First Annual National Park Service Historic Preservation Conference
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The Historical Preservationists gathered in Boston with mixed feelings of hope and despair. Their despair bordered on bitterness for they have seen the conditions of the historical resources under the administration of the National Park Service. They have seen adobe walls crumbling, sills of buildings hollow from dry rot, and structures that have toppled in on themselves. Their hope emanated from the fact the Service now had a Director who said in clear terms that our historical resources were in poor condition and badly needed attention. Director Gary Everhardt's message was re-emphasized by the Deputy Director Russ Dickenson by not only his presence but also his words.

The attendees at the conference represented a broad spectrum of the preservation community in the Service. Included in the group were the Deputy Director, two Regional Directors, several Associate Regional Directors, superintendents of historical parks, historians, archeologists and historical architects. All the major offices engaged in historical preservation were represented.

The one central theme that came out of the meeting, and the one on which everyone agreed, was that the Service had a major problem in the preservation of the historic structures, ruins, and objects entrusted to its care. Recommendations for action on the problems was discussed by the group and they were transmitted to the Director in a memorandum immediately after the meeting ended. A copy of that memorandum is appendixed to these papers.

The meeting generally was a most open one, with give and take discussion on each topic surfaced. The papers presented at the meeting are printed herewith and indicate the broad range of topics under discussion. Some participants had written papers, and those papers are reproduced here in full. Several participants did not have written presentations, and the remarks of some of them are summarized from tape recordings of the meetings.

The principal achievement of the First Annual National Park Service Conference on Historic Preservation was to bring together for the first time representatives of the Service's preservation community to delineate problems in preservation. It is hoped that the 2nd Annual Conference, which is to be held in Santa Fe in the spring of 1976, will bring into sharper focus major problems in preservation and offer solutions to them for National Park Service management to consider.

F. Ross Holland, Jr.

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Last Updated: 14-Jul-2009