re ·ju ·ve ·nate ri-ËˆjÃ¼-vÉ’-ËŒnÄt verb
to make young or youthful again : give new vigor to
Historic preservation is essential to having a strong, healthy downtown. But many think of preservation as something that is limiting or even stifling. Charleston, South Carolina, which is often heralded as one of the nation’s best examples of a city that truly embraces historic preservation, proves that doesn’t have to be the case. What I found when I spent a few days this summer wandering around Charleston, taking in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this historic city, is that Charleston is an amazing place because it rejuvenates, not just preserves.
Charleston is full of wonderfully preserved historic buildings, from downtown commercial buildings, beautiful houses and waterfront warehouses and custom houses. It has several narrow cobble stone and brick streets that are enhanced by street trees and window boxes full of flowers. While it is preserved, the city is far from a static time capsule. It is vigorous and brisk.
Charleston’s beauty and richness lie in its layers, which reflect sensitive change that has occurred over centuries. Old masonry buildings have been covered in stucco and painted, with shutters and porches applied. There is texture and tradition in the fabric of the city, but also color and life. Nothing is stagnant. Everything is alive. People are working and playing, plants are growing, fountains are bubbling, and the buildings are standing, quietly telling the stories of those that came before while housing modern lives.
The city recognizes its antebellum architecture, Gullah culture, and more as an asset and utilizes those assets to rejuvenate the city. As a result, Charleston is one of the most visited cities in the world, and a thriving historic destination.
What about your town? Are you rejuvenating historic places to help enliven your city?