In Memoriam: Dorothy Marie Miner, Preservation Lawyer, Educator, Advocate

Posted on: November 6th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments


Dorothy Marie Miner (© Historic Districts Council)

Dorothy Marie Miner (© Historic Districts Council)

Dorothy Marie Miner — preservation lawyer, educator, and stalwart defender of New York City's historic places — died on October 21, 2008. As legal counsel to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1975 to 1994, Dorothy’s close attention to detail and process protected the Commission, and the historic places it designated, from numerous legal challenges. She played an instrumental role in the court proceedings that eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1978 ruling upholding the constitutionality of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Law, as applied to protect Grand Central Terminal. Later, she played a critical role in a precedent-setting 1990 federal appeals court ruling upholding the City’s preservation law against both takings and Free Exercise challenges brought by St. Bartholomew's Church. That decision remains to this day the leading precedent under the U.S. Constitution regarding the landmarking of historic religious properties. In other important cases, Dorothy helped to defend the City’s effort to protect significant interiors, including a number of Broadway theaters.

Dorothy Miner's successful work at the forefront of preservation law in New York helped to ensure that historic places throughout the country would be protected as a result of the application of local landmark laws similar to New York’s. Paul Edmondson, general counsel of the National Trust for Historic Preservation remembered her work. "Dorothy's fierce defense of New York City's landmarks preservation law had direct national impact. As long as New York's preservation law stood on firm legal ground, other cities and counties throughout the country had strong precedent to support the legitimacy of their own local historic preservation laws." ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Speak Up On Going Green

Posted on: November 6th, 2008 by Jason Clement 3 Comments


Speak Up: Sustainability and historic preservation go hand in hand because __________ .

From changing the way they get around (Prius, anyone?) to changing the way they shop (do you have your reusable grocery bag yet?), people are going green everywhere you look. It should therefore come as no surprise that a movement so ubiquitous is increasingly infiltrating our field.

This week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology are convening 30 leaders in the historic preservation and sustainability fields at the Rockefeller Brothers Pocantcio Center in Tarrytown, NY, to discuss the three-way intersection of sustainable practices, historic preservation and public policy.  

Dubbed Sustainability & Historic Preservation: Making Policy, the overall goal of this meeting of the minds is to develop the core elements of a Sustainability and Preservation Charter. In acknowledging the inherent contributions of preservation to sustainability, this charter will call for the integration of sustainability principles into preservation policy and practice in such a way that is consistent with the values of our movement to protect and restore. 

So, while the thought leaders and subject matter experts discuss the details and policy nuances, we want to hear from you: Sustainability and historic preservation go hand in hand because...

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Notes from New Orleans: Victory for Citizen-Driven City Planning

Posted on: November 6th, 2008 by Walter Gallas


Along with all the other exciting developments on election day, came the news from the New Orleans electorate that a majority of them want a master plan with the force of law, tied to the comprehensive zoning ordinance, and offering a legislated citizen participation component. All of this locked in through the passage of an amendment to the New Orleans City Charter. The result was a real squeaker--passing by only two percentage points, 51 percent for, 49 percent against, but a victory nonetheless.

On Monday, I stood at a press conference called by City Council president Jackie Clarkson. Scores of New Orleanians representing a coalition for the passage of the charter amendment attended. On election day, signs simply saying "NO" were planted on the neutral grounds of streets around town, but it was clear what they were referring to. Countering this was a television, sign, and leaflet campaign urging "Vote Yes for Citizen-Driven City Planning." Clearly it convinced enough people to bring the approval numbers over the top, despite lots of misunderstanding about what really was being voted on.

Now we return to the process already underway. Another citywide planning forum is this Saturday. Meetings at the neighborhood level are next week. The effort is under the primary direction of the consulting firm Goody Clancy of Boston.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.


President-Elect Barack Obama. (Photo:

President-Elect Barack Obama. (Photo:

Here at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we take pride in the fact that we have supporters of all political stripes. A love of, and respect for, the places that matter to us as people and as a nation transcends ideology; historic preservation is a cause that has room for everyone. And just as President-Elect Obama  last night told the nation that he'd work to be everyone's president -- even of those whose votes he didn't receive -- we also want to be a preservation organization that speaks for all of us.

We've crafted a preservation platform that we will soon deliver to the transition team. Take our platform survey now to make your voice heard in our goals for our new administration.

Last night, Barack Obama made history. Every day, with your help, we work to save it.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

The Global Family of National Trusts

Posted on: November 5th, 2008 by David J. Brown


Most Americans spent election night in front of the television or computer. Depending on their reaction to the outcome, that may have been followed by either celebrations or a quick crawl under the covers.

But I spent the evening on a plane to Slovakia.

That seems a strange destination as winter approaches, but I was headed to an executive committee meeting of the International National Trusts Organisation (or INTO). We are being hosted by the National Trust of Slovakia in a meeting that will combine INTO internal work and outreach to this small but thriving member of the global family of National Trusts.

This is actually a two-part meeting, but the election kept me away from the first session. On November 3rd, London’s Canada House – home of the Canadian High Commission – hosted an event celebrating the opening of the INTO Secretariat in that city. INTO is a network of National Trusts and similar organizations from around the world, united by their common interest in the conservation and enjoyment of our intangible and tangible heritage – both cultural and natural.

INTO’s mission is

to promote the conservation and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world, which it aims to achieve through cooperation, coordination and comradeship between the international community of National Trusts, the development and promotion of best conservation practices, increasing the capacity of individual organizations, establishing Trusts where they do not presently exist, and advocacy in the interests of heritage conservation.

That’s an ambitious agenda. Yet it mirrors what we do every day here in America at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States (our official name). And it only makes sense – in this increasingly interconnected global environment – to work with like-minded colleagues from non-governmental organizations to both learn and share in the effort to save the places that matter in communities across the world.

As an INTO press release reported, top Australian environmental lawyer and Chairman of INTO Simon Molesworth, speaking at the Canada House event, stressed that National Trusts are well placed to deal with economic, environmental and social change in the 21st century.

“Many people think that National Trusts are primarily concerned with the past,” noted Molesworth. “In fact we have to understand the world around us today and although we can’t predict the future, we can explore the forces shaping change. This helps us to identify potential future unique opportunities for the National Trust movement.”

INTO was formed in 2007, at a time when built and natural heritage all over the world is under increasing threat from neglect, environmental change, conflict and disaster. But, as INTO’s Director of Finance Geoffrey Read noted, “Increased global trade, physical and digital connections and economic change are having a growing influence on Trusts and international cooperation – the sharing of experience and knowledge, making the best use of limited resources, avoiding duplication – is becoming ever more important. This is a great opportunity for the unique skills and mindset of the National Trust movement to broaden our contribution in support of the world’s marvelous living and built heritage.”

So over the next few days I’ll be reporting through PreservationNation on what we could call “PreservationInternational.” And if you want to learn more about this new organization called INTO, check out the newly launched web site. The electronic newsletters posted there are our first efforts to share the wealth of what the global National Trust community has to offer.


David J. Brown is Executive Vice President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.