With the winter holiday rush closing in, I wanted to give you a quick update on an exciting recent accomplishment, reflect on our goals, and ask you to support our Annual Fund for the work ahead of us.

From the desk of Nicholas A. Redding

An Update

At Preservation Maryland, 2017 started off with a whirlwind of activity!

We held five town hall-style meetings where we sat down with our members, friends, and energized newcomers in January to listen and plan our strategy to achieve our upcoming legislative priorities. The meetings were held in every region of the state in partnership with our local colleagues from across Maryland in the historic preservation and environmental conservation fields.

Advocates heading to the Statehouse in Annapolis, 2017.

Advocates heading to the Statehouse in Annapolis, 2017.

Armed with a plan, in mid-February nearly 200 preservationist from across Maryland joined us for Maryland History Advocacy Day in Annapolis. We knocked on the doors of our delegates and senators in support of this year’s historic preservation legislative priorities. One of our priorities was to restore $200,000 in non-capital grant funding to support local preservation projects. We thought it was a modest goal since the money had been cut from the state budget a decade ago and never restored. Without it, all efforts to document historic properties at the local level were stalled.

With a huge lift from our allies in Annapolis, we got the funding restored!

Four months later, the other shoe dropped.

On an otherwise normal Thursday the last day of August, the Governor’s office announced that they planned to eliminate the $200,000 in historic preservation grants which we had just restored. The cut was to be part of a much larger $68 million package of cuts that were going to the Board of Public Works the following Wednesday. Because of the upcoming Labor Day holiday, the timing meant that there were only two working days between when the announcement was made and when the Board of Public Works would meet.

Some of our closest friends told us not to bother trying to fight the cut. “It is too late in the game” they said. “There is no hope.” While we always listen respectfully to our friends, we don’t always take their advice. Instead, we sounded the alarm! We sent the Action Alert to you and the other members of our network at 12:28pm on Friday, September 1, 2017, just hours before the start of the long weekend. We knew we had to at least try.

By the time the offices of state government reopened on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, over 1,200 emails had landed in the inboxes of the Governor, Comptroller, and Treasurer — the three voting members of the Board of Public Works. Throughout the day on Tuesday, the emails and phone calls kept coming. When the Board of Public Works gathered on Wednesday, September 6, the Governor had an announcement: the proposed cuts to the historic preservation programs had been rescinded.

We had won…again!

A Reflection

As exhilarating as this summer’s successes were, we need to remember that they were just the latest episodes in a long track record of civic engagement that has been saving Maryland’s historic treasures for generations. We need to keep reminding ourselves that it is never easy and the threats are always present. But we also need to remember that when we have worked together, we have racked up amazing successes for generations.

That message is embodied in The Architecture of Maryland poster that we recently released. The poster is the result of a project of two of our Waxter Interns, Michelle Eshelman and Carson Cameron, who set out in the summer of 2016 to create a sampling of some of the historic buildings that Preservation Maryland has helped to save. Carson did the research and Michelle created the illustrations.

Michelle drew dozens of Maryland buildings for our event banner, 2017.

Michelle drew dozens of Maryland buildings for our event banner, 2017.

Their project quickly mushroomed into a survey of the broad range of historic buildings that we all enjoy in Maryland. Each entry includes the name of the property, the year it was built, the county where it is located, the style of architecture represented, and what Preservation Maryland did to help save it. The first building represented on the poster is Clocker’s Fancy, started in 1658 in St. Mary’s County and an example of Early Manors and Plantation architecture. The poster’s last building is Comsat Laboratories, built in 1969 in Montgomery County and an example of the International style of architecture. Both are still standing due, in some measure, to Preservation Maryland’s support.

We encourage you to download a copy of the poster for yourself at presmd.org/poster. Remember, these illustrations represent only a small portion of the buildings Preservation Maryland has had a hand in saving!

Please look at the poster up close and if possible, print it, put it on a wall in your kitchen, frame it and put it in your office, make copies for your business associates, show it to your friends, family and children, use it as a teaching tool! Be creative as you spread the word that preserving Maryland’s history and architecture is something everybody should support.

When I saw the poster for the first time, I was awestruck. For me, it speaks to the power of what can be accomplished by a determined group of people who believe in historic preservation and it underscores the importance of our work which is to save the places and stories that make Maryland unique.

When I contemplate the breadth of our organization’s history and the magnitude of our task, I am both humbled and inspired. I hope you feel the same way.

Repairs taking place at Shafer Farm, 2017.

Repairs taking place at Shafer Farm, 2017.

Your Help For the Year Ahead

This brings me to the final reason I am writing to you. I am writing to ask you to make a year-end gift to help us continue our critically important work. The power of our supporters and donors cannot be overstated. Your support makes this organization’s successes possible every day of the year.

In the year ahead, with your support, we plan on:

  • Increasing our advocacy work in Annapolis
  • Distributing nearly $150,000 in grants across the state
  • Launching an innovative property redevelopment program
  • Laying the groundwork for a future preservation trades apprenticeship program

And, that’s in addition to our existing programs, Six-to-Fix projects, and the thousands of hours of technical assistance we currently provide.

If this level of activity impresses you, then I also want to encourage you to become one of our sustaining members who have pledged to support our work through a monthly gift. It is simple to do – you set the amount that you would like us to automatically charge your credit card every month. Your monthly gift continues until you change your pledge or ask us to stop.

As a sustaining member, your monthly pledge gives Preservation Maryland a predictable level of support. That way, when the need for fast action arises, we know that we can count on your support to help cover our unanticipated expenses – like those I’ve described in this update to you.

No matter how you want to give, either by a monthly gift or a single year-end donation, we are counting on you for support.

We have a lot of history to protect! Please help us continue this important work.

With pride in our past and faith in our future,
Nicholas A. Redding
Executive Director

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