Is Historic Preservation Necessary?

historic dutch home

Is historic preservation necessary?

Who doesn’t like looking at historical monuments, sights, statues, or structures? Millions of tourist flock to Europe every year to see reminders of history. For some of us, that is the only way to see history, it is almost like being there when it happened. Nothing can compare to a home or other historic structure that has historic preservation performed though. 

Historic preservation is crucial to retain a family’s, city, state, or a nation’s heritage, the history of that heritage. We can’t appreciate who we are and how we got where we are until we learn who our ancestors are and what they did or didn’t do. To grow into the future, we need to know our past. 

Historic preservation is a way of being environmentally conscious too. It is a basic and practical way to recycle on a large scale. With historic preservation, we save from having waste filling our landfills and we save money from the labor of demolition.

Is it important to preserve historic buildings?

Historic doesn’t mean just “old” when it comes to buildings and historic preservation. The preservation part of that means the structure is worth the money, time, and trouble because there is a tangible past there. That tangible paste offers the community around and nearby opportunities for their future. Here are six reasons why historic preservation of historic buildings is important: 

  • An intrinsic value: Structures of a certain era tend to have higher-quality materials, rare hardwoods, or wood that is no longer available. There were different standards or structures built pre WWII, and yet, they have a longer lifespan than the new structure. 
  • Saving the unknown from being destroyed. An old building may be a vacant eyesore to many, but when a developer purchases such a property, they are often met with backlash and protests when demolition of the building is planned.  with plans to demolish the building to make way for new construction. If the right developer purchases the property that sees the value in historic preservation, they often find hidden gems. Like heart-pine wood drop-ceilings, a large clerestory, or a front awning tinted “opalescent” glass. A community’s future could be inside that eyesore. 
  • Old buildings are desired by new businesses:  It has been proven over time that old buildings give new businesses an economic advantage. Sans a chain store, even older businesses like a bookstore or an ethnic restaurant have a natural fit in an old building. With their occupying such a building, they are making historic preservation that will serve them well in their future.
  • People are attracted to old structures:  As we mentioned in the beginning, tourists flock to the European countries where historic preservation is the norm. Why? Because old structures offer us warmth with interesting features, like awkward shaped rooms with corners jutting out in odd places. A revived downtown area brings back memories and makes us feel safe again. 
  • Old buildings reminder if the complexity and culture of a city: Maybe a historic building is famous or had a recognizable drama, we can witness the history firsthand. Historic preservation of old structures maintain our heritage and permanency, whether good or bad, and we learn from it and improve if needed. 
  • Regret is a one-way street: The historic preservation of buildings travels a one-way street. Once a structure is demolished, there is no going back and renovating or saving a piece of history. 

How can we preserve old historic buildings?

The commitment to historic preservation should be applauded. However, before you step into this commitment, whether it is a home you’ll reside in or a historic building, you should be prepared. Historic preservation is often a long term project not a weekend DIY project. Three will long hours, meetings, phone calls, emails, wash, rinse, repeat. Even with all that effort and the money it will take to get started, you could still lose your battle of a historic preservation. 

However, if success is yours, you can reap in the rewards of the new life you gave to this historic structure.  You have saved culture and history and built a future for the generations to come. Once you have committed, knowing all of this and more, here are the steps you need to take from people that have been there and know how to do historic preservation: 

DETERMINE THE SIGNIFICANCE 

Determine what the significance of this historic building has for the community or region. Was there an event in history or was it the first of its style? Maybe a prominent person owned it originally?

DISCOVER THE FUTURE PURPOSE

Discover what purpose you want this building to have going forward and how it may link to its past. 

FIND PARTNERS 

Historic preservation is not an easy venture. Find partners that are as passionate as you are with historic preservation and you’ll have a better chance of being successful.  

SECURE YOUR FUNDING

Funding a historic preservation project is not cheap. There are unexpected expenses awaiting you behind every wall, ceiling, and floor. Financial security is a big part of being successful with this venture. 

What is an example of preservation?

There are different types of preservation, but they all have the same goal: maintaining, and protecting something in existence. You could preserve a forest or canning tomatoes is preserving food. Preservation is the act of keeping something from be destroyed, decaying, becoming ill, or being discarded. 

historic interior

How do you preserve an old house??

Homeownership is full of surprises and when it is a historic home, the decisions, the questions, and the goals can be overwhelming.  Your decision to restore an old home or renovate it will be your first thing to do and that decision will be influence on the house’s character, the cost, and the time to complete the project. With that said, here are ten things you should keep to the forefront of your mind as you move forward with your historic preservation: 

  1. Identify the factors that determine if you’re going to rehab or restore. To what extent and is there a history to this house you want to preserve? Is architecture one that historic preservation is important and what are the conditions of the house? Is there any historic district restrictions?  
  2. Learn the history of the house such as who has lived there over the years? Were there any important or momentous events there? 
  3. Learn the difference between restoration and rehab. Restore means you’ll bring the house back to its authentic appearance, to restore is  Historic preservation, and roofs are included. Rehab means you’re bringing the house up to today’s convenient leaving standards. This includes the electric and plumbing, structure.
  4. Determine your approach once you have decided if you’re restoring or rehabbing the house.  If the house is of Italianate-style and the wood eave brackets are gone, restoring means replacing or replicating them.  
  5. Evaluate existing modifications and consider the craftsmanship, design, materials, and quality of the original home. Consider any changes that were made over time and look for the compatible exterior and interior changes of better or the same than the original home. 
  6. Design with detail for new additions and alterations with consideration of the scale, actual dimension, balance, and proportion. Stay true to the colors, materials, and textures of the original. 
  7.  Integrate modern with care and caution to maintain a level of quality to the rehab while bringing in modern technologies and living comforts.  Keep alterations from destroying or covering history. In all things, remember historic preservation is the goal.

What is historic roof preservation?

Whether the historic preservation of the roof is on a historic home or a historic building, the primary focus of the roofing contractor is to maintain the colors, finishes and shapes that are right  with the period and style of the structure. Bringing the roof to a matching level with the rest of the structure in all aspects. 

Who does historic preservation for roofs?

Not all roofing contractors are experts and knowledgeable of historic preservation for roofing. Your best bet is to do an internet search for “history preservation of roofs” and extend that search to include houses or other buildings, like a bank, church, library, etc. Ask owners of buildings in the area that have already completed or in the process of their historic preservation is another source of information for the roof and the building. 

History is history, some of it is wonderful and some of it isn’t. Destroying it and forgetting it is doing a disfavor to those who created it and those who can learn from it. Historic preservation is important to the world we didn’t know, the one we do know, and the one to come. Call __PHONE__ today for your historic restoration of your Wharton and Spring, TX.