April 20, 2007
HUD PARTNERS WITH PRESERVE AMERICA INITIATIVE IN HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA
City of Huntsville, Alabama becomes one of 473 designated communities
HUNTSVILLE, AL � At an event held today, U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director
Bob Young awarded Huntsville, Alabama, the designation of a Preserve America Community. Joining HUD Regional Director Bob Young was Mayor Loretta Spencer; New Russel Erskine, LP, Phil Dotts; Judy Perzsyk, Huntsville
Historical Society; Col. (Ret.) John Neaubauer, Executive Director, Alabama Historical Commission; Jerry Galloway, Director of Community Development and other local leaders.
In an effort to promote the Preserve America initiative and preserve historic communities, HUD has partnered with
the Advisory Council, other federal agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. First Lady Laura Bush is the honorary chair of Preserve America. To date, 473 communities have been designated as Preserve America communities.
"Preserve America Communities, neighborhoods, and grant recipients know the importance of historic preservation
to the economic, educational, esthetic, and cultural life of America, as well as to their residents, their visitors, and especially to their children," said HUD Regional Director Bob Young. "The citizens of Huntsville, Alabama do a great
job of preserving and promoting their heritage."
In a convergence of time and space, Huntsville, Alabama (pop. 167,787) is known for its agriculture, textiles, and early government as much as for its military and space science prowess. Huntsville was incorporated in 1811�the
first town incorporated in Alabama. In 1819, Alabama's first constitution was drafted in Huntsville. The first state legislature was called into session there; the first state capitol and governor were also inaugurated in the city. Huntsville was a center for political, educational, cultural, and industrial development. During the Civil War, Union troops occupied Huntsville, and during Reconstruction, Huntsville's economy was encouraged by northern capital
and it became a thriving textile and agricultural area.
The Twickenham Historic District, Alabama's largest collection of pre-Civil War homes, features home and walking tours, and the 1860 Huntsville Depot has become a popular museum. A fun landmark in Huntsville is Harrison
Brothers�the oldest operating hardware store in Alabama, founded in 1879 by James and Daniel Harrison. When the
last Harrison died in 1983 the store was set to close for good, until the Historic Huntsville Foundation purchased it.
They reopened the store in 1984, and it has served as one of the most popular tourist spots in Huntsville.
Huntsville's community support of its history is also showcased in the public-private partnership that was designed
to preserve the 1820s era-Jeremiah Clemens house, originally owned by the family of a cousin of noted author
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). The house was saved from inappropriate development, moved, and reused as offices. The city has also created and adopted zoning for historic districts and design review protections. According to the city, Huntsville consistently spends more dollars on restoration in historic districts than any other city in the state
Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the
country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.
"In addition to governments, the private sector � businesses, philanthropic groups, historical organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens � also have a crucial role to play. Public-private partnerships are
already supporting excellent preservation work throughout our country, and they'll be vital to preserving our national treasures in the years ahead," said Mrs. Bush.
For further information on the Preserve America initiative go to: www.preserveamerica.gov
For local information contact: Denise Taylor at (256) 427-5006.
For further information contact: Hollis Wormsby, Birmingham Field Office Public Affairs Liaison at (205) 731-2617.