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Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016

Mammoth Spring designated a Preserve America Community

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Although a transplant to the city of Mammoth Spring, longtime Mayor Jean Pace says there isn't much about the city's history that she doesn't know.

For years, Pace has collected history and artifacts revealing stories of the city, its buildings, businesses, landscape and inhabitants. Pace first came to the city as a young schoolteacher, married and fell in love with the city.

"I have collected a lot of stuff," Pace said Thursday, May 26, from City Hall on Main Street, where Pace has served as mayor for nearly three decades.

When people hear of her interest in the city's rich history, they give her memorabilia to add to the mix, including the old paintings of long-ago Mammoth Spring that now hang in City Hall.

So, in March 2009, when President Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Pace began gathering what she'd need for the city to be recognized under the act's affiliate program, Preserve America.

Through the act that Obama signed, Preserve America formed as part of the national historic preservation program, a federal effort to encourage and support community heritage projects.

Two years later, Mammoth Spring was honored when First Lady Michelle Obama designated it as one of the nation's newest Preserve America communities.

"President Obama and I want to congratulate all of the Preserve America communities and thank them for their commitment to protecting and strengthening America's cultural and natural heritage," First Lady Obama said in a press release.

Communities designated through the program receive national recognition for their accomplishments in preserving historic places and telling the nation's story.

Preserve America logo

The city can now use the Preserve America logo on educational and promotional materials, a community sign, listing in a Web directory showcasing the city's heritage tourism destinations and other support.

To be eligible, the city had to meet three general criteria: It had to recently support a historic or cultural preservation project to promote tourism or otherwise foster economic vitality; it had to pass a resolution indicating commitment to preservation; and it had to meet five criteria to promote and protect historic sites and assets.

With the designation, the city is now eligible to apply for grants.

Pace already has one application in the works -- a grant to help the city transfer a 1983 Mammoth Spring school project to DVD. For the project, students interviewed elderly residents who grew up in Mammoth Spring. Their research was documented in a slide presentation.

Pace said, if a grant is approved, the presentation will be enhanced on DVD.

Another school project, under the direction of teacher Rose Walsh, involved researching the city. Pace would like to see Walsh's students' work bound in a book that would be available as a research or educational tool.

The city also is looking for more creative people to join a committee to help preserve the city's history. Pace also hopes that people who own old, beautiful homes in Mammoth Spring will register them.

Mammoth Spring earned its Preserve America designation along with eight others in May, including Tiverton, Rhode Island, which restored a complex of vacant 1880s buildings into commercial and residential space. Where the city used to collect $13,000 in tax revenue yearly, it now projects collecting $574,000 annually when the project is complete.

Almost 870 Preserve America communities have been designated across the country, including historic neighborhoods within large cities and tribal communities.

To learn more, visit www.preserveamerica.gov.

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