Historic Preservation in Indiana: Essays from the Field

Historic Preservation in Indiana: Essays from the Field

Historic Preservation in Indiana: Essays from the Field

Historic Preservation in Indiana: Essays from the Field


Over the last half century, historic preservation has been on the rise in American cities and towns, from urban renewal and gentrification projects to painstaking restoration of Victorian homes and architectural landmarks. In this book, Nancy R. Hiller brings together individuals with distinctive styles and perspectives, to talk about their passion for preservation. They consider the meaning of place and what motivates those who work to save and care for places; the role of place in the formation of identity; the roles of individuals and organizations in preserving homes, neighborhoods, and towns; and the spiritual as well as economic benefits of preservation. Richly illustrated, Historic Preservation in Indiana is an essential book for everyone who cares about preserving the past for future generations.


Duncan Campbell

I have always been struck by the passion and fervor of historic preservationists and environmental activists. They have a thirst, an appetite for their respective causes that sustains their advocacy and fuels their zeal. This is as it should be. After all, there is a lot at stake: cut down a Sequoia or tear down Penn Station and they are gone forever. There is little room for compromise among combatants and lots of room for disappointment and anger when your cause is lost. the prize is the nation’s real estate, and there is precious little of it left to go around.

Of course there are many important causes, each with its champions. Elections, business deals, and even sporting events can also involve high stakes, and their respective advocates, whether campaign workers, CEOs, or soccer fans can be just as fervent. in contrast, though – and this is not to suggest that these other activities don’t matter – there will always be another election, another business opportunity, and another game: an opportunity to even the score, tweak the market, field another team. There will never be another Penn Station or stand of Sequoias.

What distinguishes environmental and historic preservation advocates from other activists is that the threats they battle have irrevocable results. a highway cut or razed building can be absorbed emotionally, but the place will never be the same. the tree-hugger and the buildinghugger understand this, and though not everyone agrees that protecting a landmark and defending a forest are quite the same thing, each proponent in his or her own way is fighting the same battle: the battle for place. When I ask students why they want to study historic preservation, or what first motivated them toward an interest in historic sites . . .

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