Earthquakes and Historic Preservation
The South Napa earthquake reminded us that, yes, we live in California and so will continue to experience earthquakes. As a Native Californian, I have experienced many, but this is the first one from my 1889 Victorian. Its gives one somewhat of a different perspective. The house lived through the 1906 earthquake, but that is no guarantee it will continue to do so well. What are historic building owners and advocates of a community’s historic resources to do when their own properties are affected by an earthquake and those around them? I think it is important to remember that a “red tag” is not a notice of demolition or a requirement to demolish. After the earthquake is the time for a careful assessment of the building to protect the public welfare and the building itself from unnecessary further damage of its significant historic features. A lot of very good information is available on-line about this subject. The California Office of Historic Preservation’s website includes a “Disasters & Historic Resources” page http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25509 and a section on “What To Do After Disaster Strikes” http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25510. I hope for the recovery of the historic fabric and economic vitality of those recently damaged areas in Napa and Vallejo.