In 1966, Congress founded the National Historic Preservation Act in order to protect resources that represent the culture, heritage and history of the United States. The National Register for Historic Places classifies important locations as archaeological sites, buildings, historic districts, objects or structures. The United States contains more than 90,000 registered historical sites. Periodically, destinations throughout the country undergo measures in order to maintain or renovate specific sites.
The Restoration Process
Before restoring any location, the level of preservation needed must be determined. The base level of preservation involves repairing existing structures in order to retain the site’s original form. Some destinations require rehabilitation, which involves altering or adding to the property in order to meet building codes while retaining the location’s historic value. Properties may require restoration in an effort to represent a particular period in time. Reconstruction might be required to recreate features or portions of a property that have been lost over time.
The process also requires that projects adhere to a number of standards, including:
- The property must be used in accordance with its historical relevance.
- The materials and overall features of the period must be retained and preserved. Materials, features, spaces and spatial relationships cannot be altered.
- The property must be recognized as a record of a specific place, time and use. Any construction required to consolidate, conserve or stabilize materials or features must be physically and visually compatible with existing structures. The work completed must be identified and documented.
- Archaeological finds must be preserved and protected to prevent damage.
Restoration also involves using the right paint color, trim work, glass, wood … etc. While the interior can be modernized, the exterior must reflect the time period of the structure. If you plan on adding new appliances or machines (e.g. large copiers), you must ensure the structure can support the weight. The fixtures should also match the time period. If the originals cannot be salvaged, you will need to use replicas.
There are a number of companies in your area that specialize in historic restoration of buildings and homes. It is best to utilize one to ensure you are following historic building regulations as well as building codes. As the world becomes more automated and modern, we must still make efforts to preserve our past. The restoration of historic structures is one way to do this.