The Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission took some time over the holidays to reflect on our goals and accomplishments in 2014. We were quite overwhelmed by the consistency and quality of preservation activities during the past year. So often, we get bogged down in the details of each project, article, and event that we neglect looking at the overall effect of preservation efforts. Here’s a brief recap of preservation in Alexandria in 2014. We’re so proud of our historic districts and the good work that residents are doing.
Preservation in Progress Awards–AHPC presented its Preservation in Progress awarded to six preservation projects this year. Four residential projects in Alexandria’s local Garden District received the award: 2403 Albert, 1251 Barrister, 1233 Barrister, and 1734 Polk. Two commercial projects were honored: 2004 Jackson Street and “The Square” on Third and DeSoto in Downtown Alexandria. These projects offer excellent examples of owners choosing to honor the historic character of their buildings, often times by utilizing historic preservation tax credit incentives. It is our hope that their positive experience with preservation and the amazing before/after photos inspire more people to properly care for, maintain, and rehab historic properties.
Bentley Heart Bomb–Following the devastating news that a water pipe had burst in the near-finished basement level of the historic Hotel Bentley, AHPC decided to offer encouragement and support to Bentley owner and preservationist Mike Jenkins. On Mardi Gras day, February 14th, a large group of Bentley supporters gathered on those iconic front steps to “heart bomb” the historic hotel.
Historic District Banners–Have you ever wondered exactly where Alexandria’s historic districts are located? 2014 saw the installation of 50 historic district banners (10 for each district) intended to brand our historic districts for locals and visitors alike. Drivers down Elliott Street will now know when they pass through each of the three historic districts located on along the street. It’s our hope they’ll be intrigued to take a turn from their regular route to discover the rest of the district.
Historic House Fair–AHPC held our first annual Historic House Fair on Saturday, March 21st. The block party style event was located in Alexandria’s National Register Garden District and featured local preservation resources. Information on historic preservation tax credits, how to research your historic home, architectural salvage, three open houses, trolley tours, Garden District realty and much more drew hundreds of folks to this event!
Historic Resources Survey Completion—2014 marked a big year for AHPC. In September, we completed a four-year-long survey of the structures in the local Garden District historic district. Working from a grant received by the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, we finalized research on 1,596 structures, complete with a photographic record of each building. This inventory provides an architectural record of historic structures as well as data on the architectural style, form, and current condition.
Holiday Tour of Homes–AHPC concluded the year with a partnership project with the Garden District Neighborhood Foundation. Our first annual Holiday Tour of Homes was an overwhelming success, bringing in nearly 300 visitors, some from as far away as Texas and Arkansas! Four lovely historic homes were decorated for the holidays and open for tour, with the Spirit of Alexandria Trolleys on hand to shuttle folks in between stops. With such a success in its first year, we’re already planning for the 2015 event!
We hope you’ll join us in 2015 for the many preservation events we have planned. Set to return is the Historic House Fair, Holiday Tour of Homes, and, of course, our Preservation In Progress Awards. We’ll introduce several Preservation Month activities in May 2015, from speakers to hands-on preservation work. Check out our website for more details on each event at www.alexandriahpc.org, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.