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9935Re: Formal Organization

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  • Albert LaFrance
    Mar 5, 2006
      A few years ago, we occasionally discussed the possibility of establishing a formal nationwide (or
      worldwide) organization dedicated to preservation, documentation and education related to Cold
      War-era infrastructure. Since our list's membership has grown dramatically since then, I thought it
      might be worthwhile to bring up that topic again.

      To start things off, I'd like to suggest that, for many aspects of field of research, our best
      option might be to work through existing groups and to concentrate our efforts at the local level,
      while informally coordinating and supporting each other through this list. Doing so would help us
      avoid the complexities and expenses of managing a large organization whose membership would be very
      diverse in terms of location and areas of interest.

      While I don't think there's any existing organization whose mission encompasses everything we're
      interested in, there *are* many groups whose scope includes one or more facets of those interests.

      For example, the Recent Past Preservation Network (http://www.recentpast.org/) is dedicated to
      documenting and saving those relatively modern buildings and other structures which are often
      overlooked by the architectural preservation community due to their perceived lack of importance.
      The RPPN's work explicitly includes several categories of structures interesting to us; namely, Cold
      War military and aerospace sites, radio, TV and telephone facilities, and communications towers.
      Membership is only $15/year, and the group has (and is seeking) state-level coordinators who would
      be excellent contacts.

      Another option is to work with local historical societies. My impression, at least here in the
      east, is that many of these organizations tend to focus on the 19th century and are often not aware
      of significant, more recent places and events in their areas. List members might consider offering
      to write an article for their society's newsletter, or giving a talk at their meeting. Almost every
      locality has *something* related to Cold War communications; even a simple AT&T repeater hut or
      microwave tower could be quite interesting to people who don't know its place in the nationwide
      network, or the vast differences between the telecom technologies of the Cold War period and today.

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