Historic preservation primer available from HPD

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

Preservation planning is important. Careful preservation planning means knowledge about important historical and archaeological resources are part of the planning process.

Here’s why we identify and conserve such resources:

HPD Preservation Primer 2011 cover

Historic buildings, structures, and sites are tangible evidence of our shared history and bring history to life in ways that no written or audiovisual materials ever could. They are valuable, non-replaceable resources and contribute to a sense of place. They help make one location different from another in unique and tangible ways. In addition, historic resources reinforce the lessons of history while strengthening cultural identity. They provide a framework for ongoing land development and add variety to everyday surroundings. They also represent an enormous investment of time, energy, and materials—resources that should be wisely used and conserved. As the physical environment continues to change, it is becoming even more important to look for ways to conserve resources; one important way is to utilize existing buildings. Furthermore, preserved historic properties continue to be used for productive service in the community, either for the use for which they were originally intended or for adaptive reuse.

The above paragraph is from page x of the Georgia Historic Preservation Division’s Preservation Primer: A Resource Guide for Georgia, which was released in late October 2011 (find it in PDF form online here).

The processes for protecting archaeological resources are similar to those for historical resources, which are the focus of the Preservation Primer. On pages 6–7, under the heading “What about Archaeology? Preserving Archaeological Properties,” the Primer notes:

Your community may have important archaeological properties that can be considered and protected using the same preservation planning tools available for historic structures. The Georgia Historic Preservation Act that enables local governments to enact preservation ordinances allows for these ordinances to include the preservation of archaeological properties as well. You may want to investigate whether there are significant archaeological properties in your community by checking with HPD’s Archaeology Section or asking your local government officials to consult with the Georgia Archaeological Sites [sic] File at the University of Georgia (UGA). In addition, HPD’s grant programs such as the Georgia Heritage grants and Historic Preservation Fund grants may be used to survey and protect archaeological properties.

Local governments can also enact ordinances that deal specifically with archaeological properties. For example, Bartow County has an ordinance in place that requires applications for land disturbance permits in the Etowah Valley Historic District to carry out an archaeological survey of the property (Article VII. Section 7.17.1-12). In addition, communities can partner with historic or archaeological societies, universities, and state or federal agencies to carry out archaeological projects and provide educational opportunities. However, it is important to remember that archaeological research requires professional expertise in archaeology and is usually much more expensive to carry out than a historic resources survey.

Follow this link and take a look at HPD’s Preservation Primer, then think about threatened historical and archaeological resources in your community; then, get to work with your neighbors and friends to obtain more legal protections for those resources.

Sections of the Preservation Primer will help you identify historic properties, evaluate them, and develop local preservation planning strategies. Protection can come from the legal framework in the Georgia Historic Preservation Act of 1980 (44-10-20/31), which “establishes uniform guidelines for local governments in adopting local historic preservation ordinances, starting a historic preservation commission, and designating historic properties” (page 62 of the Primer). The Preservation Primer also lists sources for financial assistance.

It’s your community. You are concerned about its resources. Now get going and help protect them.