May 22, 2015

Old Places Matter to North Carolinians

Note: Tom Mayes' popular Why Do Old Places Matter? series is now available as a book Why Old Places Matter. Order the book today.

Tom Mayes grew up in North Carolina and attended college and law school there. If you have been reading his blogs “Why Do Old Places Matter?” you would know already about his love for the state and its historic places. As he sets out his reasons for why old places matter, North Carolina’s older and historic places are ever present in his reflections.

Mayes writes about the sense of community he felt at an old white frame Ramah church; he writes about better understanding religious tolerance at Old Salem; and he writes about the craftsmanship of mantels and newel posts in an old house near his childhood home in Caldwell Station.

Another North Carolinian, Myrick Howard, is also passionate about old places in the state—not surprisingly, Mayes was an intern for Howard way back when. Howard, president of Preservation North Carolina, gave a speech last year commemorating the 75 anniversary of the organization. In his talk, Howard touches on many of the themes that Mayes identifies in his essays. But he is also very clear about why historic preservation and old places matter to him and to his organization—with an orientation that focuses on real estate.

Ramah Presbyterian Church and Cemetery, Huntersville, N.C. | Credit: Thompson Mayes

Under this overarching theme, Howard sets out his 10 reasons for why historic preservation matters to North Carolina. He reminds us that old places contribute to a shared cultural heritage, that they were built to last and are constructed of quality materials, that they are sustainable, and that they provide a tangible link to history.

Whether you are preserving an old mill in Maine, a fire station in Florida, a school in Oregon, or a farmhouse in Kentucky, Howard’s reasons will resonate with you and preservationists everywhere. What would you put on your own list of reasons? Read the full speech here (PDF).

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.

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