Preserving the Past

The most difficult community stories to tell or remember are about the buildings and places that have been lost over the years. Part of our national culture and memory has found its way to the junkyard or the brickyard in the name of progress. Historic downtowns paid the price of modernization: the explosion of auto and air travel, an exodus to the suburbs and mall shopping, and an historic cognitive dissonance.

One of the most interesting aspects of asking questions about communities is that you get unexpected answers. Invariably, responses to revitalization questions turned to what was lost as well as what was saved. In a conversation about preservation, one local historian commented that citizens in her community ...

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