Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Oct. 22

Editorial: History is worth effort to save it

Elisabeth Ruffner

Elisabeth Ruffner

One thing that's easy to take for granted is history. It's always there, it never changes and someone - usually someone else - will protect and preserve it.

Historic preservation was as kind to Prescott this week as the city is to it. The Individual Award at the Arizona Governor's Arts Awards ceremony on Monday went to Elisabeth Ruffner, whose statewide reputation for preserving the history and culture of Prescott puts her on a very short list of citizens so devoted to historic guardianship. Fortunately, she isn't alone.

A small but energetic team labors behind the scenes of the hustle and bustle of the city's present to celebrate its history. Former Prescott Preservation Specialist Nancy Burgess has nominated more than 700 local buildings for the National Register, and was a major advocate for helping, also this week, the downtown Knights of Pythias Hall/Herndon-Hawkins building earn its distinction among the Governor's Heritage Preservation Honor Awards. (The three-story building, which dates back to 1892, is eligible for the state's top preservation award next month.)

And there is money in historic preservation, therefore we should budget money for it. National Register properties are eligible for federal investment tax credits and state property tax reduction programs. The City of Prescott already participates in the Certified Local Government program; a nationwide program of technical and financial assistance to preserve historic buildings. And, of course, there are the obvious benefits to the city such as tourism, enhanced property values and maintaining historic integrity.

Few towns in Arizona can claim not just the historic but also the functional history of Prescott. The Pythias Hall/Herndon-Hawkins building is still plenty active and vital as are myriad other similar downtown structures, and this year alone has seen the 100th anniversaries of Lincoln School, the Prescott High School football program and even the PHS yearbook.

An old adage says, "It's not good because it's old, it's old because it's good."

We need the individual efforts of those who preserve our heritage otherwise our history will be history.

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