The Power of Place
By Stephanie K. Meeks | From Preservation | November/December 2011
Preservationists celebrated in 1994 when Disney abandoned plans to build a theme park adjacent to the Manassas battlefield in Virginia, and in 2003 when the Farnsworth House in Illinois was purchased by the National Trust, and in 2010 when L.A.'s Century Plaza Hotel was saved from demolition. In every case, preserving these historic places was the right thing to do.
In the more than 60 years since its founding, the Trust has matured into the voice of America's preservation movement. We have become a vocal advocate on Capitol Hill, blazed the trail on important preservation trends, and helped establish a vital network of state and local preservation organizations nationwide.
We take great pride in these successes. But we recognize that there is more to be done. Much of America's cultural heritage remains threatened. The preservation movement needs to grow its base of support, and we need to do more to extol the benefits of preservation.
To address these challenges, we've launched an exciting new strategic approach designed to achieve a tenfold increase in the Trust's reach and impact.
At its heart, the approach recognizes the connection to place as one of the great forces of the human experience. Nothing compares with the experience of a sacred landscape protected, a favorite building restored, a childhood neighborhood revived.
For that reason, in the coming years, the Trust will dramatically expand its direct, on-the-ground work. Building on our successful 11 Most Endangered program, we will create a revolving portfolio of as many as 100 National Treasures—historic buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes that unite and define us. Just as with our 11 Most campaigns, which have a remarkable track record of success (only 3 percent of listed sites have been lost), we will mobilize all of the Trust's skills, expertise, and resources behind strategic campaigns to protect these irreplaceable sites.
By taking action at these significant places, we believe we will raise the visibility of preservation and inspire others to join our cause. We will deepen our efforts to bring cutting-edge tools to local preservationists across the country, and in so doing, begin to build a more visible, dynamic, and broadly inclusive preservation movement.
I look forward to telling you more about the Trust's new initiatives in the months ahead. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy reading about a few of the National Trust Historic Sites you are already helping to protect.
Together, we are saving America's past—and enriching its future. Thank you for your support.
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