Washington, D.C.–Three of the first 11 Preserve America Steward programs and three Preserve America Communities were recognized at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Chairman’s Reception on May 13, 2009.
The stewards program is the most recent addition to the larger Preserve America effort. It honors exemplary volunteer efforts to care for and interpret historic resources around the country. The first 11 designations were announced in January 2009. The three stewards honorees that were in attendance at the today’s reception were the following:
- InfoAge Science-History Center, Camp Evans Historic District, Wall Township, New Jersey
- United States Lighthouse Society, Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse near Annapolis, Maryland
- Passport In Time (PIT) program, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture
Accepting on behalf of the InfoAge Science-History Center were two of its many outstanding volunteers, Ray Chase and Steve Goulart. The InfoAge Science-History Center is key to ensuring the continued preservation of Camp Evans, site of a pre-World War I Marconi Wireless Transmitting Station. It was also home to other important advances in the development of modern communications and electronics. Since the facility’s closure by the Army, center volunteers have worked to ensure its protection during transfer from federal ownership, to rehabilitate its buildings and grounds, and to interpret its rich history to the public.
Accepting on behalf of the United States Lighthouse Society was Henry Gonzalez, vice president and lighthouse manager. In 2004, the United States Lighthouse Society entered into a 90-year lease for the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark that is located about 1-1/2 miles offshore in the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis, Maryland. Since then, volunteers have done everything from window restoration to lead paint abatement as part of building rehabilitation. Volunteers also conduct research and serve as docents for public tours.
Accepting on behalf of the PIT program were Joel Holtrop, deputy chief, National Forest System, USDA Forest Service; and Jill Osborn, National PIT program coordinator. Volunteers in the PIT program work in national forests on historic preservation projects such as archaeological excavation and survey, historic structure restoration, and analysis and curation of artifacts. Since the program’s inception in 1989, more than 29,000 volunteers have contributed time valued at over $21 million. Other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, have also started to partner with PIT to further increase volunteer opportunities.
To date, 736 Preserve America communities have been designated in all 50 states and one U.S. territory, including 17 neighborhoods and three tribal communities. The three Preserve America Communities recognized at today’s reception were Baltimore, College Park, and Rockville, Maryland.
Representing Baltimore was Baltimore Heritage Area Director Jeffrey Buchheit. The Inner Harbor of Baltimore was “discovered” in 1608, but the Port of Baltimore was founded in 1706. Baltimore’s mills led world production and export of flour in the early days of the American republic. Baltimore and its Fort McHenry will forever be associated with the Star Spangled Banner. The National Road, the nation’s first congressionally-authorized interstate road, and the B&O Railroad, propelled Baltimore’s growth from the harbor to become the nation’s second-most populous city in the mid-1800s. Between 1830 and 1917 Baltimore also became the nation’s second busiest port of entry for new immigrants after New York. Baltimore’s designated historic districts include 71 neighborhoods comprising more than 56,000 properties, and recently a significant portion of the city was designated a National Heritage Area by Congress.
Representing College Park was Advisory Planning Commission Member Timothy Dennée. College Park is located in nearby Prince George’s County. The city is perhaps best known as the site of the University of Maryland as well as the National Archives & Records center. U.S. Route 1 was constructed on the main north-south stagecoach route that existed in colonial times, as well as along the original Baltimore & Ohio railroad line. The College Park Airport is the oldest continuously operated airport in the nation, dating to the Wright Brothers period, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Town College Park Historic District is a good example of the residential subdivisions that emerged as the suburbs of Washington, D.C., expanded with the advent of the streetcar and the automobile.
Representing Rockville was Historic District Commission Chairman Max van Balgooy. Rockville dates to the Colonial period when it was a crossroads hamlet along the “great road” between Georgetown and Frederick. Montgomery County was created in 1776, and the crossroads became the site of the county courthouse. The town was surveyed in 1801 and named Rockville because of its proximity to Rock Creek. Incorporated in 1860, Rockville became a summer resort and retreat from steamy Washington. In the late 19th century it developed into a rail and streetcar suburb, with many fine examples of the era’s architecture. Walking and cycling tours through “Explore Rockville” include an African American heritage tour. The city of Rockville also has received a Preserve America Grant to update the city’s Historic Building Inventory.
Updated May 28, 2009