Tersh Boasberg, Community Icon, Washington, DC

TTersh Boasbergersh Boasberg is a retired lawyer and active professor of historic preservation law at Georgetown Law Center. He was chairman of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (2000-2012); chairman and member of the DC Zoning Commission (1989-93); chairman of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City; founder and president of the Cleveland Park Historical Society; founder and chairman of Preservation Action, the national preservation lobbying group. He has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

What led you to your field?

Always loved history, architecture, and travel

How does what you do relate to historic preservation?

I teach historic preservation law; I consult with historic preservation groups.

Why do you think historic preservation matters?

It adds so much to where you live; knowing the past will let you appreciate the present, and guide you in the future.

What courses do you recommend for students interested in this field?

Learn about history, art, architecture, politics, government, the environment.

Do you have a favorite preservation project? What about it made it special?

Saved the 1863 cavalry Battle of Brandy Station near Culpeper, VA. Classic 10-year legal battle. 

The odds were long against us; the people who lived there did not want a 2,000-acre truck transfer station or a Formula 1 race track on beautiful rural farms.

Can you tell us what you are working on right now?

Saving the 19C Ellen Biddle Shipman garden at Tregaron in Cleveland Park, Washington, DC

How do you think the national historic preservation programs help your community?

It keeps preservation in the news; and dramatizes its success stories.

Do you have advice for novice preservationists?

Get involved at the neighborhood and local levels!

The ACHP’s mission is “preserving America’s heritage;” can you give us an example of how your community is preserving its heritage?

50,000 local buildings are protected as well as 50 historic districts in DC

How does law help play a role in the preservation field?

Our local Historic Preservation Act of 1973 plays the most vital role in protecting our local structures and historic districts; preventing demolition, and making new construction compatible with the historic district.

How can you use your status as a community icon to shape your community’s historic preservation outlook?

Get involved.

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