May is Preservation Month, and we are ready to celebrate! Everyone has places that are important to them. Places they care about. Places that matter. This Place Matters is a national campaign that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities. — savingplaces.org
Have you ever wondered what future generations will know about you? Every now and then that thought wanders through my mind. Every generation leaves a legacy—a story of the people who struggled together, found amazing solutions to the perplexing problems of their day and blazed a trail as a foundation for the next generation that was soon to follow.
Too many times our culture seeks to find new answers to old problems. Knowing our forebears, understanding their struggles and embracing their successes help us to move forward. It is true that those who forget history are destined to repeat it.
This place, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, is replete with the stories of a society dedicated to a common purpose. The lessons that they learned here—the legacy that they left us—teach us how to live together with kindness and respect and to honor the land and the bounty it provides. Their story shouts out from the buildings they created, is captured in the gentle landscape that they loved and oozes from the written record that they left behind.
This place matters because it touches our hearts, encouraging us to be better citizens of this earth—to be people who inspire greatness in others and to be gentle and kind to those who struggle. Each generation leaves something behind. What will you leave behind? This place gives us direction, it inspires us to reach new heights and it gives us comfort to know that together we can build a legacy just as enduring as the one they left us. This place matters. Maynard Crossland
It’s a gathering of guests, co-workers and friends alike. It’s a place where new families are formed, meals are shared and history is made daily. Co-workers gather in the morning to make sure all guests are treated with great hospitality and knowledge of the Shakers who once lived here. It’s a beautiful place where beautiful weddings are performed and families come together. This unique little village is a place I not only call my workplace, but also where my life adventures happen. Wally Bottoms
Shaker Village matters because what the Shakers created should be preserved. Whitney Franklin
It’s more important, and maybe more difficult than ever, for all of us to remember that we’re part of the same village. We’re all in this together. Shaker Village allows us to take a moment to consider how strong we can be when we work as one team—and in balance with the natural world around us. This place inspires us through the example of the Shakers to be our best, together. Billy Rankin
The lives of human beings have changed so much over the last few hundred years that the lifestyles of the Shakers can seem completely irrelevant to our own at first glance. Our connections to our homes—and our land—can easily be overlooked or ignored in today’s high-tech world, but ultimately, our dependence on our physical space is no less real today than it was then. Shaker Village is unique in its ability to connect past and present, to allow the mind to wander freely between the two and with any luck, arrive finally in a future we’d all like to live in. This place matters. Dylan Kennedy
This place matters because the Pleasant Hill Shakers, while gone for nearly a century, are still a relevant group of people today.
This was a place where they looked for solutions to big ideas. The Shakers were here with the question of spiritual perfection in mind. What bigger idea is there than that?! Today, it is a place where both individuals and groups come for inspiration, perhaps from a spiritual standpoint, but often for other reasons. It’s not a stretch to think that big ideas are being tackled here all the time.
It was a home for people who needed a home. The cross-section of different people who came here is striking, and under normal circumstances, I don’t believe that many of these people would have ever crossed tracks. There were single mothers, aristocrats, freed slaves and former soldiers, among many, many others who found their way here. And in many cases, they stayed the rest of their lives. And for those who did leave, they often kept up with those they left behind, often writing letters and visiting periodically. They were family. This was home.
It was a place where they were able to emphasize common humanity of people with whom they strongly disagreed. During the Civil War, large numbers of Union and Confederate soldiers passed through the village. The Shakers were committed to racial equality as an ideal, which would have put them at direct odds with many of the Confederate soldiers who passed through. They were also pacifists, seeing war as an action directly in conflict with Christian identity, and this would have put them directly at odds with any soldier who passed through. Yet, they often experienced soldiers who were starving, injured, ragged and barefoot, and immediately moved to address these needs despite what they might have thought of the ideologies embodied in the uniforms. I think the Shakers teach us that it’s possible to treat those with whom you strongly disagree with a degree of respect and common humanity, and this is one of the more needed lessons in our country today. Aaron Genton
Shaker Village matters to me, because it represents “family.” This is a place that has hosted my family for reunions, day trips, Mother’s Days, escapes from city life, an experience to share with visiting family and friends, and so much more. Three generations of my family have enjoyed this village and all it has to offer. Now I am enjoying being able to introduce Shaker Village to a fourth generation of my family, by bringing my nieces and nephew out here to explore and meet my work family. Amanda Beverly
Shaker Village matters because it can restore your soul. Brenda Roseman
This place matters because it’s preserving and providing access to the history of a passionate, intelligent, evolving community of people, who woke up, got dressed, went to work, did laundry, mowed the yard, repaired fences, traveled, learned, laughed, cried, grieved, celebrated, made decisions, overcame obstacles and grew as individuals…just like us today. Emálee Krulish
Why does Shaker Village matter to you?