For Immediate Release: 06/09/12
Civil War Trust Honors Top Preservation Advocates
Recipients of 2012 Preservation Awards lauded for groundbreaking work in battlefield protection
(Richmond, Va.) – During a banquet held during the organization’s 2012 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer lauded a variety of individuals and organizations as recipients of the 2012 Preservation Awards, recognizing extraordinary achievements in the cause of Civil War preservation. The evening marked the culmination of four days of lectures, tours and special programming based at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond.
“The outstanding individuals and organizations we honor this evening represent the epitome of the historic preservation movement,” said Lighthizer. “Their efforts stretch across decades, demonstrating the way that concerted and consistent work can culminate in monumental achievements that will be felt for generations to come.”
Lighthizer noted that this gathering of the organization coincided with the 25th anniversary of the modern battlefield preservation movement. In the summer of 1987 a group of historians, disturbed by the destruction of the northern Virginia Chantilly Battlefield for a shopping mall, decided to take action, forming the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites (APCWS) — a direct ancestor of the current Civil War Trust. To mark the occasion, Lighthizer premiered a short video highlighting some of the organization’s greatest achievements and outlining a vision for the next phase in the movement. The video is available on the Trust website at www.civilwar.org/ourmissionvideo.
Over the years, the Trust has used its Preservation Awards to honor a wide variety of individuals and groups for their work to preserve endangered Civil War battlefields. Previous winners include historians, National Park Service personnel, celebrities and even residential developers. Despite such disparate backgrounds, all have made unique and lasting contributions to historic preservation.
The 2012 Preservation Award- winners recognized tonight are:
Edwin C. Bearss Lifetime Achievement Award: This honor was given to three individuals who have demonstrated exceptional merit in and extensive commitment to Civil War battlefield preservation, dating back to the very origins of the modern movement:
Edward Wenzel, of Vienna, Va., was one of the original voices advocating on behalf of the Chantilly Battlefield, the destruction of which ultimately led to the creation of the first national battlefield preservation group. His work led to a front page story in the Washington Post in October 1986 that created the first national uproar over a battlefield’s destruction. He was also a driving force in the Save the Battlefield Coalition, which fought against a proposed mall at Manassas in 1988, and a founding board member of the APCWS.
Clark B. “Bud” Hall, of Heathsville, Va., was another of the earliest crusaders for preservation at Chantilly, alongside Edward Wenzel. In addition to working with the fledgling ABCWS, Hall went on to become the founder of the Brandy Station Foundation, which defeated development schemes including a Formula One racetrack proposed for the battlefield. Today, the preserved and interpreted Brandy Station Battlefield remains one of the Civil War Trust’s crowning achievements.
Tersh Boasberg, of Washington, D.C., a leading land use and preservation attorney, provided the legal acumen that enabled some of the earliest battlefield preservation victories. His belief in the necessity of a formal inquiry to establish the status of preservation at the full range of battlefields was a contributing factor in the establishment of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission. In 2010, Boasberg concluded a decade-long tenure as chair of Washington, D.C.’s Historic Preservation Review Board.
Carrington Williams Battlefield Preservationist of the Year Award: This award, named for the first chairman of the Civil War Trust, was presented to Mark Perreault of Norfolk, Va., whose efforts as a co-founder of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park were instrumental to the designation of the 396th unit of the National Park System. Fort Monroe was the site of Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s landmark “contraband decision,” whereby escaped slaves who reached Union lines would be deemed contraband of war and not returned to their masters. By war’s end, more than 10,000 men and women in bondage had made the journey to “Freedom’s Fortress.”
Brian C. Pohanka Preservation Organization of the Year Award: This award was named after the late Brian Pohanka, an outstanding historian and one of the founders of the modern battlefield preservation movement. This year, two awards were presented.
Founded in 1896, the Museum of the Confederacy owns the world’s most comprehensive collection of artifacts and documents related to the Confederate States of America, in total over 130,000 items — the vast majority of them donated directly from the soldiers and families who lived through America’s most defining era. This spring, the museum opened a new facility in Appomattox, Va., a state-of-the-art facility to conserve and display additional key pieces of the collection.
Since their founding in 2001, the Friends and Descendants of Johnson’s Island Civil War Prison in Ohio have worked hard to preserve, reclaim and interpret a prisoner of war camp that served as home to 10,000 Confederate officers. Working with Heidelberg University’s Center for Historic and Military Archaeology, the Friends have brought more than 10,000 middle and high school students to the island, where they have participated in an experiential learning program in historic archaeology, helping uncover and study the site.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more by visiting www.civilwar.org, the home of the Sesquicentennial.