Preserving our past as a duty

by Sydney Franklin


"So it is no wonder than an interest in historic preservation surfaces in earnest in the early part of the twentieth century, in the swirling midst of these other developments...

It is our increasing lack of access to a familiar world that has generated a hunger for the sight and touch of a gritty reality that old buildings provide–and not impenetrably preserved, bionic old buildings–but buildings that have registered the imprint of the passage of time. Old buildings that are a time line, old buildings that are real...

The technology ability to build 100-story buildings on every square inch of the face of the earth – whether it be Madison Avenue, Times Square, or the plains of Kansas – is not necessarily a mandate to do so... In a sense, then, historic preservation represents a desire to reduce this power to a possibility rather than an inevitability."

- Adele Chatfield-Taylor, founder of New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation