Virgina Adams's presentation, Comprehensive Town-Wide Inventories and Mid-20th Century Modernism spoke to the need for each town to survey its historic properties. Properties that are 50 years old or older can be considered for inclusion in the state and national register of historic places. Even towns who have completed surveys in the past will have additional properties that can be surveyed.
When researching your home, in addition to viewing survey's that may have been completed in your town, you may also refer to the list which is held by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, MACRIS. The town of West Tisbury has put together a wonderful video on youtube that explains how to mine this collection.
The next speaker, David Ottinger of Antique Buildings and Materials, gave a presentation entitled "Suggestions for Preserving Historic Cape Cod Buildings". With more than 30 years of experience working on historic buildings, David has in depth knowledge of historic construction methods. The Cape Cod Commission has posted David's presentation at their website. He explains that in the 18th century, the term "workmanlike" had particular meaning and was understood by all. When confronted with todays building regulations, historic building systems must sometimes be altered or enhanced. However, this can be done in a way that is sympathetic to the original structure. It is vitally important when restoring your historic home to consult with someone knowledgeable about the construction methods employed by the original framers. What may seem like a complete loss to the untrained eye, may in fact only require a simple fix.
|Dragon tail joint - photo from|
Ellison Timber Frames website
The last speaker, Jess Phelps, presented "Non-Regulatory Preservation-Exploring the Available Alternatives". Though Phelps is not advocating non-regulatory preservation over regulatory (like local historic districts or demolition delays) he explains that where there are no protections or where the protections are inadequate to protect resources, non regulatory methods can help. Sometimes historic resources lay outside of an existing historic district. Or the resource may be on the interior, like a Rufus Porter mural, where existing regulations do not have jurisdiction.
One tool that Phelps outlines is establishing a preservation easement, like the 83 easements that Historic New England holds. The protection is attached to the deed in perpetuity to provide protection long after the current owner has gone. And, a preservation easement can be attached to interior resources that would not be protected by a historic district.
The workshop left me energized and hopeful that through a multi faceted approach and sharing of knowledge, the Cape's historic treasures will grace the landscape for a long time to come.