Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Wilderness Act, 1964.

50 Years of Preservation: A Call to Action

By Nicholas A. Redding

Fifty years ago,  with the stroke of a pen, President Johnson authorized a new framework for saving historic places. The National Historic Preservation Act, which he signed into law on October 15, 1966, gave voice, purpose and structure to our movement.

The challenges faced by the preservationists of 1966 remain the same irresistible forces against which we continue our fight today.

Urban Renewal laid waste to thousands of historic structures in the mid-20th century.

Whether it is vacancy, neglect, willful destruction or blundering bureaucracy it is our duty, in fact, it remains our very mission to wage the battles necessary to overcome these foes of heritage.

Recently, Preservation Maryland announced six more Six-to-Fix projects that our statewide preservation community will rally around to support. Collectively, the goals inherent in each project represent a hopeful and optimistic preservation. A kind of preservation focused on what can be achieved – on what we stand for and not simply what we are against.


As a movement, we are often defined by what we oppose. The theme has been that we are simply a movement of no. Let us instead be defined by what that which we support.

Instead, it our job as preservationists to let no one forget that,

In saving our heritage, we are in turn creating the communities that our fellow citizens deserve; Communities endowed with a sense of place and purpose. 

At Preservation Maryland, we pride ourselves on being an organization focused on our past – but eternally concerned for our future.

Nicholas A. Redding · Executive Director

Nicholas A. Redding is Preservation Maryland’s Executive Director and between announcing major organizational updates, he often blogs about Maryland and Civil War history.

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