Preservation Alliance of WV is gearing up to start reviewing nominations to the 2013 West Virginia Endangered Properties List!
For those not directly involved in a historic preservation organization, you might be wondering what an endangered list is. Endangered lists are used by preservation organizations to bring attention to the plight of at-risk properties and to provide assistance to the dedicated organizations involved in their preservation.
The selected properties contribute to our understanding of our heritage, which will be diminished if they are lost. Types of properties already listed on the PAWV Endangered Properties List include archaeological sites, bridges, county courthouses, churches, hotels, and schools, among other types of structures/landscapes. To be considered an endangered historic resource, these properties must be listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places and meet other criteria such as historic significance, preservation emergency and local support.
Local support is essential because we want to work directly with local property stewards or organizations working to save the property. They are the grassroots forces with the ideas for how these historic treasures can be reused to benefit their community, and they are ultimately doing all the major work. Without local support for the preservation of an endangered resource, it is impossible for us to help. So what’s great about this list is that it highlights the efforts of local people. Another key point is that the list helps us to identify local preservation work, and as the statewide nonprofit historic preservation organization, we can provide free technical assistance (grant writing, structural needs assessments, etc.), advocate and market for the group, and bring this project to the forefront of decision makers and preservation professionals in the state.
The ultimate goal of the endangered list is to de-list the properties. Preservation successes call for de-listing and, unfortunately, losses do too. But for a success we hope to raise enough support for the local property stewards to rehabilitate, protect, and/or preserve the endangered property. If it is appropriate, another aim we have with this list is to secure another use for the historic resource. Just because something is historic, it does not need to be frozen in time or turned into a museum. Historic preservationists frequently advocate for a new use and reuse of a historic structure all the while preserving the historic details that make this site so significant and memorable. We want to reuse our historic treasures, but we don’t want to forget what made them so important to us to initially. Landscapes and the built environment are physical reminders of our past helps us to plan for our future.
Properties are selected through a competitive application process. If you have a property in mind for the 2013 endangered list, click HERE for a nomination form and information on how to apply. Applications are due 15 November 2012. For more information on previous years lists, visit HERE.
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