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    Save Our Shotguns
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    The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear the phrase “building restoration” is the fixing up of nice, noticeable historic sites. But that isn’t nearly the extent of it according Marianne Zickuhr, Executive Director of Preservation Louisville. “We’re trying to save the places that matter - and that doesn’t just mean historic mansions in Old Lou,” she told me. In fact, Preservation Louisville’s mission goes much farther than just preserving historic sites for tourists; “there is culture and tradition in Louisville that reaches into every corner of the city,” Marianne says, “and everyone has something they want to take care of.”

    Louisville is full of historic buildings - from those Old Lou mansions to the shotgun houses of Germantown. It’s all of those places that matter, and all of those places that Preservation Louisville aims to help. They even have a program called Save Our Shotguns (S.O.S.), which they partner with

    New Directions Housing Corporation

    for. This year, they aim to work with New Directions through their Repair Fair and restore five shotgun houses over the summer - no small feat. “Last year, we did one house in a week, and it took over 70 people,” Marianne says. To do five houses in one summer would probably require nearly 500.

    Preservation Louisville isn’t just about beautification - the economic practicality of preservation is clear as well, Marianne told me. “The greenest building is the one that’s already been built,” she says - and that seems perfectly clear. Transforming a structure into something that’s more green, say with new windows and blown-in insulation, is far more sensible than building a whole new one. Not only that, Marianne mentioned, but by keeping Louisville full of unique old buildings we get a sense of place, and we keep a unique feeling to neighborhoods.

    May is also National Preservation Month, and Marianne and her team are busy for the lot of it. They recently published their

    Top Ten list

    of most endangered buildings in Louisville, which called attention to the most pressing preservation issues around town. They are also hosting Preservation Pub Nights every Wednesday at different places around town - if you show up at the bar they’re partnering with and let them know why you’re there, one percent of the proceeds go to Preservation Louisville.

    There is a lot of work that needs to be done “in order to leave behind a place that future generations can use,” Marianne explained. Her goal is to strengthen the cycle so that future people have the tools to practice sustainability. “I hope,” she said, “that this generation is the one that snaps out of our culture of disposability. We have to maintain what we have and look to the future. We don’t want to leave a mess behind.”

    If you’re interested in volunteering, check out

    Preservation Louisville’s Facebook Page

    or visit their website.

    Photo courtesy of Preservation Louisville

    Brandon Vigliarolo's picture

    About Brandon Vigliarolo

    Brandon is a Michigan transplant, and has been working as a freelance writer since he arrived. He lives with his Girlfriend Hannah, Pico and Marionette the cats, and Marley the awkward greyhound.

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