St. Augustine Recognized for Preserving City’s History

Posted on May 21, 2012 by in History of St. Augustine, Home, Tourism

On the heels of being named as one of the “Top 10 Prettiest Towns” by Forbes Magazine, St. Augustine has made the list of top 10 US cities that have invested in preserving their historic character.

The nation’s oldest city ranks number 5 among the 10 cities honored by Livability.com, a self-described “comprehensive online resource on more than 500 of America’s Best Places to live, visit, work, play and explore”.

Leading the pack was Charleston, SC, followed by Savannah, GA. Other cities mentioned were Pueblo, CO, Franklin TN, and Santa Fe, NM.

“Our historic buildings are a core value to our city,” St. Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline is quoted as saying. “It’s why a lot of people move here. It’s what we’re most identified with, our Spanish Colonial architecture.”

St. Augustine was noted for the 37 properties on the National Register of Historic Places (including districts), and for historic landmarks: the Ponce de Leon Hall at Flagler College (1888), Castillo de San Marcos (1695), Old St. Johns County Jail (1891), and the Bridge of Lions (1927)

To read the full write-up on St. Augustine and read about the efforts by other cities to protect their heritage, click http://livability.com/top-10/top-10-cities-for-historic-preservation-/st.-augustine/fl.

“[Cities that preserve historic structures] are very pedestrian friendly because of how they were designed,” says Barbara Pahl, vice president for western field offices at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “They are more sustainable, hold a high aesthetic value and environmental value. We’ve learned that communities like these have an economic factor. These are places people want to be in. People want to visit them. People want to move back into these areas.”

Pahl added that historic preservation is “good for your soul” and the environment.

Other observations on historic preservation from Liveability.com:

It’s not a new way of thinking. The idea of preserving historic buildings and a city’s foundational essence goes back hundreds of years. What has changed is the sense of urgency that residents and city leaders across the country now have about keeping their towns from looking like every other town.

Many cities face increasing pressure to tear down old schools, factories and homes to make way for more modern structures. But there are communities that have challenged the notion that “new is better” and strive to keep the look and feel that drew residents to their towns in the first place.

Before setting out to identify the best cities for historic preservation, Liverability.com said it consulted with experts in the field, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “They helped us develop criteria to measure how well cities have done. We looked for cities that have a large number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places, offer incentives for maintaining and rehabilitating historic structures, and have active preservation groups. We also considered cities on the cusp of achieving great success by reinvesting in their historic areas. What we found were places where residents and government officials have demonstrated a commitment to protecting historic buildings and, to a greater extent, what makes their cities unique”.

“[Cities that preserve historic structures] are very pedestrian friendly because of how they were designed,” says Barbara Pahl, vice president for western field offices at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “They are more sustainable hold a high aesthetic value and environmental value. We’ve learned that communities like these have an economic factor. These are places people want to be in. People want to visit them. People want to move back into these areas.”

Pahl added that historic preservation is “good for your soul” and the environment.

From Santa Fe, NM, home to the oldest government building in the country, to Charleston, SC. which has the oldest preservation group, the cities on this list are all focused on stimulating their economies and raising the quality of life for their residents by protecting their past.

Click here for an interview with Theresa Segal, president of Save Our Bridge, who was instrumental in the drive to preserve the Bridge of Lions:
http://blog.preservationnation.org/2012/05/23/25-years-of-the-11-most-endangered-list-st-augustines-bridge-of-lions/

   

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2 Responses to “St. Augustine Recognized for Preserving City’s History”

  1. John 21 May 2012 at 5:58 pm #

    Great place to live , and our beach is just so PERFECT , it really doesn’t get the write ups that it should :) )

  2. Marko 22 May 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Except the powers that be gave all the Historic buildings away ! Gave them to them back to the State ! UF is the new steward of the properties…. Good move huh?


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