Nantucket vs. Buffalo: Embracing Preservation

What a magical little place Nantucket is.

The design standards and strict preservation efforts have helped to preserve this incredible little island.. It’s sorta like a time capsule of history and memories. (see photos below!)

Nantucket History 101:

The Nantucket history is pretty incredible. Nantucket gained its wealth through the whaling industry during the 1700s. It was the place to be. Well, once it lost its whaling significance in the mid 1800s due to whale herd decline and port issues, a focus was placed on tourism/preservation of its building stock and history which is the reason Nantucket is where it is today. Today, Nantucket has over 800 pre civil war era buildings intact! It’s new builds are held to strict design standards and look exactly like the old ones. The island does not allow chain “box” stores to help ensure the old, historic buildings and shop fronts will be secured. The emphasis on preservation is almost extreme, but necessary, as the tourists come because of the islands differences and historic sites.

So how does Buffalo relate to Nantucket?

The loss of whaling really kept the houses intact because there was very little money available to rehab. Sounds sorta like buffalo, right? We have so many incredible historic houses because there wasn’t a lot of money to change them.. We even have one of the oldest lighthouses in the country that could be a tourist attraction but it’s closed off to the public..

Today, thanks to the decades of preservation efforts, Buffalo has also seen a property value stabilization and now strong growth of its preservation districts, which is similar to what Nantucket has seen!

Preservation is key…

I found it fascinating to see an entire area that embraced preservation and strict design standards for new and old buildings which has helped to stabilize, grow and maintain the success of Nantucket.

Buffalo can do this! We have the buildings and the grassroots preservation groups/efforts in place, now we need the infrastructure from a policy level(preservation plan, inventory of building stock, top 10 to save etc..) and a culture/community that fully embraces our history.

Todays million dollar question:

How can we get the Buffalo folks who are “broken” on Buffalo to believe in Buffalo, once again? When people believe they can, they do. If you believed in Buffalo, you would do things to make it better, right? The preservation naysayers say “tear it down” but how can we educate them on the economic benefits of preservation? How can they embrace our history and love our old buildings once again? If we figure it out, preservation will surly see increased community and governmental support.
So, how to we “fix” the broken people?!!??
Give me your ideas, thoughts and concerns, people! 🙂







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