The Importance of Historic Preservation

November 5, 2023 | Ben White

Historic preservation is important for several reasons, as it plays a crucial role in maintaining the cultural, social, and economic vitality of a community. Here are some key reasons why historic preservation is important:

  1. Cultural Heritage: Historic downtown areas often hold significant cultural and architectural value. These areas can showcase the architectural styles, building techniques, and design elements of past eras, providing a tangible link to a community’s history. Preserving these structures help future generations understand and appreciate their cultural heritage.

  2. Sense of Place: Historic downtowns contribute to a community’s sense of place and identity. They are often the heart of a city or town, serving as a focal point for community activities, festivals, and events. The unique character of historic downtown areas set them apart from modern developments.

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  3. Tourism and Economic Development: Well-preserved historic downtowns can attract tourists, which in turn can boost the local economy. Visitors are often drawn to the charm and authenticity of historic districts, leading to increased spending on local businesses, hotels, and restaurants. This can create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

  4. Property Values: Historic preservation can enhance property values in the surrounding area. The charm and character of historic buildings can make them more desirable to live or invest in, which can lead to increased property values.

  5. Sustainability: Renovating and repurposing historic buildings can be more sustainable than demolishing them and constructing new ones. Preservation can reduce waste and the environmental impact associated with new construction. It also helps maintain a city’s density, which can contribute to more sustainable transportation options and reduced sprawl.

  6. Education and Interpretation: Historic downtown areas can serve as educational resources, offering opportunities to learn about the history, culture, and architecture of a region. Museums, interpretive signage, and guided tours can help educate both residents and visitors.

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  7. Cultural Tourism: Many travelers seek out authentic cultural experiences when they visit new places. Historic downtowns can become magnets for cultural tourism, attracting people interested in history, architecture, and local traditions.

  8. Unique Craftsmanship: Historic buildings often feature intricate craftsmanship and materials that are no longer commonly used in modern construction. Preserving these structures helps ensure that traditional building techniques and craftsmanship are not lost to history.

  9. Adaptive Reuse: Historic preservation often involves repurposing older buildings for new uses. This adaptive reuse can breathe new life into a community, offering spaces for businesses, art galleries, theaters, housing, and more while preserving the character of the original structures.


In November, Missouri Main Street Connection will be hosting a workshop on historic preservation- Echoes of the Past, Visions for the Future: The Vitality of Historic Preservation. This workshop will provide training on the following topics: preservation planning, preservation incentives and benefits, and identifying and designating historic resources. We would love for you to join us!

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