If this year’s Best of Maryland award winners teach us anything about preservation, perhaps it is that in order to achieve anything there must always be risk; that in order to be great we must defy the standard notion of what is possible and strive to realize the impossible.

We must dare to be great.

— Theodore Roosevelt

The idea that a small town would tackle the restoration of a historic Opera House and succeed – exactly what happened in Havre de Grace – is the kind of preservation pluck that our awards program was designed to highlight and honor.

Tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds seems to be common thread across the preservation spectrum. That tenacity can take on many forms; from proposing an incomprehensibly complex rehabilitation to engaging in bold legislative advocacy in the face of overwhelming odds. One often wonders what compels seemingly rational people to hurl themselves headlong into these kinds of projects. There is no simple or single answer – but the willingness of individuals to take on this complex work underscores the power of history and heritage. We are heart-drawn to our past; it speaks to us in many voices and for many reasons and compels us to take action.

Preservation Maryland staff and interns, 2018.

Preservation Maryland staff and interns, 2018.

Our job, as the statewide preservation organization is to help organize and support those who are taking on this work – those who are daring to be great. It’s a big job and one that is made more challenging every day, but it is a job that is only possible because of the sacrifices and efforts of grassroots preservationists in communities across the state. As we celebrate preservation month, we here at Preservation Maryland are celebrating our local partners who make our work possible and who are making history by saving history.

Meet all of the Awardees

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