Historic Preservation Heroes


Let’s roll out the era appropriate red carpet for a few heroes of one of our favorite subjects – historic preservation.  We’re talking about the scholars of economics, restoration, long-term planning and community education all specific to historic places.  These are the people who have truly dedicated their careers to the stewardship of our visual representations of the past.  Whereas we will never run out of wheels to repair, because of these great pioneers there are hundreds we won’t have to reinvent.


Donovan Rypkema- Place Economics

I can count myself as one of the few lucky people in the world to have personally attended one of Rypkema’s presentations.  He was so inspiring I have a bound notebook of his lectures, nearly half highlighted in yellow.  This is THE go-to source for the economics of historic places.  Want to know the economic impact of restoring a building vs new construction?  Wonder what the ROI on tax incentives are for preservation?  The impact on job creation and keeping money in your own community?  Place Economics is the best place to start.  Our own Extreme Green Campaign video was based on Rypkema’s data and statistics.

Emilie Evans is another P2P preservation hero.  After creating the game-changing Detroit Historic Resource Survey program, Emilie joined Place Economics as their Director of Rightsizing Cities Initiative.  Recently she also received the National Trust for Historic Preservation 2015 American Express Aspire Award.

Michael H. Shuman

The economics of local, which happens to thrive in historic downtowns and communities.  Shuman proves without a doubt that large corporate TIFFs don’t do anyone any long term favors.  Incentives to small businesses not only create long term jobs and keep more money in the community in which they exist; he has found and created several strategies for incentive funding.  I am currently finishing his book “The Small-Mart Revolution”, just one of his nine publications to date.

Restoration and Preservation-

Scott Sidler- The Craftsman Blog

The only preservation hero in this blog I haven’t personally met yet.  Sidler is an historic restoration expert in the Orlando Florida area.  His blog is not only a gift to preservationist, it is a must read for anyone considering a restoration project.

Bob Yapp- The Belvedere School

Not only is Bob an expert in historic restoration and preservation politics, he took his mastery one step further to create a new model in historic preservation.  The Belvedere School, located in Hannibal, MO, provides skilled trade education in the art of historic restoration.  What makes this school extra special is that the students are kids who would otherwise have little or no opportunity for this kind of training. Yapp also holds workshops and gives presentations across the county.

So hats off to these and many more preservation heroes!  May they inspire you and inspire an emerging generation of preservationists to come.

Audrey L Elder

Past to Present Research LLC


The Future of the Past is in the Stewardship of the Present


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