The Peabody Essex Museum recently released their newest PEMcast episode which highlights historic buildings and why their retention matters to places like Salem. This episode features conversations with preservation and architecture specialists, such as Elizabeth Padjen and HSI’s very own Emily Udy, that are geared towards the buildings in a community and the stories that these building tell.
50 years ago, urban renewal plans almost ruined the built heritage of Salem. But through the actions of Ada Louise Huxtable, the proposal to severely alter the streetscapes of downtown was broadcast through the New York Times and Salem was spared from the wrecking ball. However, it was not just Huxtable who saved the day. “There’s not ever one person who can save a place or a building; it’s a community process” said Emily.
One of the community projects that HSI has been taking on for years which fosters engagement and appreciation of older buildings is the Historic House History & Plaque Program. The plaque allows neighbors and visitors a glimpse into the history of the house by noting the name and occupation of the builder, along with the date of completion. The real significance of the House History & Plaque Program is to enrich the community’s understanding of the history of the city.