Preservation Doesn't Have Age Restrictions

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News, Old House History
And You Thought You Had a Restoration Challenge

And You Thought You Had a Restoration Challenge

It might be my imagination or just wishful thinking, but it seems to me that preservation of our country’s history through restoration of old houses and buildings is becoming mainstream. Ten or twenty years ago  if you fought to save historic old houses from demolition, you were considered either eccentric or old enough to join A.A.R.P, with way too much time on your hands.

I think that stereotype, which was never close to accurate, is changing and that people of all ages and from all walks of life are taking an interest in the preservation of old houses. The change also seems to be taking place within local governments, and with the people who comprise and support local governments. Of course the funds being made available for preservation are also an impetus for local governments to make better decisions regarding preservation.

Working for Preservation at an Early Age

A week or so ago I wrote about a teenager who was using social media to try to save an old house on Long Island. When I was a teenager in Virginia I enjoyed looking at and walking through the many old houses around the area, but it would never have occurred to me to speak up at a public forum to try to save one. Now I read about another teenager in Wyandotte, Michigan, who did just that. The demolition of a historic old house in the area was being discussed at a public meeting and the town had decided it would cost too much to try to move the home to another location. A high school senior stood up and announced she was going to return there when she becomes a teacher, and if the town would spare the old house, she would like to restore it and make it her home. I don’t know if it could be said that single-handed she saved that old house, but the town did give it some more thought and may use stimulus funds to move and restore the home.

An Old House Restoration Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

I have read very good things about San Antonio, Texas, and its preservation efforts. I have spent only several hours in San Antonio about eight years ago. I didn’t have time to see much; in fact, my main memory is of the intense heat that greeted me when I emerged from the airport terminal.  But from everything I have read, San Antonio seems to be a city that has its act together when it comes to working to save historical houses and buildings. That said, I don’t think anyone would have faulted San Antonio if they had allowed an 1890s home to be demolished. While it’s easy to see how great the house once looked, it will be a major restoration project to get it looking that way once again. However, they plan to move the home to a better location and get started on bringing it back to life. I would really enjoy seeing pictures of the finished home. Kudos to San Antonio and its great old house enthusiasts.