The National Park Service defines historic preservation as “a conversation with our past about our future.” Historic preservation is an effective and beautiful way for us to tell our story of the past to future generations while providing a unique character for our community and economic incentives for development.
Clifton has a rich and long-standing culture of storytelling through historic preservation. Early residents understood the importance of sharing their stories and ways with those who would follow. Photographs, journals and documents, furnishings and clothing, and the many artifacts of daily life and celebrations from prehistoric times to recent years can be found in the public and private collections of Clifton’s storehouses of the past. These items have been carefully maintained and preserved for the generations that followed and provide a treasure trove of information and wonder.
Historic preservation is also central to the physical charm and vitality of the commercial and cultural districts. The presence of early architecture creates an authentic setting for today’s cultural and economic activity. These buildings and special spaces promote community spirit, a sense of belonging, and a connection to our past, present, and future.
The preservation of historic sites also serves as economic incentive for property investment and attracts tourism. Historic buildings are typically longer lasting than contemporary structures and frequently include unique, valuable materials and incredible craftsmanship in their design.
Frequently overlooked are the environmental benefits of preservation. Preserving old buildings is recycling on a grand scale. Energy and material resources are more efficiently used by repairing and reusing existing structures instead of building new ones. Preservation also reduces the waste and energy produced by demolition and new construction. By preserving and utilizing historic structures, communities conserve resources and protect their environment from the pollutants released from construction waste.
For more information on Clifton’s preservation community, resources, and activities, contact the Main Street Staff.