Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about Bartlett historical preservation.
The month of May is Preservation Month, when we celebrate the historic places, public lands, communities and cultural landmarks that make up our national identity.
They are our physical connection to the past, and they allow us the opportunity to experience America’s story firsthand. Well-known examples are Mount Vernon, Independence Hall and the Alamo. But historic preservation is about much more than saving old buildings and places. It’s about safeguarding and continuing to tell the diverse stories that define us as Americans – and passing on that appreciation to future generations.
The City of Bartlett has recognized the importance of preserving history and established the Bartlett Historic Preservation Commission. Appointed volunteers on the commission work hard to ensure these objectives are met:
- Protect, enhance and perpetuate resources that represent distinctive and significant elements of the city’s historical,cultural, social, economic, political, archaeological and architectural identity
- Ensure the harmonious, orderly and efficient growth and development of the city
- Strengthen civic pride and cultural stability through neighborhood conservation
- Stabilize the economy of the city through the continued use, preservation and revitalization of its resources
- Promote the use of resources for the education, pleasure and welfare of the people of the city
- Provide a review process for the preservation and development of the city’s resources
The commission has a public meeting on the third Monday of the month and welcomes visitors. One of our most important missions is recognizing local landmarks and putting a marker up. Landmarks are defined as “a building, property, or object that has a special character or special historic or aesthetic interest or value as part of the development, heritage, or cultural characteristics” of the City of Bartlett.
Bartlett has more than two dozen landmarks, including individual, interior, exterior, scenic landmarks and the Historic District.
This year, the commission would like to introduce some new events to assist in saving our history. We plan to conduct bi-annual workshops/information sessions for the public on historic preservation resources.
As one of the founders of the Bartlett Historical Society, Elva Talbot Bledsoe, once said, “… you can’t keep tearing these old houses down. We’ve got to have some old places to remember what Bartlett used to be like.”
The commission is also looking to distribute welcome kits to new homeowners and renters in the Historic District. These kits will help to strengthen civic pride and cultural stability through neighborhood conservation by continuing to educate new homeowners and renters in the Historic District. Otherwise, the City of Bartlett faces potential future losses of historical homes through neglect.
Whether it’s repurposing old buildings in innovative ways or helping a new generation of Americans learn history, places matter because of the people who walked there, dreamed there, triumphed there and even died there. Places matter because we can still draw inspiration from them today.
Historic preservation isn’t about treating sites as places only to be admired from a distance; it’s about keeping them alive, in active use and relevant to today’s needs. It also spurs investment and job creation. Preservation brings people together, across our communities and the nation.
In the next article in this series, you will get to learn more about some of the landmarks of Bartlett. For more information on our landmarks, visit https://www.cityofbartlett.org/88/Historic-Preservation-Commission and click on “historical landmarks.”
Written by Kevin Quinn, special to the Express.