The phrase “historic preservation” describes a wide range of activities.
The term is most often used in relation to the restoration and maintenance of historic homes and buildings, but it can also be applied when discussing the conservation and storage of old photographs, the recording and sharing of oral histories, or the collection and documentation of artifacts from archaeological sites.
All of these topics and more will be presented during “The Many Faces of Preservation Conference,” to be held Friday, April 28, through Sunday, April 30, at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Titusville. Registration information is available at 321-626-5224 or www.pritchardhouse.com.
“Preservation has many faces,” says historic preservationist and conference organizer Roz Foster. “Preserving structures for adaptive reuse, revitalization of downtowns, but also many other elements of preservation such as genealogy, oral histories, the preservation of textiles, documents, papers, photographs. Also the strategies of taking care of making sure that you’re restoring a historic structure properly and maintaining it properly.”
The three day conference will provide valuable information for both professionals and lay people including owners of historic structures, historic house and small museum staff, architectural review boards, realtors, city planners, architects, and others interested in historic preservation.
The keynote speaker on Saturday afternoon is architect Kenneth Smith of Jacksonville.
“Ken is an historic preservation architect,” says Foster. “His firm is retained by Flagler College, but he has also restored lighthouses in Georgia and on the coast of Florida, and many of the historic structures in a lot of the larger towns like downtown Jacksonville, Pensacola, and St. Augustine. He’s very knowledgeable.”
On Saturday, exhibitors at the conference will include Past Perfect Museum Software, Gaylord Archival Supplies, Austin Home Restorations, SPS Restorations, and local not-for-profit organizations.
The venue for the conference, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, was built in 1887 as St. John’s. The following year, three memorial stained glass windows were donated to the church by the mother of Titusville resident James Pritchard. Since the largest window depicted St. Gabriel, the name of the church was changed. The Carpenter Gothic style church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
The presentations and restoration workshops at “The Many Faces of Preservation Conference” will cover everything from selecting the correct paint colors for an historic home, to the proper installation of windows, to disaster planning for historic structures. The conference also includes ancillary events each day.
“Friday night we have a Downtown Wine Stroll sponsored by the Titusville Historic Preservation Board,” Foster says. “We’re going to begin at the Pritchard House, and we’re going to some of the structures that have been rehabilitated for adaptive reuse in the downtown historic district. We’ll come back to the Pritchard House, have a tour to take a look at restoration of this beautiful building, and then have a wine and cheese reception here.”
The Pritchard House was built in 1891 by Captain James Pritchard, an active businessman in Titusville who owned a hardware store, established the Indian River State Bank, and built the city’s first electric light plant. His Queen Anne style home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
The historic Pritchard House will also be the site of a Garden Party on Saturday evening. “There will be food, wine, and sangria,” says Foster. “This gives the general public a chance to mingle with the presenters. You may have a question that you would like answered about your own restoration project, or your papers, or looking up documents, or about available resources.”
The wide range of presenters at the conference includes Wayne Carter of the DeLand Florida Main Street Program, Elaine Williams of the Indian River Anthropological Society, Ben DiBiase of the Florida Historical Society, Michael Boonstra of the Brevard County Historical Commission, Suellen Askew of the Murfreesboro North Carolina Historical Association, Scott Sidler of Austin Home Restorations, Bradley Parrish of the City of Titusville, Joanne Peck of Historic Shed, Sarah Smith of the Foosaner Art Museum, Ruth Akright of Classic Property Resources in Virginia Beach, and Roz Foster of the North Brevard Heritage Foundation.
“Historic preservation” can give character to downtowns and neighborhoods. It can also protect images, objects, and individual stories for future generations.