National Park Service awards $1M to help preserve underrepresented community history

By: Dave Barak

Mai Wah Noodle Parlor and Wah Chong Tai Company, established in 1894, the Wah Chong Tai served as Butte’s preeminent Chinese general store for Butte, MT.  Photo courtesy of Acroterion.
WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) today awarded $1 million in Underrepresented Community Grants to 22 projects in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. These funds will support the identification, planning and development of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places to increase representation of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color listed in the system.  “There are endless American stories yet to be recognized on a national stage like the National Register of Historic Places. The Underrepresented Community Grant program provides our state, Tribal, and Certified Local Government partners the means to identify and nominate their most significant places and stories for the benefit of all,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams.   This years’ grants will fund projects such as a National Register nomination for the San Antonio Mission de Pala Asistencia, also known as the Pala Mission in San Diego, which was built in 1816 by Spanish missionaries. In Montana, one project will survey and develop nominations for Chinese American sites – the first project in the state to focus on this history. Another survey and nomination in of African American sites in San Antonio, TX, will focus on five areas near downtown which have largely been untouched by urban renewal and modern redevelopment.    The Underrepresented Community Grant program is supported by the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to assist with a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars, with the intent to mitigate the loss of a nonrenewable resource to benefit the preservation of other irreplaceable resources.  Established in 1977, the HPF is authorized at $150 million per year through 2023 and has provided more than $2 billion in historic preservation grants to states, Tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations. Administered by the NPS, HPF funds may be appropriated by Congress to support a variety of historic preservation projects to help preserve the nation’s cultural resources.  Learn more about NPS historic preservation programs and grants and the Underrepresented Community Grant program online.
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