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'PRESERVING THE SPIRIT OF PLACE'

May 13, 2002 – Citizens in the U.S. Virgin Islands will join thousands of individuals around the country as part of a nationwide celebration of the 31st annual National Historic Preservation Week, May 12-18, 2002.
"Preserving the Spirit of Place" is the theme this year of the weeklong celebration that has been sponsored annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1971.
Every community has a spirit of place that identifies it as special and unique. It may be a building or a monument or a street, a public square or a stretch of lakeshore or a view of distant mountains. It sets the community apart from every other. It attracts tourists, contributes to the area's stability and livability, and gives residents a sense of connection with their shared heritage.
"Despite its importance, the spirit of place is easily destroyed," said National Trust President Richard Moe. "Older neighborhoods, rich in texture and character, start to decline. Familiar landmarks are allowed to deteriorate or are replaced by new buildings that fail to respect their historic setting. Scenic vistas are spoiled by insensitive development, and precious open space is devoured by sprawl. Uniqueness fades into anonymity. Every place starts looking like Anyplace, and eventually they all look like Noplace."
As part of the weeklong celebration, citizens nationwide will celebrate with alumni reunions, career days, pageants, workshops, clean-up days, rallies, re-enactments, and home and garden tours. The St. Croix Landmark Society urges St. Croix residents to join in observing Preservation Week by visiting the newly restored Whim Plantation Museum, the Lawaetz Museum at Estate Little La Grange, or by driving the St. Croix Heritage Trail and visiting historical sites along the trail.
Whim Plantation is the only sugar plantation in the Virgin Islands. The exhibits are designed to teach about life and history of the plantation, sugar cane production, and everyday life of the time. The Karl and Marie Lawaetz Museum preserves the gardens and furnished historic home of a prominent Danish family. St. Croix Landmarks Society's Educational Outreach reaches more than 3,000 students each year.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, chartered by Congress in 1949, is a private, nonprofit organization with more than a quarter million members. The Trust works with thousands of local community groups nationwide. For more information, visit the National Trust's web site.
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