5 Groups Preserving The History Of States & Regions Throughout The U.S.

Historic neighborhoods and buildings around the United States are often at risk of being demolished, either for new construction to take place or because they are in serious disrepair. Luckily, many groups exist to preserve and protect culturally significant places that make cities and states unique for future generations to enjoy. This list, presented in no particular order, highlights a few of them.

Kicking off our list at #1 is Preservation Virginia, a privately-funded, statewide historic conservation organization founded with the goal of ensuring the relevancy of the commonwealth’s historic places. Its Tobacco Barns Preservation Program was created to raise awareness of Virginia’s rural history.

With the intention of rescuing historical sites that are in disrepair, the organization publishes Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places list. The resource is meant to raise awareness of Virginia’s culturally significant sites and encourage citizens, localities, and organizations to advocate for protecting and preserving these places.

Next up, at #2, we have Historic New England. This organization works to preserve and share centuries of New England heritage through collections, archives, education programs, and more. It operates dozens of historic properties open to the public.

HNE offers various school and youth education programs that use historical resources to reinforce student learning. Its summer enrichment program gives children ages 9 to 13 the opportunity to care for, handle, and interact with farm animals while discovering the history of the 230-acre Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, a national landmark.

Coming in at #3 is Preservation New Jersey, a statewide member-supported nonprofit. PNJ works to promote the economic vitality, sustainability, and heritage of the Garden State's diverse communities and historic sites through advocacy and education.

The organization publishes the annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey list, which is meant to draw attention to significant sites and their many challenges. It also advocates for policies at the local, state, and federal levels on behalf of the historic preservation community.

The #4 entry is the New York Landmarks Conservancy, dedicated to preserving, revitalizing, and reusing New York's architecturally significant buildings. Its City Ventures Fund offers grants and loans to nonprofit developers of affordable housing and other services that benefit lower-income communities in non-landmark, architecturally relevant buildings.

The organization's Sacred Sites Program, one of the first initiatives in the country to assist landmark religious properties, provides loans, grants, and technical assistance throughout the state. In addition, the program hosts regular workshops to help congregations with everything from energy conservation to fundraising.

Last but not least, at #5, we have the Historic Wilmington Foundation. The mission of this North Carolina-based nonprofit is to preserve and protect culturally significant sites in New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties. With the establishment of a revolving fund and a preservation easement program, the foundation has saved over one hundred historic properties from demolition.

One of its projects is Tar Heels Go Walking, a partnership with NHC Schools that produces a cultural and architectural tour of downtown Wilmington for area 3rd graders. The children learn about the city's history as they are guided past notable structures such as Thalian Hall, concluding their tour at the Wilmington 1898 Monument.