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SHSND Home > Historic Preservation > Historic Preservation Planning > Why Preserve Historic Properties

Why Preserve Historic Properties At All?

The preservation of places significant to their heritage has been important to North Dakotans since before establishment of the state. The state's Native American peoples, for example, had maintained shrines and traditional cultural properties long before the arrival of Euro-Americans. In December of 1873, within months of the founding of Bismarck, settlers formed the Burleigh County Pioneer Association and within a year published a pamphlet which included a history of the city. In the eastern part of the state, the Red River Valley Old Settlers Association was formed at Grand Forks in 1879. The professed motive of both groups was the preservation of the early history of their particular regions.

  1. North Dakotans are continually becoming more aware of their history and ever more respectful of the places associated with that history.
  2. North Dakotans derive a great deal of comfort from being among familiar surroundings and from continued association with their "roots."
  3. Commemoration of historic events is important to many of the state’s heritage groups.
  4. Preservation helps foster an appreciation of the state’s varied architectural diversity and recognition of ethnically significant building styles and decor.
  5. An increasing awareness of the economic values of preservation is among the justifications cited for preservation. Whether those associations are based on something as practical as financial help in preserving "a good, solid, old building" to something as romantic as attracting a Hollywood movie production to an authentic setting, motivations to preserve are growing and spreading.
  6. Interest in the state’s history, its historic, archeological and architectural properties and preservation of those properties have realized recent spurts of enthusiastic support with recognition of their value as economic tools, with the increased importance of statewide heritage tourism and with special legislation offering economic incentives for preservation through state Renaissance Zones, a tax incentive program, and a new state sponsored grants program with valuable potential implications for historic buildings. It is intended that through planning efforts such as these, still more people will be inspired to discover ever more reasons to preserve and to become ever more involved in preservation.

Download the Comprehensive Historic Preservation Plan.

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