Oatlands is a 501(c)3. It is highly dependent on the generosity of donors for its existence. We solicit donations all the time, not because we enjoy begging, but because we love history and we believe in the work of historic preservation.
Last week, CNN Money’s 2011 list of “Best Places to Live” was published and Leesburg, VA is #4! Of the reasons cited in the article, one stood out. CNN Money said that Leesburg “has seen more history than a Ken Burns film”, and we know that is absolutely true. We engage with that history every single day at Oatlands. The wonderful work that’s been done in historic preservation in Leesburg, including here at Oatlands, is part of what provides such a great sense of place and terrific quality of life.
Sense of place and quality of life are intangibles, but they translate into some pretty tangible economics. Corporations want to locate here because their workforce wants to live here. Tourists want to visit, and their visits add revenue to the local economy. Historic sites like Oatlands buy locally, employ locally, and provide local residents with great value.
Too often, people think of historic sites as places that take enormous resources to maintain. Support for historic preservation is one of the first things to go in government, corporate and personal belt-tightening. The CNN Money article highlights the ways in which historic preservation is an economic driver, not an economic drain. Every dollar invested in our history and historic sites pays dividends for years. And that dollar pays dividends locally, not in some far off economy. Historic preservation as an economic driver–food for thought courtesy of CNN Money.