May 29, 2024

LETTER: May is historical preservation month

Jane Briley, Creston Historic Preservation Commission

May is Preservation Month. The Creston Historic Preservation Commission would like the public to remember preservation, not only during preservation month, May, but every month of the year. Preservation means to keep something safe from injury or destruction.

Yes, it is important to keep things safe and we immediately think about those that lost items or buildings during the recent tornadoes and fires but during the 2024 Preservation Month observations, we would like for you to focus on the artifacts you might find in your own household and the buildings not only in your community but around the world. Museums often have the artifacts but remember that they are always looking for those artifacts that may have never been seen by the current generations. Their importance might be because they are old or because they are not commonly found or are one of a kind.

It is important to preserve our paper artifacts such as city and county records, newspapers, printed posters, and calendars. Just recently members of our commission were given the Sand Creek Township Trustees records. They have information about the people and their activities from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. The records will be digitized by photographing them so the records can be shared with the public easily. Our county has digitized most of the records found in their buildings and those records have been available through links on their website. If you have a one-of-a-kind item consult with your local historical or art museum about how to preserve or donate it.

Other things that we must think about during preservation month and other months of the years are the preservation of historic and architectural homes, buildings and other resources such as bridges, fountains, etc. Many homes are torn down to make way for new construction but some of these homes are in a condition that they may be restored at a lower price than if we were to tear it down and build a new home. You must keep in mind that lumber when these buildings were built was of much better quality than what we can find today. The buildings in our local communities were made of brick, stone, and mortar and with continuous care can continue being used by many generations.

Before you throw away or tear something down, think about if it should be saved for another generation. Before you consider building new, think about our older buildings in the community. Can they serve your purpose?