Day: February 18, 2010

Rugby, Tennessee – Where My Preservation Career Began

Today’s PreservationNation blog has a story and video about Historic Rugby, a 2009 National Preservation Honor Award winner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  The blog post brought back great memories. Rugby was established in the 1880s by the successful Victorian-era author Thomas Hughes as a Utopian community for the second sons of English gentry.  Due to the system of primogeniture, these men would inherit little or no property and had very limited career opportunities.  Hughes established this colony in the beautiful but hard-scrabble Cumberland Plateau area of Tennessee.  After some initial success, the colony fell on hard times, ultimately failed and was largely forgotten.  In the mid-1960s, residents of the area began to restore the remaining historic buildings and over the course of five decades have saved this wonderful place and turned it into a thriving community and a favorite spot for tourists. That’s the official story.  The reason it is important to me is because it is where I undertook my first hands-on preservation work, leading to a career that’s now in …