Paul Kapp
2017 James Marston Fitch Mid-Career Fellowship
Heritage and the Great Depression: How Historic Preservation Created the Old South

During the Great Depression, architects, politicians, and entrepreneurial women in the Deep South collaborated to redefine the aging, dilapidated buildings of their cities and towns by designating them as historic landmarks. Seizing on an opportunity provided by New Deal programs, they did this not necessarily to preserve their ancestors’ legacies, but to improve their present and future economic status and to create— intentionally—a thriving new industry: what we know today as cultural tourism. This research and subsequent book will tell the story of this remarkable transformation and analyze its cultural significance.