Why Historic Preservation Is Important

We look at historic preservation as a form of stewardship. Our Victorian-era buildings were built with a great deal of time, money, and craftsmanship over 100 years ago, and we want to honor that work. John Ruskin says it best:

“They [buildings of past times] are not ours. They belong, partly to those who built them, and partly to all the generations of mankind who are to follow us. The dead have still their right in them: that which they labored for, the praise of achievement or the expression of religious feeling, or whatsoever else it might be which in those buildings they intended to be permanent, we have no right to obliterate. What we have ourselves built, we are at liberty to throw down; but what other men gave their strength and wealth and life to accomplish, their right over does not pass away with their death; still less is the right to the use of what they have left vested in us only. It belongs to all their successors.”
– John Ruskin, The Seven Lamps of Architecture [1890]

However, our desire is also quite practical, as stated in the quote below by Arthur Frommer:

“Every study of travel motivations has shown that an interest in the achievements of the past is among the three major reasons why people travel. The other two are rest or recreation and the desire to view great natural sights… Among cities with no particular recreational appeal, those that have substantially preserved their past continue to enjoy tourism. Those that haven’t receive no tourism at all. It’s as simple as that. Tourism does not go to a city that has lost its soul.”
– Arthur Frommer, Preservation Forum [1988]

Stanford has lots of soul and we want to share it through tourism.