Local Preservation Society partners with National Trust

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County has recently declared a new partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A trend that more than 120 of the top nonprofit preservation organizations in the country are following, PSABC’s new affiliation will allow it to protect the city’s unique historic locations with more funding support.

This could be exciting news for not only the gravesite-wandering history buff, but for anyone interested in preserving Asheville and Buncombe’s unique community. By providing more grant opportunities and resources, PSABC will be able to continue their nonprofit work in preservation and property stewardship, advocacy, preservation education, and community outreach, says new PSABC Executive Director Jack W.L Thomson.

Past projects have included saving “The Manor” (now known as The Manor Inn Apartments on 265 Charlotte Street) — a turn of the century Victorian retreat that was under threat of demolition in the mid-1990s, Thomson mentions. Another early success the society is known for is restoring The Gudger House on Montford Avenue. Projects such as these, he adds, are an example of how saving historical resources “improves property tax base and provides a stimulus for neighborhood revitalization.”

PSABC has much to celebrate, marking 2011 as its 35th anniversary. The nonprofit has held nine events so far this year including everything from tours, educational programs, and workshops on how to use commercial buildings for other uses. Next month, there’s also PSABC’s screening of The Greenest Building, a film that will explore the saying that “the greenest building is the one that’s already built.”

“As a tourist destination,” says Thomson, “historical preservation is a vital tool.” Considering that Asheville’s economy is largely tourist-based, anyone who is interested can explore PSABC’S online calendar for future events and learn more about their work.

“In our past 35 years as this community’s private historic preservation nonprofit, we have continued to grow in capacity and effectiveness in the protection of our historic built environment,” says Thomson. “This partnership is the next natural step in our growth. This affiliation with the Trust provides national exposure for our work and for Asheville as a special historic destination.”

PSABC has already seen a boost in membership growth this year (about 100 people showed up to a lecture on Sept. 11 at the Basilica of St. Lawrence).

“I know”, said National Trust President Stephanie Meeks, “the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County will add much to this group by bringing knowledge, expertise and experience to the growing network.”

ABOUT PSABC:  Through preserving and promoting the unique historic resources of our region, the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County works to sustain the heritage and sense of place that is Asheville and Buncombe County.

Mountain Xpress intern Tess Kuulei Satsuma is a student at Warren Wilson College.


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