Steven Engelhart is the Executive Director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH), the regional historic preservation organization of the Adirondack Park. AARCH's mission is to promote better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the region's built environment. Among AARCH's many activities are: sponsoring a series of tours of historic places; offering workshops; giving slide presentations; publishing a newsletter; managing Camp Santanoni, advocating on behalf of threatened historic sites; and providing technical assistance to individuals, organizations and local governments.
Steven is a native of the region and has a BA from SUNY Plattsburgh and a MS in historic preservation from the University of Vermont. He is the author of Crossing the River: Historic Bridges of the AuSable River, a small book about bridges and local history of the AuSable Valley. He resides in Wadhams and loves to hike, canoe, read, play the banjo, explore the region, and spend time with family and friends.
There are also a few significant errors that should be addressed and, most importantly, we’d like to try to answer the question posed by the recent, proposed Santanoni legislation – why might OPRHP be a better state steward than DEC? » Continue Reading.
In many aspects of AARCH’s work — lectures, tours, workshops, advocacy, and other educational offerings — we make the case for the preservation of historic buildings.
• Historic buildings have aesthetic appeal.
• Buildings and places connect us to our history as well as shaping our individual and collective identity.
• Historic preservation is rich in new economic opportunities.
• The preservation of historic buildings can be transformational for communities.
• Using existing buildings and concentrating new growth in already settled areas is both good for the vitality of a community and helps to protect wild and open spaces.
And all of this helps to make our communities better places to live, work, and visit. » Continue Reading.
There is overwhelming evidence that the most successful communities — with thriving economies, healthy schools and social and cultural institutions — are those that embrace their own history and preserve their historic buildings. Good jobs, protection of natural resources, and good leadership are perhaps even more important. Historic preservation is a critical element in the revitalization of struggling communities and it is a visible expression of a community investing in itself and improving its own quality of life.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) has always been a strong advocate for the connection between historic preservation and community vitality. We work to preserve individual buildings, yes, but we also advocate for preservation because historic places can become affordable housing, attractive spaces for businesses, innovative cultural centers, new farms, restaurants and other attractions. Preservation is about finding new uses for historic structures, not just saving buildings. » Continue Reading.
Our Vermont friends behind “Preservation in Pink” define historic preservation as “an eternally optimistic, inspiring field intent on improving present and future quality of life through the appreciation of our built and cultural heritage.” Although we are still a long way from being a nation or a region of true historic preservationists, we are increasingly becoming more preservation-minded as the intersections between preservation and common sense, community health, good stewardship, and sustainability becomes better understood.
I grew up in Plattsburgh, which I think makes me a local. My father was a professor at SUNY Plattsburgh and taught the literature of Emerson and Thoreau and other late 19th century American writers.
When a PBS documentary was made in the 1990s about the creation of the Adirondack Park, he was interviewed about Emerson and his outing to the Philosopher’s Camp in 1858. Like Emerson, he had a deep appreciation for nature, which we all inherited, but I can’t say that this translated into wilderness adventuring as a family. This I would discover later on my own. » Continue Reading.
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