WHY HISTORIC PRESERVATION MATTERS TO CARTHAGE
When you hear the words “historic preservation,” do you immediately think, “snooze fest?” Do you immediately imagine little old ladies living in dusty Victorian homes with lots of lace and doilies everywhere? You probably aren’t alone! However, in the interest of showing how relevant historic preservation is to you and Carthage, here is a top-ten list of why preservation should and does matter.
1. Historic preservation means there are real “Places in the Heart,” shared by a whole community. Its history and historical structures provide a community with memories and a sense of identity and uniqueness. For example, who in Carthage doesn’t identify with the Jasper County Courthouse?
2. Historic preservation encourages heritage tourism. Heritage visitors want to visit our kind of town, and they have a significant impact on the local economy. They stay longer, spend more money, and spread the word and return if a community has something to offer.
3. It supports small businesses. Older, smaller buildings provide ideal locations for small business owners.
4. It contributes to job creation, for example, renovation and construction work, tourism, small businesses, the service sector.
5. And as a result, the money stays in the community!
Or have memories of personal events tied to the Route 66 Drive-In, Boots Court and Boots Drive, or the Carthage Square, to name just a few of our “Places in the Heart”?
6. Historic buildings and districts help to stabilize and support property values. Study after study has shown that historic residential districts increase property values of all residences within the community, not just the historic homes.
7. Historic preservation improves “livability.” Historic districts are an essential component of making a city attractive. The livability of a city attracts new people, new talent, and new businesses.
8. It is the original green movement. All of the materials, labor, and energy used to construct an older building have already been used. And many old buildings, because of how they were designed, use less operating energy, and can take advantage of passive energy. Preservation saves not just the past but also the future.
9. Old buildings are often works of art - they bring beauty to a community; in many cases, through artisan skills that no longer exist.
10. Historic preservation educates us – historic structures and places tell us about our past. There are lessons to be learned from the geography of a battlefield, the physical location of a building, the building materials and ornate quality (or not) of an old home, servants’ quarters (or not), the hitching post out front…they all tell us how our forbearers lived and died.