La Porte City Historic
Historic Preservation is an outreach effort of the National Park Service to reach local communities through designating Certified Local Government (CLG) status. The purpose of a Historic Preservation CLG is to provide a leadership structure for preserving local history.
The National Park Service designated the city of La Porte City a CLG in 1993. Through the certification process, communities make a local commitment to historic preservation. This commitment is key to America’s ability to preserve, protect, and increase awareness of our unique cultural heritage found in the built environment across the country.
Each CLG entity, including the one in La Porte City, operates as a branch of local government. Its structure includes a board of up to 7 directors who serve three-year terms, and follow the regular procedures of a government entity. These individuals demonstrate a positive interest in historic preservation, and have interest or expertise in architecture, archeology and history.
“Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward.”
~ Soren Kierkegaard
What does Historic Preservation do?
What is Historic Preservation?
According to the National Park Service, Historic Preservation is a conversation with our past about our future. It provides us with opportunities to ask, "What is important in our history?" and "What parts of our past can we preserve for the future?"
Through Historic Preservation, we look at history in different ways, ask different questions of the past, and learn new things about our history and ourselves. Historic Preservation is an important way for us to transmit our understanding of the past to future generations.
In La Porte City, recent projects of the Historic Preservation CLG include developing the walking tour display boards throughout the city; securing placement of properties on the National Register of Historic Places; and creating a website to capture information and images significant to the city’s history.
Historic Preservation in La Porte City relies on the efforts of dedicated volunteers to raise funds, write grants, and execute these projects. The group also has a close working relationship with the City Council and the La Porte City FFA and Agricultural Historic Museum.
“In the end, the character of a civilization is encased in its structures.”
~ Frank Gehry
Founder of La Porte City
The mission of the La Porte City Historic Preservation Commission is to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the recognition, enhancement and perpetuation of sites and districts of historic and cultural significance.
“A city without old buildings is like a man without a memory.”
~ Graeme Shankland
Historic Preservation Volunteers
Current members of the La Porte City Historic Preservation Commission are:
“History is who we are, and why we are the way we are.”
~ David McCullough
A Tribute to Our Founder
Geraldine “Gerry” Wester spearheaded the efforts to secure La Porte City’s designation as a Historic Preservation CLG in 1993.
For more than 20 years, Gerry served as a Historic Preservation board member, during which time she worked tirelessly to earn placement for local buildings and homes on the National Register of Historic Places. She succeeded in placing 7 buildings and homes on the Register, which is very unusual for a town the size of La Porte City. Most of the nominations took 3 years to complete.
Gerry’s love of, and commitment to, local history was emblematic in every facet of her abundant life. She and her husband, Ray, owned and lived in the historic Gingrich home at 300 Walnut for several decades, where they raised their 9 children. She truly served as the face of preservation in La Porte City, and is owed a debt of gratitude from us all.
“The past actually happened. History is what someone took the time to write down.”
~A. Whitney Brown