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Menino urges residents to help preserve Boston

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said he cherished neighborhood restoration at the commencement of Preservation Month on Saturday, speaking about the importance of preserving sites for future generations to come.

“We have to think about the future for all of our people, not just some of our people,” Menino said in his speech at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.

He congratulated the winners of Discover Roxbury’s scavenger hunt, the first of many activities organized by the Boston Landmarks Commission for its annual and nationwide Preservation Month throughout May.

Boston Landmarks Commission Executive Director Ellen Lipsey said in a phone interview that it is important to emphasize this national celebration because in Boston, people tend to take it for granted.

“We live in a city that is so historic, the neighborhoods are really old compared to most cities,” she said, “and it runs a very special quality to Boston that makes it a special place to live and to work.”

For the first time, the commission produced a calendar of activities that will take place all over the city during May.

Teha Woodrow, a Roxbury resident of 40 years and a member of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, said she participated in the scavenger hunt with her Little Sister to show her places she knew as a kid.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to kind of revisit my childhood, but also introduce some of the things that I grew up with to my Little Sister,” Woodrow said.

Little Sister Kai Harriet said she “had a lot of fun” while going around Roxbury and learning about places from her Big Sister.

Lipsey said Preservation Month allows people to experience places they might have never been to before.

“We do think Boston is a very special place and this is the opportunity to . . . inform [us] about places we don’t go to everyday or we don’t think of as historic but are because they are part of the community and people’s lives,” she said.

Derek Lumpkins, executive director of Discover Roxbury, said the scavenger hunt and the attraction of Preservation Month helped draw in people to learn about Roxbury and its role as an historical part of Greater Boston.

Preservation is important because a number of people do not think about it happening in a neighborhood such as Roxbury, he said.

“They kind of pass through or overlook it or forget about it,” he said. “This was a good way to sort of pull in a different crowd of people – the historians as well as the families – who want to teach their kids about historic preservation, historic buildings or history in general.”

Historic Boston Incorporated’s office manager Gillian Lang said preserving the architecture and environment of Boston is a way to show pride in the city.

“We’re really lucky that Boston is such a unique city, and part of what makes it unique is this architecture, this built environment that’s so different from anywhere else,” Lang said. “Keeping that and preserving it is a really important way of showing our pride in Boston.”

The preservation calendar includes talks, walking tours, open houses, demonstrations, presentations and exhibitions that highlight different neighborhoods of the city.

Woodrow said while some things have been left out of the calendar, residents can still record their own experiences to share with others.

“If people start coming together,” she said, “they will want to write some stuff down and give their thoughts, reflections and bring it alive again for everybody.”

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