanish roots, this city has a culture that is all its own. This includes the unique architecture, with its distinctive ironwork, balconies, and 19 th century shotgun and camelback houses, as well as its historic neighborhoods, which include some of the oldest Black communities in the country. Two projects selected as recipients of African ...
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