2014 marks Design*Sponge’s tenth year in our little corner of the internet (can you believe it??) and to celebrate, we’ve decided to give back—to our readers with ten months of fabulous giveaways and, starting today, to the community through donations to causes that we care deeply about. The month of January is oftentimes considered a time of starting anew—shedding the weight of the past and rebuilding our lives with fresh new perspective. Still, we firmly believe that, while new can sometimes be great, there is a lot to be said for celebrating and even maintaining the old. From the beautiful old houses that we feature in our Sneak Peeks to our DIYs and Before & Afters, reveling in and reusing the old has been part of the Design*Sponge ethos since the beginning. It is because of this that we have decided to focus this month’s donation on a cause that is integral to this idea—historic preservation.
In 1964, New York City’s Penn Station, a stunning 1910 structure that rivaled the world’s best train stations in terms of beauty and grandeur, was demolished to make way for Madison Square Garden. The shock of losing this architectural gem was a punch in the gut to the local (and even national) community and is considered by many to signal the beginning of the modern preservationist movement. This cultural tragedy proved that without the fighting support of the community and activist groups, even seemingly immortal treasures like Penn Station could be taken in the blink of an eye. Today, preservationist organizations exist in communities across the country and continue to fight the valiant fight to make sure such tragedies don’t occur—whether they be the destruction of major landmarks or small homes and neighborhoods that have become integral parts of the urban fabric. Through an emphasis on renovation and adaptive reuse, these groups strive to maintain the beauty of their communities’ histories for generations to come.
When choosing a preservationist organization to highlight, it was important to us to focus on the local level. After all, this is where the real battle for our country’s treasures is fought. After a search through some of our country’s most valiant and prolific local preservationist organizations, we decided to bestow our own donation onto Preservation Detroit, an organization that has been actively fighting to save and preserve landmarks in one of America’s most historic and endangered cities since 1975.
Preservation Detroit is Detroit’s oldest, largest, and most accomplished historic preservation organization. As the first Detroit recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Honor Award, we have been working to preserve and revitalize Detroit’s rich architectural and cultural heritage since 1975. Through education and advocacy, research and awareness, Preservation Detroit seeks to preserve the architectural elements that foster more livable urban environments that emphasize neighborhoods and benefit the people who live in them. A part of this mission includes the redevelopment of Detroit through the restoration and re-use of the irreplaceable buildings and historic neighborhoods that serve as anchors for stability of residential areas and catalysts for economic investment.
Although we decided to support Preservation Detroit and their exciting efforts to revitalize their beloved city, we urge you to check out your own local preservationist organizations. You can find lists of local and regional preservationist organizations at Preservation Directory and OldHouses.com. If your town doesn’t have its own preservation group, don’t hesitate to start one! It is small groups of passionate citizens that have made some of the biggest difference in our country’s preservation victories!