WHY HISTORIC PRESERVATION MATTERS TO CARTHAGE
“There may have been a time when preservation was about saving an old building here and there, but those days are gone. Preservation is in the business of saving communities and the values they embody.”
~ Richard Moe, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Here is a top-ten list of reasons why preservation matters to Carthage:
1. Historic preservation allows for collective memories and a sense of identity and uniqueness. There are real “Places in the Heart” which are shared by a whole community. For example, who in Carthage doesn’t identify with the Jasper County Courthouse? Or perhaps you have memories of cruising Boots Drive-in. Did you or your children attend Mark Twain Elementary School, now over 100 years old?
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!
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/or can take advantage of passive energy. Preservation saves not just the past but also the future.
9. Historic preservation brings beauty to a community. Old buildings are very often works of art, showcasing 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 materials and ornate workmanship of an old home, servants’ quarters, the hitching post out front…they all have a story to tell.