Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Matt Jones, who runs the website and blogspot Moved2, first alerted me to the loss of the Coleman house at the intersection of Front and Gurley Streets. Matt is an American journalist currently based in Monrovia. (

                                                Photo courtesy of Matt Jones/
                                             Photo courtesy of Matt Jones/

The house was featured in LAND AND LIFE REMEMBERED: Americo-Liberian Folk Architecture, by Holsoe, Herman and Belcher. Jones worries that more landmarks along Front Street, Broad, Ashmun and other areas are in danger.

While it is nice to see Monrovia undergoing a vibrant post-war construction boom and real estate market as  long-exiled property owners return home and liquidate their family homesteads, we should also remember that these architectural and historical treasures belong collectively to all Liberians. Their historical value translates into tourism potential, and development of historic sites translates into actual jobs for Liberian workers.

Our collective heritage can be a national asset and developmental aid, if proper attention is paid to preservation and restoration. We must act now to ensure the protection of historic buildings and sites. The need for a LANDMARKS PRESERVATION LAW is immediate, pressing and urgent.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission was established in 1965 when Mayor Robert Wagner signed the local law creating the Commission and giving it its power. The Landmarks Law was enacted in response to New Yorkers' growing concern that important physical elements of the City's history were being lost despite the fact that these buildings could be reused. Events like the demolition of the architecturally distinguished Pennsylvania Station in 1963 increased public awareness of the need to protect the city's architectural, historical, and cultural heritage.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is responsible for identifying and designating the City's landmarks and the buildings in the City's historic districts. The Commission also regulates changes to designated buildings.

HPSOL (Historical Preservation Society of Liberia) is committed to raising awareness of the need to protect Liberia's historical and cultural heritage, and to nominating the country for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.!/pages/Historical-Preservation-Society-of-Liberia/156363354386853

                                                     Photo By Ute Klissenbauer and Korto Williams

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