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Preserving the West.


What's happening to our architectural heritage as the West continues to grow and new buildings seem to rise faster and faster in our cities, towns, and countryside? What are the success stories and where are some of the failures? A new book begins to answer these questions: Preserving the West, by Randolph Delahanty and E. Andrew McKinney (Pantheon Books, New York, 1985; $17.95).

Historic sites, eccentric individual buildings, and even whole blocks from earlier eras are identified and discussed in detail. For example, the book describes one of the last intact old Mormon landscapes, the village of Spring City, Utah, about a hundred miles south of Salt Lake City; here, the castle-like Manti temple overlooking the San Pitch River valley forms a vivid monument to an earlier age.

Elsewhere, the authors review the successful combination of tourism and historic preservation in the gold-mining town of Jacksonville, Oregon. The book also covers easily overlooked aspects of the built environment, like the retaining walls, bridges, and viaducts of the Columbia River Scenic Highway (recently the object of a historical and engineering survey in the first step of its planned, long-term preservation).

It's the kind of book to use as you find time to explore cities and back roads across the West. It's not a guidebook, but more a record of how much Western architecture is being or needs to be preserved for the future.

Photo: Mission San Xavier del Bac (1783), near Tucson, graces the cover of a new book on historic structures in seven Western states
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1986
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