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How to Rescue a Historic Building

How to Rescue a Historic Building

This checklist will tell you how to rescue a beautiful and historically important building from demolition.


Contact your state’s historical society, or historic preservation office.

See if the building is on the the National Register of Historic Places (or other protected status.

What makes the building or place significant? Is the architecture unusual or special? Did a famous person live there? Did an important event take place there?

Is it threatened with demolition or with remodeling that would completely change the appearance? If demolition is the threat, check to see if your community has a demolition delay ordinance that will slow or halt the destruction.

Sometimes “adaptive reuse” can be worked out. This is where a historic building can be successfully converted to office, residential, or retail use without altering the appearance very much.

(local historical societies, preservation organizations, government agencies) and join forces with them. Often a variety of people, not just preservationists, will help if they believe in your cause.

They will make sure that the building is not being allowed to deteriorate so that the landlord can legally tear it down.

Write a letter to the editor of our daily newspaper to help convince the public that the house is worth saving.