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Historic Conservation

by Jaye Sudar

    Conservation isn′t just about the environment, resources or even old buildings.  Converting the old Huerfano County High School into the new library is fantastic.  Saving the power plant from the Walsen mine is wonderful.  However, there is a type of historic conservation that we neglect at our peril.  That history is our own personal family stories.

    At the Spanish Peaks Library opening celebrations, Jon Sudar began his program with a plea… to conserve your personal stories. Thousands of photographs are thrown away, lost or just forgotten every year.  People die, and their children have no idea of who the people are in the old photos and figure that no one will care.  Photos get tossed.  History gets lost.  Sudar explained that there are ways to prevent those losses.  Write down who is in the pictures.  Share them with family or the local historical society.  Keep your history alive by writing it down.  Letters and journals are a great medium to save your history.  He explained that the library can help you digitize your photos or documents in order to share and save them.

    This sentiment was echoed at the dedication ceremony at Ludlow on June 29.  Ludlow received its historical landmark designation because people involved with the United Mine Workers Union understood the importance of history.  In order to preserve the history of Ludlow, they purchased the property in 1915 and have kept it up so that 95 years after that event, we can honor those who died.  Cecil E. Roberts drove home the point that history is important time and time again.  Without history, the sharing of stories, we lose part of our humanity.  We lose part of our story.  Loss of history decreases our connection to who and what we are.

    Take time this summer to change that alarming trend of historic loss.  Talk to your parents and grandparents.  Write down their stories.  Label those pictures.  Share your history.  Genealogy isn′t just for your auntie or someone down at the library or courthouse.  Genealogists are doing their best to preserve the stories of ordinary persons and their families.  If you have items you don′t want or know what to do with, contact your local historical society.  Museums and libraries don′t come up with those wonderful displays overnight or out of thin air. They come from the donations of ordinary people sharing their family stories.  Discover your history and share it.