I try very hard to make sure that historic preservation is close to the heart of Newburyport. And yet, here is the birthplace of historic preservation in community planning for the entire nation. Before we did it, the act of preserving architecture was in the realm of history buffs and the realm of specialists hoarding such treasures in house museums or in places like Sturbridge Village and Williamsburg, Virginia.
Now, as cries rise up for minimal human impact on the environment and in conserving energy, historic preservation sites such as Newburyport are now become the forefront of green technology. The devouring environmental demand of new construction and the filling of landfills with building waste will now be replaced by conservation of materials and reduction in the amount of energy required. Historic preservation is leading the way and homeowners who have struggled for years to preserve their places find themselves as leaders in conservation.
As the National Trust has put it, "…preservationists have valuable knowledge and experience to bring to the table. We know how to appropriately rehabilitate and retrofit buildings in ways that can conserve energy, create jobs and save tax dollars."
Newburyport started it all.
Now the rest of the country is following us.
"As a means of improving the quality of life in communities all over America, preservation is more widely embraced every day. Demolition of older structures is no longer the first option when redeveloping an area; rather, adaptive use is increasingly a viable, and profitable, choice. Countless downtowns in the country have been revitalized with preservation playing a lead role. [my italics] And growing numbers of people are traveling to American places that have maintained their character, that are authentic, that tell stories. We can all feel proud of this progress."-Richard Moe, President, National Trust of Historic Preservation
Newburyport can be very proud indeed.