So if you’re curious about historic preservation, have an affinity for architecture and historic buildings, want to know the proper name for that decorative thingamajig on your house, or are just generally a nerd and need to know everything about everything like me, here’s a list of my (current) top list of books and resources I recommend everyone read who wants to know more about preservation in general and conservation topics specifically. If you have a favorite book or resource that I haven’t listed, please send me a message so I can check it out!
The ultimate visual compendium of domestic American architectural styles. Required reading for students of historic preservation – fun historic neighborhood walking companion for architecture buffs.
An introduction to its history principles and practice THIRD EDITION
Again, basically a textbook, but covers all the basics. I’m recommending the third edition, even though it hasn’t come out yet, because it has included some very important updated issues and conversations relevant to the 21st century and also maybe one of my friends was a contributing author 😊
Curious about historic masonry issues and repair? Thinking about fixing some old plaster? Interested in historic porch designs? Gas stations? Water Repellant??? ITS ALL HERE!!!!!
or … Part of my personal vintage collection, Cover to Better Homes & Gardens, Handyman’s Book, published 1957
Because at some point your old house may need repair, and you will want to know how to make sense of what past homeowners and contractors did with materials that are not necessarily modern or available at Lowes. Also, I swear to you I haven’t found a good old home repair book that didn’t have fantastic illustrations. Just pure joy looking at a good hand drawn plumbing layout plan. Maybe that’s just me?
Amazing! Fantastic! I reference it constantly! Very helpful and insightful for any old building owner. Really great instruction on how to inspect and maintain old buildings. Not to mention it was written by our own Judith L Kitchen, previously of Ohio’s State Historic Preservation Office.
How Jane Jacobs Took On New York’s Master Builder
and Transformed the American City
The title pretty much says it all. A scrappy grassroots citizen opposes the seemingly indominable city developers to stave off the worst of urban renewal that was affecting her city. If you don’t know why urban renewal is evil and you’ve never thought about the destructive byproducts of highway development and widespread neighborhood demolitions for new construction… you need this book.
Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City
Preservation is not all about physical buildings, its also about maintaining history and community. This book is a great illustration of that. The author might sound a bit… privileged lets say.. but its still an entertaining story.
This is a basic beginners list – feel free to send me recommendations for a future update!