Preservation Easements: Configuring an Historic Preservation Strategy

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Sprouse, David Paul
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Middle Tennessee State University
The mating of federal tax incentives to historic preservation easements in the Tax Reform Act of 1976 reflected a shifting preservation ethos. As practitioners began to reevaluate long-held assumptions that privileged architecture over community, their focus turned from the preservation of exceptional, individual buildings toward the conservation of entire historic districts as an integrated whole. While preservation easements provide an important legal mechanism for safeguarding America's historic, built environment for future generations, their usage has also been linked with questionable financial schemes and charges of facadism. This thesis explores the interplay between preservation practice and process, between the institutions that govern the profession and the practitioners that seek to codify a particular historicity. It is ironic, then, that by aligning preservation easement policy with such authoritative governmental institutions as the Department of the Interior and the Internal Revenue Service that the easement program now faces an uncertain political future.
Covenant, Easement, Facade, Historic, Preservation, Tax