Yesterday evening -- just a few hours after announcing our 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places -- a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the Fathom Gallery on 14th Street, NW (just across from our Restoration Diary project) to celebrate the past 25 years of saving places using our 11 Most list as a platform. It was also the coming out party for our new brand, and a time to hear from people in a variety of fields about the ways they are working to "save places" across DC. There was a hashtag, National Trust swag, music, and refreshments. In short, it was a party for preservation.
One of the coolest elements of the party was the program. National Trust President Stephanie Meeks spoke briefly about the 11 Most program and premiered our new video that celebrates its last 25 years. Then a lineup of five speakers spoke for only a few minutes each.
There were representatives from Popularise -- the online tool for communities to crowdsource ideas for old buildings, Living Social -- which chooses to locate their offices in older buildings across the world, ARCH Development -- a non-profit using arts and events to draw people into DC's Anacostia neighborhood, Capital Pixel -- a rendering company that uses imagery to inspire restorations of old houses, the Rainbow History Project -- which produces maps and walking tours of historic LGBT sites around the city, PGN Architects -- a firm that is working on a number of adaptive reuse projects, and Dupont Underground -- a team of people collaborating to bring new life to an abandoned streetcar tunnel.
Nikki Peele, the speaker from ARCH Development, communicated the room's common passion well when she noted that "historic places are the bookmarks of our story." Considering the young and diverse audience at the party, it appears the book on preservation in America is still very much being written.