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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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A Response to “Representation and The National Register in Minnesota”

This past week I read an interesting analysis of the National Register of Historic Places in regards to ethnic representation of Minnesota sites on the Register. The article appears on the Minnesota Local History blog and was written by Julia Larson. It is called “Representation and The National Register in Minnesota,” hence the title of my blog post. Julia analyzed the Minnesota listings on the National Register to determine which of those listed under the…

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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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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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The 500-Year Building

Historic preservation is an ever-changing field. Twenty-some years ago, people in the field concerned themselves with trying to save as many “old” buildings as they could, “old” meaning primarily Victorian-era, with the goal being to bring these buildings (or, at the very least, their facades) back to how they were originally conceived. In many cases, that meant stripping off any modern skins that had been applied during the 1940s to 1970s, removing insensitive architectural features…

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