Courtesy / Carter Brown
Who doesn’t love a good 1980s party – especially when all proceeds go to support historic preservation in San Antonio?
The Power of Preservation (PoP) is back, for its seventh annual Preservation Promenade – better known as PROM – on Thursday, Oct. 25. Guests will spend the evening in their ’80s attire reveling in several historic structures at the Pearl, including the Samuels Glass warehouse. Known for historically-themed parties that take their creative cues from the buildings where they’re held, the PROM committee determined that this year, a 1980s theme would be the perfect foil for the 1880s historic treasure.
PoP, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, was founded in 2012 by a group of passionate preservationists who agreed that while architectural history is critical because of its impact on a city’s quality of life and the economic development opportunities it provides, it can also be fun and cool. PoP enthusiasts believe that historic buildings should be utilized in a way that creates authenticity and enhances the rich cultural fabric of the urban core. Having grown exponentially since its inception, PoP now consists of a large coalition of advocates, businesses, neighborhoods, and agencies interested in promoting the literal power of preservation in our community.
While many citizens, business leaders, and elected officials may not self-identify as preservationists, most people value what preservation is about: a sense of place, a sense of community, reinvestment in downtown and the central city, adaptive reuse of existing buildings and infrastructure, economic development, protection of neighborhoods, authenticity, walkability, and sustainability.
Each year, PROM honors people and places in the community that exemplify the values and mission of the Power of Preservation. This year, the honorees include, architect and preservationist Everett Fly, the Historic Homes at Hemisfair, and the Carter Family.
Fly, a registered architect and landscape architect, is an acclaimed pioneer in the field of historic preservation, noted for his study of historic black settlements as a graduate student at Harvard University. Through his efforts to document and preserve African-American community sites across the U.S., he was awarded a 2014 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama. He will receive the PoP Champion Award.
The Historic Homes at Hemisfair are being honored as the Best Preservation Project for the love and dedication by the Hemisfair team and its architects, Fisher-Heck, to breathe new life into historic structures on the site. Hemisfair’s historic homes are not only being restored, but are playing a vital role as “activators” of the park space and being adapted into amenities like cafés or book stores. Using these homes in new and unique ways creates awareness of the importance of historic preservation and connects visitors and new generations to San Antonio’s history, helping them appreciate the way our city integrates the past with the future.
David Carter was born in the 1893 Alfred Giles Maverick-Carter House on Taylor Street and recognized early on the value of preserving San Antonio’s architectural history. He began a multi-generational interest in restoration that included the Legal Professional Building by the Courthouse, the beautiful 1880 Wolfson Building that tragically burned on Main Plaza, and the O. Henry House Museum that is still open to the public on Laredo Street. The Carter family’s restoration work also includes the nearby Arana Building and De La Garza House, one of the oldest houses still standing today.
More recently, the family has been continuing the preservation work on the family homestead and the adjacent Toltec Apartments and Radius Building. Both Paul Carter and his sister Marline Lawson grew up with ongoing restoration projects, and both are working on historic homes in Monte Vista. They are glad to carry the mission forward to help save parts of our city’s architectural legacy and enjoy the interest and enthusiasm it stirs up in the neighborhood. For this longstanding commitment, the Carter family will receive the PoP Vision Award.
Historic preservation is truly economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Proceeds raised by PoP support the hands-on preservation programs of the Office of Historic Preservation, including OHP’s S.T.A.R. project (Students Together Achieving Revitalization), Rehabarama, and the restoration of the historic Kelso House which serves as a historic preservation learning laboratory for hands-on preservation skills.