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The Conservancy was founded in 1973 by a small group of architects, lawyers, planners, writers, and preservationists eager to save and reuse landmark buildings. Our early successes include saving the U.S. Custom House on Bowling Green and the Fraunces Tavern block, also in Lower Manhattan, restoring the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn, and converting the Federal Archive Building in Greenwich Village to residential apartments and stores. As the Conservancy grew, we developed financial and technical assistance programs that became models and have made us one of the leading preservation groups in the country.
Since the Conservancy’s founding, our programs have provided more than $40 million in grants and low-interest loans, accompanied by countless hours of hands-on technical consulting, revitalizing neighborhoods and preserving the character of our City for future generations.
For more than 25 years, the Technical Services program has provided expert architectural and preservation advice to property owners, developers, and contractors. The 1982 conversion of the Federal Archive Building created the Historic Properties Fund, now the nation’s largest revolving loan fund used exclusively for historic preservation. The Fund’s loans are available to owners of historic residential, commercial, religious, and nonprofit buildings.
The Sacred Sites Program, founded in 1986, became one of the first programs to offer technical assistance and grants to landmark churches, synagogues, mosques, and meetinghouses. The Conservancy also publishes Common Bond, a national journal for historic religious properties. The same year, the City Ventures Fund was established to aid non-profit community development organizations in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Its grants and loans help convert non-landmarked, architecturally significant buildings into affordable housing and community service centers.
The Conservancy advocates for preservation in Washington, Albany, and at City Hall. We encourage sound policies that incorporate preservation as an integral part of urban planning. To safeguard the more than 21,000 building protected by the City’s Landmarks Law, the Conservancy works closely with property owners, community groups, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and other public agencies.
The Conservancy also hosts a wide variety of elegant, educational, and fun events. Our signature Living Landmarks gala create new ambassadors for preservation each year. The Chairman’s Award and the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards recognize leaders in preservation. Our exclusive tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at some of the City’s great historic places. Lectures and book-signings inform the public of preservation issues.
The Landmarks Conservancy has not achieved success alone. In addition to our dedicated board and staff, our partners include other preservation organizations, public agencies, the real estate community, construction and design professionals, and a long list of faithful corporate, foundation, and individual supporters.