The preservation of historic structures is a controversial subject, as though people and organizations generally do not seek to demolish the historic built environment, they may not choose to preserve those structures and sites either. This paper focuses on one organization that owns much many historic structures and sites: the Catholic Church. Through the analysis and comparison of case studies, this paper seeks to investigate and shed light on the reasons, associated factors, and underlying trends behind the choices the Catholic Church in the United States makes when it comes to historic preservation. Within this research is a focus on the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, the Catholic diocese in Northern Virginia that includes Fredericksburg, to examine these reasons and trends at a local level and see how this particular diocese compares to the nation’s dioceses as a whole.
The Preservation Planning Lab (HISP 469) serves as a capstone in the Historic Preservation Major. This year, the course focused on communicating preservation planning. This field is still misunderstood, so educating the public is a relevant and timely concern. The course was divided into two sections. First, the six students completed a team project. We were contacted by the City of Fredericksburg Planning Office to redesign the brochure for the Historic District. The old brochure was at least twenty years old, didn’t reflect current rules, and had no graphics or colors. The City asked us to create two new brochures – one for residential owners and one for business owners – and to incorporate newly adopted City branding. All six students in the course produced mockups and chose the best features of each to be integrated in the final designs. Colors and graphics use the new branding standards adopted by the City in 2021, ensuring that these brochures will be useful for many years to come. The brochures are now posted on the City of Fredericksburg website and are being printed for distribution. In the second section of the course, students created individual projects based on their interests. Three students utilized social media platforms to make aspects of preservation planning (such as preservation economics) accessible to the public. The other three created print media to discuss more locality-specific preservation planning projects. Throughout the entire course, students learned how to use industry standard design software, communicate complex concepts, and work collaboratively.