May Is National Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month

Raymond Cox, MA Historic Preservation

May marks National Preservation Month across the USA. Communities across the nation celebrate with activities, awards and travel suggestions. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the state, cities and preservation organizations have websites where you can learn about local and national events. You might start within your community and visit some places you’ve often heard of or discover old places that are new to you and learn how you can contribute and join!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation promotes Preservation Month through their highly popular #This Place Matters initiative. People are encouraged to photograph themselves in front of buildings, structures and places meaningful to their community and to them. You can follow as well as contribute to the program on their Facebook page National Trust and their webpage https://tinyurl.com/laxxjb2 to learn how you can submit a place. If you’re planning a May vacation, you might want to check out the National Trust Travel webpage at https://tinyurl.com/ky3339ofor recommended sites as well as historic inns and hotels for lodging.

The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is a statewide agency that provides resources for services, events, seminars, and news on restoration and economic assistance programs. They also maintain site files for registered historic and endangered properties throughout Florida as well as available economic incentives. Visit their website at www.floridatrust.org

The Orlando Historic Preservation Board awards owners, preservationists, and developers for achievements in protecting and rehabilitating the city’s historic resources. These awards will be announced and presented at the May 15th City Council meeting, 2PM, 2nd floor Council Chambers. The public is invited to attend. The City’s website has links to the historic places, neighborhoods, structures, resources and services available. Check it out at https://tinyurl.com/za2kcxp

Orange Preservation Trust, OPT, is a regional countywide non-profit organization that provides resources, education and advocacy for the historic resources in the Orange County area. A recent OPT project was the successful application of the Marsh House, aka Eola House, in Lake Eola Park to the City of Orlando’s Landmark list. OPT is also a beneficiary of the Lake Eola Heights Private Gardens Tour. You are encouraged to participate and join!

While there are many successfully preserved and contributing historic structures, be them residential, commercial, private and public, that we look at as “monuments” to events, people, industry, time periods, skilled craftsmanship and materials there are many that remain threatened by neglect, willful demolition by neglect as well as economic pressure for large scale redevelopment. We all have the ability to help by volunteering time, resource and or money to preservation organizations and governmental review boards and review processes.

In response to threats on historic buildings, to paraphrase the late preservationist and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, ‘…we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed’. Take hold of your legacy and let May be your start of something “old” for the generations that follow!

Preservation and the Community Together

Dear Fellow Preservationist;

As OPT reflects back on 2016 we see successes and challenges and as we look forward we see opportunity. Our successes have come from the diligence of both the OPT board as well as from members of the community. Together we can become the stewards of Orange County’s cultural resources.

We saw the successful landmark designation of the Marsh House in Lake Eola Park in Orlando as well as the nominations of the Bob Carr theater and the Armory as local Orlando Landmarks. One outstanding challenge is the current move by the City of Orlando to amend the local Landmark process by including the requirement that any application can only be made with property owner consent. We were able to get some publicity on the item and members of the community wrote and spoke against this change. This change is in opposition to nearly all other Certified Local Governments, CLG, in the State of Florida. While this change does have support of city council and staff there is recognition that modifications are needed to prevent any inadvertent threat to historic resources and consideration is being given to modify at the City Council 2nd reading in the near future.

There are opportunities for OPT to identify threatened historic resources in Orange County but to do so we need participation from people like you in the community. We look to the community to identify what is historically important and we will try to work together on feasible solutions.

We hope you take the opportunity to “like” and “share” Orange Preservation Trust on Facebook, check out our web site, orangepreservationtrust.org and email us with ideas, comments and concerns at optrust15@gmail.com. Share our Social media with family and friends. Most importantly we ask you to consider becoming a member, membership dues schedule can be found on our web page.

Together we can work together to save, protect and share what makes Orange County, Florida unique.

Sincerely,

Raymond G Cox, OPT president