Who is a “Preservationist?”
According to Wikipedia (I’m using this definition because I agree with it):
A preservationist is generally understood to mean historic preservationist: one who advocates to preserve architecturally or historically significant buildings, structures, objects or sites from demolition or degradation. Historic preservation usually refers to the preservation of the built environment, not to preservation of, for instance, primeval forests or wilderness.
I am a preservationist, so yes, I do have an agenda here. I have a masters degree in historic preservation and have worked or volunteered for historic preservation non-profits, commissions, and private consulting firms the last 13 years. The goal of a preservationist is not to save every “old” building from demolition or to prevent development and progress. However, it is the goal of a preservationist to identify what elements of our built environment have significance and then to fiercely protect those significant elements. We see ourselves as caretakers…radical visionaries, even. Often the best solution isn’t the easiest solution. And as every preservationist knows, “where there’s a will there’s a way.”
These old buildings do not belong to us only, they belong to our forefathers and they will belong to our descendants unless we play them false. They are not in any sense our own property to do with as we like with them. We are only trustees for those that come after us.