Monday, November 28, 2011

Historic Preservation Before Historic Preservation was Cool


Here's the story of the efforts to restore a Shaker community outside of Lexington during the 1960s (The Shakers were a group of dissenting Quakers who lived in gender-segregated dormatory style housing and refrained from having sex):

Historic preservation as we know it today was still being invented in places like Lexington and Savannah, Ga., to battle post-war urban-renewal efforts . . . There was no template to follow. What they were intent on saving wasn't the home of a famous American, like George Washington's Mount Vernon or Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, both in Virginia, and it wasn't famous for a moment in history, like Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Instead, it was a real place, one that celebrated the everyday, simple lives of people who deliberately removed themselves from "the world" and found a measure of freedom and peace by doing so.

Steve Clowney

(Photo: A typical Shaker workroom by Flickr user contemplative imaging)

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