by Jon Valalik (Photo Credit: Library of Congress)
Hello, and welcome to Old House 101! Today we’re talking about the great influence that George Washington had on Historic Preservation in the United States.
The practice of active historic preservation hasn’t always existed in the United States. By luck or circumstance, we do have a few samples from very early in American history, but it wasn’t until the mid 19th century that organized efforts began to seek out and save structures, monuments, and sites as memorials for important figures and educational tools for later generations. It’s no surprise, then, that one of the most important figures in the foundation of the United States was also, unintentionally, responsible for ushering into favor the idea of saving and showcasing these places.
George Washington left his mark all over the country, and monuments nationwide are a testament to his influence. Two of these sites can largely be credited for introducing the nation to what has now become a long tradition of historic preservation.