I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation on a fantastic project that’s giving $1 million to historic sites in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area. The Partners in Preservation Program (PiP) began in 2006 when American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation together gave grant money to twenty-five historic sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. A public voting competition granted first place – and $118,000 – to Bernard Maybeck’s glorious First Church of Christ Scientist in Berkeley, completed in 1910. After their success in the Bay Area, American Express and the National Trust continued the program, bringing Partners in Preservation to Chicagoland (2007), New Orleans (2008), Greater Boston (2009), and Seattle-Puget Sound (2010).
This year, the Partners in Preservation Program is coming to the Twin Cities and I’m lucky to be helping out with the effort at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Midwest Office in Chicago. This year, there is an astonishingly good list of participating sites all vying for a piece of the $1 million pie. Each site is holding an Open House event this weekend so this Friday I’ll be off to the Twin Cities to check out what everybody’s been working on. It’s been a great PiP year so far – I can’t wait to see what the sites have in store.
I encourage everyone to vote for their favorite Twin Cities historic site at www.facebook.com/partnersinpreservation. The winner will receive their whole requested grant amount. Make your vote count!
UPDATE – 10/22/2011
The Facebook votes have been tallied and the popular vote winner of this years Partners in Preservation initiative is Minneapolis’ Basilica of Saint Mary. The Basilica, completed in 1915, was designed by French architect Emmanuel Masqueray (who also designed Saint Paul, MN’s Cathedral). The Basilica is now guaranteed its full requested funding for the repair and restoration of its historic Narthex and Sacristy. Grant awards for the rest of the incredible PiP Twin Cities sites will be announced in November 2011.