National Preservation Week is May 12-18

National Preservation Week is May 12-18 Citizens in South Dakota will join thousands of individuals around the country as a part of a nationwide celebration of the 31st annual National Historic Preservation Week from May 12-18.

"Preserving the Spirit of Place" is the theme of the weeklong celebration that has been sponsored annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1971. Every community has a spirit of place that identifies it as special and unique. It may be a building or a monument or a street, a public square or stretch of lakeshore or a view of distant mountains. It sets the community apart from every other. It attracts tourists, contributes to the area's stability and livability, and gives residents a sense of connection with their shared heritage.

To kick off the week, the Historic South Dakota Foundation will present its annual Historic Preservation Conference on May 10. The conference is held in Pierre. During the conference's Awards Banquet, it will present its annual preservation awards.

"Despite its importance in the social, cultural and economic life of the community, the spirit of place is easily destroyed," said National Trust President Richard Moe. "Older neighborhoods, rich in texture and character, start to decline. Familiar landmarks are allowed to deteriorate or are replaced by new buildings that fail to respect their historic setting. Scenic vistas are spoiled by insensitive development, and precious open space is devoured by sprawl. Uniqueness fades into anonymity. Every place starts looking like Anyplace, and eventually they all look like Noplace. Preservation Week 2002 calls on us to do all we can to recognize, save and enhance the irreplaceable features that give each community its distinctive character."

As part of the weeklong celebration, citizens nationwide will celebrate with alumni reunions, career days, pageants, workshops, clean-up days, rallies, re-enactments and home and garden tours. A complete list of events in South Dakota can be obtained from the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office in Pierre. Please call Jay Vogt at (605) 773-6003.

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