The Vernacular Architecture Forum encourages and supports citizen efforts to protect our vernacular built heritage. We do so in part through our Award for Advocacy, which was established to recognize exemplary efforts and achievements in advocacy. This year, the VAF’s Advocacy Committee presented its second Award for Advocacy at the Butte Conference to Butte Citizens for Preservation and Revitalization, better known as Butte CPR.
Butte CPR lives up to the high standard set by our inaugural award last year in Fresno, which was presented to the "Preserving California’s Japantowns" project, a statewide effort to identify, research and document historic resources located in Japantowns throughout California.
All those who attended the Butte Conference experienced the fruits of Butte CPR’s work firsthand. Founded 15 years ago, Butte CPR works with local government, businesses, civic organizations and individuals to preserve and promote the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark District and the nearly 6,000 historically-significant resources that it encompasses.
The City of Butte was literally built on a foundation of copper whose exploitation at first sustained the community, and then consumed it. While it’s hard to ignore mining’s legacy of environmental devastation, Butte CPR recognizes that this same legacy has endowed Butte with a unique heritage that--if wisely protected and promoted-- can provided the community with a sustainable future, providing the city with its competitive edge.
Through their educational tours, lectures, preservation workshops, website, articles, and participation in public forums and events, Butte CPR promotes public awareness of the value of historic architecture. Their award program celebrates individuals and groups for outstanding stewardship of historic structures.
Butte CPR provides financial assistance to preserve, restore, and revitalize historic buildings. Butte CPR's efforts have helped save or otherwise benefit dozens of buildings, both residential and commercial, including the Mary MacLane House, the Dumas Brothel, the O’Rourke, and the Acoma. When appropriate, they mothball abandoned buildings, securing and stabilizing them for future use. To date, they have given nearly $25,000 in small Historic Improvement Grants to local property owners.
Since its inception, Butte CPR has actively engaged in local government and policy. CPR advocates for economic revitalization through historic preservation that is supported by preservation-friendly public policy, and played a central role in the 2007 passage of a historic preservation ordinance that includes mandatory demolition reviews and renovation design guidelines.
In their nomination of Butte CPR for the VAF Award for Advocacy, the Montana Preservation Alliance noted that Butte CPR is a superior award candidate for its outstanding initiative, tenaciousness, creativity, and commitment. The VAF board couldn’t agree more, and congratulates Butte CPR for its achievements.