Sunday, March 19, 2006

Usefulness: Preserving Old Buildings

Maysville, Kentucky, like many small towns in the United States, has quite a few older buildings in varying states of disrepair. We've mentioned a few in this blog like the Russell Theatre, the Washington Opera House, the Lee House and several others that are finding new life because people realize that these structures are an important legacy to the local community and future generations.

Some buildings haven't yet made the list, like the saltbox house in Old Washington that is literally on its last leg. Still, I believe it is safe to say that we are a community that cares about its past. We are concerned about old buildings like the Hayswood Hospital and the Earl D. Jones Elementary School, both of which have been brought up recently in community discussions. We wonder, what will become of these buildings?

For those who have doubts as to whether old buildings can be saved, or why it would it be useful to do so, we offer these pages we found on the web:

First, why preserve?

Ask yourself, "A flat-faced modern office block or an elegantly detailed pre-war commercial building? A strip mall fronted by a parking lot or a pedestrian-friendly retail district? A McMansion with a huge garage or a Victorian with a wraparound porch?" Appearance, Economics, and History and Culture are some of the prime reasons old buildings should be looked at first before new construction is considered.

Second, can preservation succeed?

"The advantages of preservation come through most clearly in examples, and so the National Trust has collected case studies from around the country that show what happens when a community preserves - and when it doesn't."

Take some time to browse the case studies to see how communities like ours were able to build the future by protecting buildings of the past.

posted at 5:22 PM by Jeremy Parnell