Editorial: Preservation ... priceless!

  • Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Sunday, October 14, 2012 6:27 p.m.

OctoberTour 2012 is different, though. The meticulous restoration of the chateau-like Hambley-Wallace House appears to be drawing record crowds. For that, foundation officials can thank owners Lee and Mona Lisa Wallace.
Coincidentally - and of even greater significance - Historic Salisbury Foundation is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. And for that, we can thank a legion of far-sighted volunteers who decided in 1972 it was time for action if Salisbury was to save its history. They formed Historic Salisbury Foundation and set into motion a cultural movement.
Since then, preservation has spread well beyond Historic Salisbury Foundation here. Of the 50 Rowan County homes and districts on the National Register of Historic Places, some 20 of them are scattered across the rural countryside, from Back Creek Presbyterian Church in Mount Ulla to the George Mathias Bernhardt House near Rockwell. The value of preservation clearly caught on.
And not a moment too soon, especially in the city. Many of the majestic homes that line Fulton and Ellis streets today looked quite different in the 1970s, cut up into apartments and well on the road to decline, their uniformly white exteriors faded and peeling.
Historic Salisbury Foundation sparked a revival that has saved neighborhoods and enhanced the city's reputation. Fittingly, the foundation passed out well-deserved awards at its 40th Anniversary Gala recently, with special honors going to Carolyn Hurley, Edward Clement and the late Virginia Wallace for their constant support.
Even history moves forward, though, and that may be Historic Salisbury Foundation's greatest challenge. Speaking at the group's annual meeting in the spring, Rob Crawford IV encouraged members to connect with new people and new buildings to help the foundation move into the future. Nonprofit foundations such as HSF remain the best conduit for getting everyone to the table on preservation, he said.
Now that it has honored its 40-year past, how will Historic Salisbury remain relevant to future generations? How will it avoid being stuck in time?
Those are questions for the entire community to discuss. In the meantime, the homeowners, organizers and countless volunteers who put together this year's tour deserve thanks for making OctoberTour 2012 an obvious success. They have put Salisbury's best foot forward. Good luck to them as Historic Salisbury Foundation steps into the future.

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