Reference book on Historic Preservation

I’m reminding folks of the Historic Preservation Symposium on May 27-28.
Chamber of commerce, county and city officials are encouraged to attend to learn about how historic preservation and recycling old buildings can contribute to your communities’ economic development by preserving character and good architecture.

Related to that there is a new edition of a book out that I wish I had had 10 years ago. It is an “all in one place” reference for those new to the idea of historic preservation – “Historic Preservation – An Introduction to its History Principles and Practice” (2nd Edition) by Norman Tyler.

It’s been my experience that the general public isn’t aware of the formal sense of historic preservation and if they are it is often immediately suspect because it is associated with possible extra costs plus restrictions on property rights and design. But the book discusses different perspectives and acknowledges different interpretations of how and what to preserve in adapting a community philosophy or policy.

The book is also a useful tool for learning about basic architectural styles. It discusses the distinction between preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction as well as tax credit possibilities and legalities involved.
When thinking of how to resist the temptation to immediately destroy old structures and cultural landscapes, the book provides basic facts about the process of recognizing historic places and preserving them. It provides a basis for considering alternative adaptive uses for property owners. Contact your local bookstore or ask the local library to purchase it.It would be a great review for the symposium.
Karen Prasse
President, League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations

Historic Preservation of Buildings, Places, Landscapes, Landmarks and Cultural Resources

The Places of the Past Digital Image Collection features digital images of local historic places of Snohomish County from the County courthouse to the Bryant corner store.
It also includes an article on how to find out about Tracing the History of a Home or Building
Below are the organizations and commissions involved in coordinating the preservation of these historic places.

For publications and help with preservation problems and projects like preserving wood windows, plaster walls, masonry, interior decoration, painting colors, seismic adaptations, landscapes, moisture problems, lead paint, preserving roofing materials, conserving energy etc., spend a little time searching the links below for assistance

Digital Resources Online

Looking for historical photos? or original primary source documents?
This list of online tools contains links to searchable digital collections of local and regional historical photographs, ephemera, documents, audio, video, newspapers and an ever-growing list of types of historical materials. Most cover Puget Sound and Western Washington but some cover the whole state. It is worth exploring the many databases for information related to your place or research topic.

Searching of League Member Websites using Google Custom Search

This searches a special subset of Google to find place names, events, road names, people, or any keyword. If a word is used on the website or one of the genealogical databases it will pop up in the custom google search of just Snohomish County history websites including the extensive collections maintained by the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society, photographs from Monroe, the League’s Women’s Legacy Project.

Oral History Interviews

We were at a history meeting recently and once again the subject of how to do oral interviews came up.  The need for personal points of view on community, regional and national events add depth to our interpretation of our local historical places and biographies.    As historians, we want to encourage oral histories as part our research but they are hard to arrange and it sometimes takes time to develop interviewing skills and relevant questions so the interviews stay focused.

There are a few books on the subject and there are more and more resources on the internet for suggestions.  The most comprehensive book readily available is “Doing Oral History – A Practical Guide”  by Donald A. Ritchie, available from both Everett and Sno-Isle Library systems.
The key points are to make sure you have permissions signed for the appropriate use of the interview, ie. can they be broadcast or published, used in exhibit captions, or just preserved.  And in spite of new digital technologies, it is always preferable to transcribe them, a daunting task for the casual interviewer.

The following resources might be helpful -

–Karen Prasse, League of Snohomish County Heritage Organizations