This is guest column published in the Northfield News by Northfield resident and HPC member Barb Evans.
Several events have recently come together to highlight the significance of Northfield’s historic downtown. First, on the national level, The Preservation Act recently turned 50 years old. Then, as a local part of that act, Northfield’s downtown was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. This year the city, in conjunction with the Heritage Preservation Commission, hired Carole Zellie and Amy Lucas of Landscape Research to create an updated survey of the original properties in that historic district. This recently completed survey adds to our knowledge of that district and provides updated information about those properties as well as additional properties on the edges of the Historic District.
In the upcoming months your Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) will be sharing information with you about this district and related preservation topics in two ways. There will be a series of guest columns, “Celebrating Preservation,” written by HPC members and other members of the community. Topics will range from information about the people involved in preserving Northfield over time, the economics of preservation, the architecture itself, the challenges and the benefits of preservation as well as details about specific places.
Also look for “Focus on Preservation,” which will present a photo of an architectural element of a building pictured up-close with the challenge to identify its location. The following week the answer will be published along with details about that particular building. Look for “Focus on Preservation” on Saturdays. These efforts will continue well into 2017. We hope that you will read and enjoy these opportunities to learn more about the history of Northfield and about the buildings and the people who have preserved them.
“Celebrate Preservation” Guest Columns and “Focus on Preservation” features will be in the Northfield News (in print and online) and on the Northfield Historical Society website. Two Facebook sites to watch will be the Historical Society’s Facebook page, Old Northfield, and Northfield’s tourism site, This is Northfield/Visit Northfield. Stories online may be enhanced with additional photos, comments, and stories from Northfield residents. Your answers to the Focus on Preservation challenge are welcome on the Old Northfield page. This is not a contest, but a community challenge to learn more about and to appreciate these historic structures. We look forward to looking back with you over the next months as we celebrate preservation.
Barbara Evans is a member of the HPC in Northfield, Minnesota.