George Washington never visited the Loomis Addition. It’s not the site of a critical discovery that will save humankind. And though we have some grand houses, most are of the middle-class variety. So what’s so significant about the Loomis Addition that we would want to create a historic district to save it?
Historic preservation isn’t just about saving buildings associated with the rich and famous. Nor is it just about saving beautiful buildings. It’s about capturing the American story. And for us, in particular, it’s about capturing Fort Collins’ story.
A historic district preserves a neighborhood in such a way that a person, or their children, or their grandchildren can walk down the street and experience an immersive sense of what that neighborhood looked like many decades ago. It provides a connection with history that’s far more visceral and immediate than simply looking at an old photograph or reading a bit of text.
Saving examples of time in this way provides a different kind of knowledge than what one can find in a book. There are insights about who we are and where we came from as a community that we might be able to glean through reading history books, old newspapers, or looking through artifacts at the Archive or in the museum. But being able to walk in the midst of history provides different, and sometimes clearer, insights into our common identity.