It's been far too long since we blogged -- we'd actually like to think that Mr. Alcott would have been a real fan of this Internet feature had it existed in his time!
We have stayed nicely busy through the Fall and Winter, and are grateful that Spring is finally looking as if it is here to stay. The trees are leafing out, daffodils are popping into golden yellow bloom along our fence posts, and the birds and woodland creatures are foraging for nesting material, so a new generation is not far off in coming ...
Today we are hosting a group photo opportunity in support of "Saving America's Treasures Week." Sponsored by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, events around the country at a variety of the 1,100 Official Projects of Save America's Treasures are intended to raise awareness of the worth and vital need for continuation of preservation programs. As you may already know, the proposed 2011 Federal budget completely eliminates funding for Save America's Treasures as well as Preserve America, and cuts in half funding for National Heritage Areas.
Back in 1999, Orchard House was designated an Official Project of Save America's Treasures and, as such, we were most fortunate (nay, blessed) to be able to apply for and receive a $400,000 grant to begin the most intense preservation work ever undertaken in our site's [then] nearly 90-year history. This "seed money" rescued Orchard House from certain destruction by enabling us to build the first-ever foundation under the back half of the House (largely constructed by hand and while we were still open to the public) and correct massive structural abnormalities that had, of financial necessity, only been addressed before by stop-gap measures. Because of the imprimatur of this highly competitive grant, we were also able to leverage a triple-match of our $400,000 award and fund $1.5 million of Phase I preservation!
As grateful as we are for this, the influence and impact of Save America's Treasures reaches far beyond Orchard House. In Massachusetts alone over the past 10 years, Save America's Treasures has poured more than $16 million into preserving and restoring historic sites and icons and revitalizing historic downtowns. Nationwide, 16,000 jobs have been created and $377 million in additional public/private funding has been leveraged. Those statistics make Save America's Treasures quite "the economic stimulus engine that could"!
Now, as Save America's Treasures is fighting for its very own existence, we are privileged to be part of the effort to convince Congress to reinstate funding for this worthy and highly effective program. Even if you can't physically join us for the photo today, please consider making your support heard by your Congressional representatives. The National Trust website has an easy on-line form that will communicate your sentiments to the appropriate members of Congress for your area; please visit www.preservationnation.org to submit your response. Also, forwarding this information to your family, friends, and colleagues this week (while Congress is in Easter Recess and actively listening to their constituents!) will help enormously.
Thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer, and may you all enjoy a beautiful Spring!