Since 1973, when Historic Preservation Month (well, a week at the time) was signed into law by former President Richard Nixon, civic leaders, historians, and community members have taken the month of May as an opportunity to celebrate and educate our nation on its historic assets.
Historic preservation is an essential facet of the work we do on Main Street. It’s so vital that Main Street America’s (MSA) fifth Accreditation Standard, which is one of six Standards communities must meet to qualify for national Accreditation, is based on the value of historic preservation. Successful Main Street efforts are built on the guiding principle that district economic development is obtained by leveraging and preserving its unique historic and cultural assets. This Standard confirms the strong belief that a community’s own place-based and diverse cultural assets reflect the richness and strength of its identity and establish a competitive market advantage.
This year, the National Trust of Historic Preservation (NTHP) chose the theme “People Saving Places” as a means of recognizing the individuals who are devoted to doing the work that allows generations of people to enjoy the historically significant places in their communities. We at Virginia Main Street (VMS) would like to join our friends at NTHP and celebrate the broader VMS network for the work that they do to preserve history across Virginia.
Administered by VMS, the Financial Feasibility Grant (FFG) serves as an excellent historic preservation tool. The purpose of this grant is to identify the highest and best use of deteriorated properties, that are often seen as “white elephants” within a downtown commercial district. The grant helps breathe new life into forgotten buildings while preserving their historic value. Several historic preservation projects supported by VMS include:
- Danville’s White Mill Building;
- Altavista’s Vista Theater; and
- South Boston’s John Randolph Hotel
What are you doing this month to celebrate historic preservation in your community?
Image Credit (John Randolph Hotel): ABC 13 News
Image Credit (Historic Preservation Month): National Trust for Historic Places Media Kit
Image Credit (Vista Theatre): WBDJ7
Image Credit (Alonzo Jones): Virginia Business