Monday, April 29, 2013

Partners in Preservation: Get Out the Vote!

Subscribers to my Twitter and Facebook feeds have likely seen reference to the "Partners in Preservation" competition. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express have teamed up to award preservation grants to deserving sites in the DC area. According to the Partners in Preservation website:
Since 2006, American Express has made grants worth $9 million through Partners in Preservation, helping historic places in seven cities to date, including San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, Saint Paul/Minneapolis and New York, and has engaged more than a million people. The program will award an additional $1 million in grants to historic places in Washington, D.C. in May 2013.
The public is now being asked to vote for the site that is deemed most worthy of preservation dollars. All you have to do is go to the program's website and register. You don't need to be a resident of the DC area either; only a passion for history and preservation is required! By registering, you can "earn points for the participating historic places by voting online and via mobile, sharing with friends on Twitter, checking in on Foursquare and posting photos on Instagram." The voting closes on May 10, 2013. At the end of the competition, the site with the most points will secure its full grant request up to $100,000. Moreover, "a Partners in Preservation advisory committee comprised of Washington-area civic and preservation leaders will recommend how the remainder of the preservation grants will be awarded to the other participating sites." The winner and additional grantees will be announced on May 13.

There are twenty-four historic sites in DC, Maryland, and Virginia that were selected for the competition. (See here for the complete list.) They cover nearly all eras of U.S. history. The Civil War-related sites of interest include Robert E. Lee's Arlington House, Clara Barton's Missing Soldiers Office, and the Antheneum in Alexandria. I am supporting Colvin Run Mill in Great Falls, Virginia, which was built in 1811 near the Leesburg-Alexandria Turnpike (today's VA-7). I've previously written about the history of the mill during Civil War. (See here.) Many soldiers of both armies passed by this structure as they traveled along the strategic turnpike and the surrounding roads. Today the mill is preserved and maintained by the Fairfax County Park Authority. I really like this site, which is a picturesque reminder of Virginia's 19th-century past. So what would Colvin Run Mill do with the money? According to the mill's website:
For the past four decades, only the basement and first floor of the Fairfax County mill have been open to the public. Colvin Run Mill would use the prize money to fully restore the second and third levels, complete with functioning equipment to dry and sift flour and meal the old-fashioned way.
Colvin Run Mill (courtesy of Pepper Watkins and Partners in Preservation)
The Partners in Preservation program is a unique way of getting the public involved in a very noble cause. I am glad to serve as a "Blogger Ambassador" for Partners in Preservation. I'd urge you to go on-line and register to participate. And of course, be sure to support Colvin Run Mill too!

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