My personal “MUST SAVE” list

Old Taylor Distillery (1)

Our stalwart Communications Committee Chair, Kate Scott, has a blog that we frequently highlight on our website because, frankly it’s just really good. Well I got an email from her the other day after her trip following the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky:

So I’ll have to fill you both in on the many details of our Bourbon Trail tour later, but one of the best things was stumbling upon this vacant distillery near Frankfork, KY. Even the water tower is crenelated! The whole place instantly shot to the top of my “MUST SAVE” list.

She fills in some more of the details on the distillery in her most recent blog post — “Watchlist: Old Taylor Distillery”. Her personal “MUST SAVE” list is what got me to thinking though, many preservation organizations across the country announce a list of their most endangered building each year. I’ll be honest, I scoffed a little but then I got to thinking about it, I would assume most people out there have a couple of properties that they would love to see saved.

I really wanted to know what criteria she had in place for bestowing such a prestigious honor on a building. When I asked Kate what they were she told me “it’s an intuitive thing, it’s just a feeling…something sort of just strikes you when you see the building”.

When we are trying to convince others of the value of preserving a historic building, we tend to cite the concrete reasons why reuse is the best option, i.e. cost effective, more sustainable, impact on the community. Admittedly, it’s near impossible to save a building if the economics aren’t in your favor, and there has been a fairly extensive process behind our annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Places lists. As an organization, we need to make sure that we are identifying places that are of value to an entire community, and that are feasible efforts for us—and local advocates—to undertake. But  sometimes it’s helpful to think about the places that just give you that overwhelming sense of “we have to save this building” and then come up with the concrete reasons to back up your feelings.

Our personal “MUST SAVE” lists can be a little more subjective.Think about it for a second: if you had to save just one place, what would it be? For some it’s the place that made you realize you were a preservationist; for others it might be a unique building in your neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be a building in clear and present danger.

My personal “MUST SAVE” list includes:

Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (Fergus Falls, MN) — There’s something about the RTC, I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s got this majesty to it.

Charity Hospital (New Orleans, LA)

Courtesy of Save Charity Hospital

Charity Hospital (New Orleans, LA) — I actually have a historic postcard of the building sitting on my desk at the PAM office and it is the building that made me realize that I was in fact a preservationist.

Quarry Chapel

Courtesy of Friends of the Quarry Chapel

Christ Church at the Quarry (near Gambier, OH) — This is a building that I drove by countless times in college, and yet, I have never really been able to get it out of my head. I’ll be going to visit and hopefully walk through it during my reunion this spring.

Maybe the best criteria really is whether or not the building strikes you when you see it (or think about it).

I’d love to hear what’s at the top of your list. Post it to our Facebook page (with a picture, if you have one) and let us know why in a sentence or two.

Will O’Keefe

Comments Closed