Lee H. Nelson

Lee H. Nelson

Honored guests and friends. On behalf of my family, we thank everyone for coming to this dedication. It is a great honor and privilege for our family to be here.

The germ of an idea born about 35 years ago in Philadelphia has actually happened. Lee’s idea for a national preservation technology center was nurtured and brought forth periodically during the 1970’s and 80’s, never quite getting past the talking stage.

In 1992, Congress provided for the creation of such a center with support by Senator Johnston. With the help of Northwestern State University of Louisiana past President Robert Alost and current President Randy Webb, National Park Service people such as Blaine Cliver, John Robbins, Pat Tiller and others, the idea was brought to fruition and now has a permanent home in this historic building.

It is most fitting that the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training finds itself in a historic structure and it’s certainly a use of the building that would have made Lee proud and happy.

Technology and training are almost synonymous for Lee and his interests. He had envisioned a career in the teaching field, but he was fascinated by technology, especially innovative treatments for historic structures using new materials. Fortunately for preservation, he was able to pursue both interests throughout his career.

As more architects became interested in entering the historic preservation field, it became important for them to receive the necessary training to build skills needed in the care and treatment of historic structures. He felt that a center dedicated to historic building technology and research could find answers to the preservation problems architects face. In the meantime, he put his efforts into educating those architects and the public about historic preservation. This was accomplished through the development of the “Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation Projects,” the “Preservation Briefs” series, the “TechNotes” series and many other articles and papers. He was a mentor to his staff and encouraged them to research a topic, write about it and share it with others.

Our family is very pleased that you have honored Lee’s contributions through the rehabilitation and renaming of this historic building. It is our hope that Lee’s dream for the center and his written efforts will inspire those who work in this place as they endeavor to find new ways to preserve historic structures and to share that information with others.

Thank you all very much.

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