The cultural and historic resources of a community tell the story of its past, a past that makes any single community distinct from all other places. From lumber mills to schools, sacred landscapes to archaeological sites, rustic cabins to office towers, our historic and cultural resources provide everyone with a tangible link to persons and events that have shaped our communities and ourselves. Preserving these physical reminders of our past creates a sense of place, the result being an environment that instills civic pride and community spirit.
Increasingly, preservation is recognized as a tool for economic development. In the past some policymakers considered preservation activities to be luxuries, undertaken in a thriving economy only to be scaled back when leaner times force a reassessment of priorities. However, recent studies demonstrate that preservation is a powerful economic engine: creating jobs, increasing tax revenues, raising property values, and encouraging community reinvestment. Historic Preservation is not about nostalgia; it is a forward-looking, economic development and community revitalization strategy.
Equally, if not more important, the role historic preservation plays in shaping communities for the present and the future. By preserving significant cultural and historic resources, we are able to learn from past achievements (as well as mistakes) in order to improve, enrich, and even enliven, the Washington state that is passed to future generations. By not preserving, we stand to loose the already tenuous grasp we have of past accomplishments, traditions, and values. If we do not work to preserve the diminishing presence of our historic places, we undermine the stability and strength of our future communities.