Report from the Statewide Preservation Conference
October 24, 2007
Missouri Preservation recently concluded its annual Statewide Preservation Conference, held October 18-20 in Jefferson City. Nearly 200 people attended the conference, a number that shows continued growth in attendance over the last four years. The conference resulted from the hard work of two St. Louisans: historian Karen Bode Baxter, who organized the conference, and architect Jeff Brambila, president of Missouri Preservation and counselor to Landmarks Association of St. Louis.
The conference started on Thursday, October 18 with a special half-day technical training workshop on historic rehabilitation tax credits. Over 100 consultants, development professionals and property owners attended the workshop. Afterwards, attendees took a tour of three very different public buildings: the shuttered Missouri State Penitentiary (a rare opportunity), the Missouri Supreme Court Building and the Missouri Capitol. The evening featured an opening reception at the 1930s-era Louis Ott House.
Friday's events included a breakfast keynote address by broadcaster and historian Bob Priddy, who eloquently discussed the history of the Capitol as well as its many unfortunate deferred maintenance problems. Sessions afterwards included an informational session on the Dream Initiative, a new state downtown revitalization grant program; a slideshow talk on the history of the State Penitentiary by Mark Schreiber, former associate superintendent and leading historian of the prison; a packed wooden window restoration presentation by Byron Wallace of Restoration Works, Inc.; a talk by Esley Hamilton on the origins of Missouri's historic preservation movement; and a workshop on federal funding sources for local preservation efforts. Over lunch Royce Yeater, Midwestern Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Mark Miles, Directror of the State Historic Preservation Office, gave updates on their offices' work. Some people opted to attend an afternoon reception at the Governor's Mansion.
For some consultants, Saturday started with a 7:30 a.m. forum on architectural surveys hosted by the State Historic Preservation Office. For others, the day began two hours later with a breakfast ceremony presentation of the Caplinger Awards. Sessions that day included an informative look at cemeteries and their restoration organized by St. Louis conservator Peter Wollenberg and featuring presentations by Deb Sheals and Rachel Nugent. The day concluded with both a walking tour of downtown Jefferson City and a bus tour of the Eastside neighborhood.