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From Notre Dame to Yogurt Cups: Toward a Grand Unified Theory of Preservation

This is a post I’ve spent years thinking about. When it comes to historic preservation, the focus tends to be on buildings and structures that are historically or architecturally significant. Through the National Register of Historic Places, there are 4 criteria under which a structure can be nominated: Those … A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or B.That are associated with the…

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Maintaining Buildings for the Long-Term

My favorite building in Little Falls, Minnesota, is the U.S. Post Office with its giant Corinthian columns on the front facade. This blocky building covered in red brick speaks of solidity. It’s monumental, yet the smoothness of the columns gives it grace. When I visit, I have a tendency to run my hand over the surface of the columns like they are some sort of talisman. (I may be weird, but I believe buildings like…

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Can We Have Historic Preservation Levels, Too?

As so often happens with blog posts, a number of little things come together to make a much bigger topic. Such is the case with today’s post. It started with a National Register nomination I was reading, was further reinforced by the mention of a local building in a city document, then developed into a full-fledged puzzlement followed by a really big question. Historic Structures with Non-Historic Additions I sit on the Minnesota State Review…

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History Gives a Place Distinction

While hubby and I were visiting Maryland, I made an observation about the importance of history to place. As my brother navigated through suburbs along highways to various destinations, I noticed that the commercial districts of those suburbs could have been in Minnesota. Because they were filled with chain stores found nationwide constructed using nondescript building styles, there was no distinction between Maryland suburbs and Minnesota suburbs. Well, except for the vines running up and…

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Where Historic Buildings Go to Die

A few weeks ago, my husband and I met up with friends for a social evening out. During the course of conversation, our friends told us about a visit they had paid to a site that had many historic buildings — not a historic site because all these buildings had been moved to the site from somewhere else. Because there were so many buildings, it became obvious they were not all being fully maintained. Our…

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