Saturday, December 08, 2007

Tour Showcases VWB Talent, Dedication

Many people go to historic home tours for the glamour of tributes to past eras – the Victorian décor, the painstaking reconstruction of fabulous mansions and the craftsmanship that can never be duplicated at modern-day costs.

Behind the scenes on the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District’s Old Fashioned Christmas House Tour, there is another aspect of life in Plainfield that deserves recognition.

That is the commitment of talented individuals to making the most of their designated historic district association.

There are six residential historic districts in Plainfield, but not all districts rise to the level of the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District. Here, members regularly meet, hold events, keep track of negative influences and demonstrate a cohesive approach to what such a designation means.

A look at the district’s web site,, shows the dynamic approach of its members both toward responding to challenges (the Abbott Manor Nursing Home expansion) and keeping up the interest (Coriell Bed & Breakfast plans).

This is what all of the historic district associations should strive for.

The Van Wyck Brooks District seems to be especially favored in that it has many professionals in its midst who are willing to take the time to promote it.

In her research on the Crescent Area Historic District, Maria Pellum was surprised to find the number of apartment buildings and thus of renters who may not have the same awareness or interest as homeowners in other districts.

Look here for more information on all the historic districts:

Any invitation to the public to visit homes in these districts is worth taking up, depending on when district associations are ready to entertain.

Ticket fees are mostly plowed back into district improvements. The Van Wyck Brooks District in the past has used proceeds to plant trees throughout the district.

So come to admire the old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere, but keep in mind the network of dedicated individuals who are preserving the Victorian legacy for future generations.


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