Historic preservation is a weighty task that requires teams of dedicated people to keep old homes, historic areas of town, and monuments from falling into disrepair. Home improvement and restoration expert John Kistler shares his understanding of historic preservation in the hopes that it will inspire new projects across the country.
Citizens like John Kistler are involved in historic preservation efforts to conserve and protect what remains of historic buildings, landscapes, and other items that carry great significance. Without their help and dedication, historic objects are left to the elements and can be privately owned, which means they are capable of being damaged, altered, or demolished without repercussion.
John Kistler and other historical conservationists work in partnership with businesses, local organizations, property owners, and public agencies to locate or label historic properties and objects. Their combined efforts preserve meaningful national landmarks that may have otherwise been lost to time.
Historic preservation hasn’t always been at the forefront of society’s concerns and didn’t come into mainstream attention in America until the mid-19th century. One of the first major preservation efforts was the Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site in Newburgh, New York. In fact, it was the first ever historic property in America that was designated and kept up as a historic site by the state.
Since then, people all over the country have recognized historic landmarks in their cities and local communities, joining organizations that fight the degradation of their sacred monuments.
Some people don’t understand the importance of preservation, but John Kistler has plenty to say on the subject. When asked why he thinks people get involved in historic preservation in the first place, he replied:
“Historic preservation is a way to promote the unique character of an area while protecting what may be a major piece of history. People realize that without their help, these national and local treasures will disappear and may be forgotten forever. They preserve historic sites to keep these places alive both in reality and in our memories.”
The mission of many historic preservationists is to preserve significant locations in time as best they can, and in doing so protect cultural representations that may pass from history books. They accomplish preservation by donating time, money, and resources to maintaining landmarks and inspiring the community to get involved. In a way, historic preservation helps protect the heart of communities as new buildings go up, new people settle in the area, and lifestyles change.
“Those looking to get involved,” says John Kistler, “can find projects across the country from places like the National Park Service. The site includes activities at all levels of preservation, from donations and physical restoration projects to neighborhood surveys and documentation efforts.”
Because historic preservation requires help from both public and private entities, John Kistler hopes that sharing his passion with others will inspire more people to protect the rich history of their own communities.