ABSTRACT

Historic preservation cosmology is officially constructed in legislation and the scholarly and popular work of nationally recognized professionals and organizations, just as homeowners and civic organizations use it “unofficially” to justify remodeling practices and engage in advocacy at the local level. Preservation professionals suggest protection can only be secured locally through passage of municipal historic preservation legislation, which is entirely voluntary. The legal authority for historic preservation legislation is grounded in zoning and land use regulations that are administered through municipal planning departments, sometimes also called economic development departments. The concept of integrity is important to professionals and city officials in the designation process and when people engage in restoration practices, but may be less salient as a concept among homeowners and others not directly involved with preservation. The legal structures put in place further affect the social dynamics in each community, privileging some interests over others, although acceptance of preservation tends to evolve over time.