Celebrate community history during National Historic Preservation Month

For immediate release May 8, 2007


Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

(DES MOINES) – A day-long symposium of historic preservation topics and award presentations will highlight May as National Historic Preservation Month.

Celebrate Community History Day is 8 a.m.-3:15 p.m. May 21 at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines’ Historic East Village. Created in 1995 with the 10-year anniversary of the Certified Local Government Program, this annual event recognizes Iowa’s varied and important historic properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 and a variety of awards presentations and workshops.

Registration is $18 per person by May 11; or $30 after May 11 and at the door. Each registration includes lunch and two workshops. The event is sponsored by the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance. Call 515-281-5111 to register.

At the event, registration and a continental breakfast begin at 8 a.m. with the Recognition and Awards Ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in the auditorium. A buffet lunch and individual awards will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the atrium. Workshops will follow in the afternoon with two sessions 1-2 p.m. and 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Awards will be presented in the following categories: 2006 National Register of Historic Places, Outstanding Preservation Practices, Certified Local Government, Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance’s Best of Preservation, Barn Again!, National History Day Kids Count!, Benjamin F. Shambaugh, Loren Horten and Peterson Harlan. The first 150 National Register listings in Iowa also will be recognized during the event.

This year’s workshops are:

  • Care & Feeding of Your National Register Property – Ralph Christian, SHSI Historian
    Learn how to keep your property’s historic character and integrity through appropriate maintenance and rehabilitation.
  • Tax Credit Incentives Overview – Jack C. Porter, SHSI Preservation Consultant
    The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) administers the Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program, and participates in the certification process for the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives and county Historic Property Tax Exemption programs. All of these programs encourage the reuse of historic properties while retaining their character-defining features. Ultimately, each of these programs contributes to the revitalization and preservation of historic properties across the state. Multiple program use encouraged
  • Historic Sites Program Grant (HSPG) – Kathy Gourley, Grants Manager
    A funding opportunity to help your community’s historic properties. The Historic Site Preservation Grant (HSPG) program provides funds to acquire, repair, rehabilitate, and develop properties that preserve Iowa’s history and heritage. Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and American Indian tribes are eligible to apply. The next grant deadline is September 14, 2007. Come to this workshop to learn more about the HSPG program.
  • Great Places – Johanna Maska, Iowa Great Places Program Planner
    “Great Places” is designed to make good places great by bringing together the resources of state government to build capacity in communities, regions, neighborhoods or districts that cultivate the unique and authentic qualities that make places special.
  • Cemeteries, Burial Places, and the National Register of Historic Places: An Iowa Perspective (1 p.m. only) – Doug Jones, SHSI Archaeologist
    This presentation will explore the different types of historical significance that cemeteries, burial places, and associated features in Iowa may have in regard to eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Examples of cemeteries, burial places, and associated features in Iowa that are either currently listed on the National Register or have been recommended as eligible for listing on the National Register will be examined and discussed. This presentation will also include a brief discussion of the importance of recording and documenting these types of properties throughout the state.
  • Recent Discoveries and Archaeological Research on the Underground Railroad in Iowa (2:15 p.m. only) – Doug Jones, SHSI Archaeologist
    The State Historical Society of Iowa has been conducting historical research and fieldwork since 2002 on the Iowa Freedom Trail Project. This project seeks to document Underground Railroad activities throughout Iowa by identifying individuals and groups who were involved with these activities and the places where these events occurred in Iowa. The preliminary results have shown that most of the homes and properties associated with the Underground Railroad activities in Iowa have been demolished or abandoned. Most of these former homes and properties are now archaeological sites. As part of the project, the State Historical Society of Iowa has sponsored several archaeological investigations to help document the locations of these former homes and properties associated with the Underground Railroad activities. This presentation will explore the results of the historical research and fieldwork conducted to date for this project. This presentation will also discuss the archaeological investigations conducted in support of this project to date.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts, and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.

The State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, is a trustee of Iowa’s historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa’s past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa’s historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. More information about SHSI is available at www.iowahistory.org.



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