In the end, preservationists are always right

November 06, 2011

Today, The Sun can refer with pride to "Baltimore's venerable landmark Bromo Seltzer Tower," but it wasn't always so. As recently as 1971, the city of Baltimore saw the tower as an eyesore destined for demolition.

Why does the tower still stand? For that you can thank historic preservation, the National Register and the Maryland Historical Trust, which stood up for the tower's preservation to former Mayor William Donald Schaefer. (Years later, of course, Schaefer too became an avid preservationist.)

Policymakers would be wise to consider John Kenneth Galbraith's 1980 statement: "The preservation movement has one great curiosity. There is never retrospective controversy or regret. Preservationists are the only people in the world who are invariably confirmed in their wisdom after the fact."

Nancy Schamu

The writer is a former employee of the Maryland Historical Trust.

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