Another year has come to a close and another is set to begin. Perhaps that it why this time of year causes us to reflect more, remember past experiences and share them with those around us. In light of that mood and the holiday spirit, the staff at PM wanted to share with you how we each came to be interested in historic preservation. The inspiration may have come from a person, a building or just a fascination with history that ultimately lead us all to be active in preservation. I hope you enjoy this festive Our Commonwealth and hope you find some inspiration too during this festive season.
Anulfo Baez, Office Manager
One of my favorite things as a student has always been going on class fieldtrips. Visiting sites like Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village and the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island sparked my interest in architectural history and preservation which led me to Preservation Massachusetts. Recently, I completed a seminar on Boston architecture which took me all over the city and its surrounding neighborhoods, igniting a renewed appreciation for the fabric of Boston and its multicultural threads. My passion for nurturing a dialog of multiculturalism and preservation has kept me in the field.
Michele Barker, Circuit Rider
As a writer, I think my interest in historic preservation comes out of my love for storytelling and my fascination with puzzles and mysteries. I love discovering how people’s stories-their beliefs, aspirations, and struggles-are embodied in the places that they built and in which they lived, worked, and played. I like the way in which historic preservation can give a voice to those who were once considered too unimportant to have their stories written down. I also love the nitty-gritty detective work of sorting out the clues to untangle those stories and make sense of what’s been left behind.
Dorr Fox, Circuit Rider
My interest in historic preservation is an outgrowth of my interest in city planning. When I was a small boy and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would always say a city planner. I always considered historic preservation to be an integral part of planning and an essential tool for economic development and healthy communities. It was the primary field that intersected with city planning that I was interested in. As a teenager, I was always interested in exploring new places and historic buildings. As I became older, I never seriously considered another career option and am still fascinated by planning and historic preservation.
Jim Igoe, President
I always had a fascination with history. At age 14, a family friend purchased a circa 1700 historic farm complex in West Brookfield, MA. The original King’s Grant of the property was made to a grandson of Peregrine White, the Pilgrim child who was born on the Mayflower as it sat anchored in Plymouth Harbor. For the next two years, I was invited to take part in the meticulous restoration of the property. Experiencing the research and the actual hands-on renovation of the property as it became the Salem Cross Inn was a wonderful and exciting opportunity for a teenage boy. This experience as well as a hobby of refinishing antique furniture developed a passion and love for historic properties that has continued my entire life.
Erin Kelly, Assistant Director
Everything started with my Grandmother. She lived in my mother’s family homestead in the scenic seaside town of Fairhaven and my childhood was made up of walks around the historic town center with its beautiful buildings, hearing stories of ship builders and sea captains who once lived in the large houses that lined the waterfront. In her old and dusty attic I had more fun playing with “antiques” than watching TV and imagined what life was like in the “olden days”. I explored hidden closets and rooms, feeling the history of my family embedded in the walls of the house and always wanted to learn more. She is the reason I am passionate about preservation and history and especially during this time of year I think of her often and thank her for being such an inspiration.
Steve Moga, Circuit Rider
Steve got his start in preservation as a board member of the American Swedish Institute, a cultural center located in the historic Turnblad Mansion in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A few years later he interned with an economic development corporation in the historic Dunbar Hotel, once a bustling meeting place that stood at the heart of the Central Avenue jazz district in South Los Angeles. Little did he know then that these experiences would lead him to the historic preservation profession and academic research at MIT on the history of the built environment of American cities.