Many of us have heard of the National Trust for Preservation’s “This Place Matters” campaign that began several years ago. This program gives everyday citizens all over the country an opportunity to save a historic place that holds a special place in a community’s heart, in an individual’s heart. My first personal experience of this love for a place began with a place where I was reared, where friends and family gathered, and a place that I learned the value of stewardship. My hometown church. I remember admiring it and respecting it even more when we celebrated the church’s 100 year anniversary in 1997. I felt the connection grow even stronger as we all shared stories about its history – from its humble beginnings out in the country, visits from circuit riders, our German heritage, even stories of physically moving the building to its present location. It found its place in the history of our community, and to this very day is well cared for because it is dearly loved. The diligent actions of a community can speak louder than any words ever could; those actions tell the world that this place matters.
Historic preservation is about saving those places that mean the most to us. These efforts are certainly not limited to fancy homes and churches. There’s a grand array of places to be saved, not the least of which include:
- Homes and neighborhoods
- Theatres and opera houses
- Public artwork
Thousands of places around this nation have been saved because of the efforts of passionate people. Take, for example, the City of Boonville, Missouri, a community that rallied together to rescue the Katy Bridge from being demolished; though the 6-year battle is not yet over, their fighting spirit is something to be admired and stands as a testament to what can be done.
What speaks to you? What do you and your community hold dear? The National Trust still proudly and strongly encourages participation in this program by which you can share about these places, and is a great way to start conversations in your community about how to move forward with preserving the places we treasure.