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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

The Margaret Place Model

The joint venture between the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society (CHPS) and the Margaret Place Historical District (MPHD) went beyond delivering a Tour of Homes.

Our premise was, and is, simple; use the CHPS tour as a goal for a historic area (or a sub-set of a historic area) to come together to improve and showcase the homes and characteristics of that area.

While the 2013 tour will benefit from systems put in place this year, the grander achievement is that MPHD came together to accomplish signficant achievements and goals.

Once organized, one of the first things the leadership of MPHD did was identify areas of concern and opportunities for improvement. “Company’s coming” was a clarion call to motivate already interested neighbors to not only dress up their own properties for the stellar weekend’s activities, but also to address necessary and long-term neighborhood concerns.

Logistical support, planning and actual “dry runs” of how things would work entered into early planning sessions. While representatives of the Joint Committee were introducing lofty goals to the talent at the SWLA Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, MPHD was meeting with the Department of Public Works and others.

As the lines of communication opened, MPHD learned what they could expect from others and what sort of sweat equity was necessary on their part.

Is their work done? Absolutely not. The important thing is that a foundation of communication and heightened sense of community spirit has been achieved.

Those wanting to pursue a similar path must know that volunteerism, cooperative endeavor, and acceptance of responsibility are key. CHPS/MPHD’s early-on success was such that the Joint Committee gravitated to other alliances.

While the Margaret Place Model to date is now “out there” for scrutiny, know that it remains a work in progress. Regardless, the effort has progressed to an invitation for other neighborhoods to consider joining forces with CHPS for future tours and to consult MPHD if mentoring is needed.