Mission Statement

  • To preserve American historic buildings, landmarks and landscapes through a variety of national education and awareness programs.

  • To support local preservation efforts targeting more vigilant zoning and regulatory enforcements.

  • To encourage communities and homeowners with their restoration efforts, developing initiatives to foster collaborative efforts rather than demolition.

  • To showcase the economic benefits of restoration for individuals and communities.

  • To use our collective voices along with other historic organizations to nurture cultural connections, linking past generations with the present.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Ellen Dobbs Briggs, Founder, President

Born and raised in a pre-Revolutionary built home which is still located along the Hudson River, Ellen has been infected by the honor of living within the walls of history. During the summers, with her family, she slept, ate and played in an iconic history-filled guest windmill built by her Great Uncle Herbert Briggs in Chatham. MA. Eventually, Ellen’s mother and father had retired to their Chatham home where she visited whenever possible. Her father passed in 1983 followed by her mother thirteen years later. Fortunately, Ellen and Robert were able to buy this home from the estate in 1997. They enjoyed it part of the year as they continued to reside in Florida. Finally, with her husband, she decided to make Chatham their permanent home. By the end of 2018, they had sold their Florida house and become year-round Chatham residents.  What helped influence this life-style change was their decision to rescue the historic windmill her Great Uncle Herbert Briggs had built by having it moved onto their property for restoration.  Now fully immersed in the process of saving historic properties, to that end, Ellen has launched the non-profit Protect Our Past.

Her career includes sales and managing positions with, Ackerley Communications, Group W Satellite Communications (ABC, The Disney Channel, The Nashville Network), The Washington Post, Pier 1 (Istanbul, Turkey). After co-writing Are Your Kids Running On Empty and its accompanying cookbook, she created the Kid Kritics Approved program, the Family Food Experts and hosted its radio shows. After retiring to Chatham, MA, she is finding good use for all of that experience!


Frederick H. Ecker, II, Vice President


Historic Preservation Consultant, Frederick H. Ecker possesses a unique background that bridges the fields of restoration, preservation and conservation. Throughout his 35-year-career, he has worked with a wide variety of administrators and owners of more than 300 historic properties. These include federal, state, and local agencies; non-profit organizations and museums; private foundations; and private individuals. His knowledge and expertise in the realm of historic preservation is well-recognized, and his work with board members, federal, state, and local officials, and private owners is highly regarded. His goal is to demonstrate that careful, thoughtful, conservative preservation and restoration, respecting the original sanctity of a building, can have a positive impact on a city, a community, a congregation, or a private individual. Mr. Ecker strives to work with and educate all parties, public and private, about the value of our architectural heritage and our role as its stewards. Past and current projects include such well-known historic structures as The White House (Washington, DC), Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, VA), the Green-Meldrim House (Savannah, GA), the Edith Wharton Estate (Lenox, MA), The Octagon Museum (Washington, D.C.), and Monticello (Charlottesville, VA).

Geoff Hogan, Treasurer 

Geoff Hogan has been a senior executive in the high-tech field for over 35 years with a focus on venture backed information technology.  Companies have included Quantum, HighGround Systems, Princeton Softech and Imprivata.  His responsibilities have included product-line management, sales, marketing, business development and corporate development.  He holds a BA from Hobart College and an MBA from Boston University.

He was fortunate to have grown up in a family environment that was passionate about early American architecture/furniture and their preservation.  He and his wife moved to Harwich full-time in early 2020 after splitting time between the cape and greater Boston for many years.  Their two sons are in the technology and financial fields in San Francisco.


Winifred Lear, Secretary

Winnie Lear is a Chatham native whose family traces back to the 17th century when her ancestors settled in Chatham when it was still known as Monomoyick. Twelve generations of relatives have lived in the neighborhood know known as The Old Village. Her father’s family moved to Chatham 1912 when her father was hired as the plumbing contractor for the iconic Chatham Bars Inn.  She spent her childhood in Chatham and attended Chatham schools. After college she moved to Philadelphia where she and her family lived for forty years. There, she was an active member of the Board of Directors Chestnut Hill Historical Society as well as the Parents Association of the Germantown Friends School where she also taught for 18 years. She served for 25 years on the Board of Musical Cocktails Committee of the Philadelphia Orchestra and was also on the board of The Philadelphia Theater Company. In 2008 she and her husband retired and permanently moved to their home in Chatham. She is now the President of the Board of Directors of the Old Village Association, is a founding member of the Chatham Orpheum Board of Trustees where she serves as Secretary and is also on the board of The Chatham Cultural Council.
 

Winifred is committed to actively promoting the preservation of the architectural and social history of Chatham, Cape Cod.


J. Duncan Berry


J. Duncan Berry is a "visual equity analyst." His work centers on re-animating a brand's sensory equities in order to expand emotional connections with consumers/customers.  For many years managing director of a high-end, private label import company, Berry has extensive experience with global enterprise process management, marketing, systems design and quality control. He also maintains an international reputation as an art and architectural historian, publishing and lecturing at universities and academic symposia in the United States and Europe.

Berry was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Vienna (Austria), an IREX Scholar at the Technical University of Dresden (Germany), a Fellow of the Institute of International Studies, and University Fellow at Brown University where he received both his Ph. D. and A. M. degrees in the History of Art and Architecture. He received his undergraduate degree (with honors) from The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH).  He lives in Harwich, on Cape Cod, where he is actively working toward saving the historic captain’s row houses.


Eric Dray


Eric Dray has over twenty-five years of experience in the preservation field, with a focus on historic district and preservation planning issues. 

Mr. Dray graduated with a B.A. in History from Brown University and has both a Masters in Historic Preservation and a Law Degree from Boston University. Mr. Dray also spent a year mid-career studying Urban Planning at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. This educational background makes him uniquely qualified to provide a broad range of preservation planning services. 

Mr. Dray has extensive consulting experience with local communities including preparation of MHC Inventory Forms, National Register nominations, design review guidelines, and town-wide Preservation Plans and Survey Plans. Mr. Dray has also consulted with many Community Preservation Committees, including preparation of preservation restrictions. Prior to establishing his consulting business, Mr. Dray worked for six years as Historic District Administrator and Preservation Planner for the Boston Landmarks Commission. 

In addition to consulting, Mr. Dray was an Adjunct Professor in the Boston University Preservation Studies program from 2006-2013 where he taught preservation planning.

Mr. Dray's community work has also been extensive. In Provincetown, he was Chair of the Historic District Study Committee, where he successfully guided the drafting of the bylaw and guidelines and the public process towards adoption of a 1,500 property district in 2004. He served as a historic district commissioner in both Cambridge and Provincetown. He served as chair of the Provincetown Historical Commission for many years and was the Vice-Chair for the Community Preservation Committee. 


Stuart Green


Stuart Green is a retired Vice President of a high tech, internationally-focused mechanical engineering, consulting and manufacturing firm offering cooling solutions for computer chips in high heat dissipation electronics environments.  As a member of the senior management team, his responsibilities included worldwide Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. His forty years of senior level business experience also encompasses financial and administrative roles at a Big Six accounting firm, an international law firm with offices in the US and Saudi Arabia and two 501(c)3 organizations.  He holds Masters Degrees from Brown University and Bryant University. Over the course of his volunteer experience, he has been on the board of over a dozen nonprofit organizations.  Currently, he is a Trustee of the Chatham Historical Society and the Armenian Museum of America. He and his wife, Lisa, have homes in Chestnut Hill and Chatham, MA. Their son currently attends the University of Michigan.

 

John Harter

Currently retired and residing in Orleans, MA, John worked as an attorney focusing principally in commercial law, banking, real estate development and historic preservation. He currently serves on the Orleans Historical Commission which is focused on creating a new Historic District. He previously lived in Schenectady, NY where he chaired the City’s Historic District Commission overseeing three distinctly different historic district designated neighborhoods, one of which, the Stockade, which is the oldest historic district in New York State. He and his wife, Cris, lived in the Stockade in two homes constructed around 1820. He continues to work toward National Landmark status for their previous church in Stamford, CT – the “Fish Church” (First Presbyterian Church of Stamford), a mid-century modern gem constructed of walls of “dalle de verre” glass from ground to peak, and the only church designed by Wallace K Harrison.


Bebe Kemper Hunt 

Bebe Kemper Hunt says that "The world's upheavals are a great challenge to our universal sense of harmony, and it seems that the gift of art, whether it be painting, sculpture, film, music, or some other form, is one of the things that, if we let it, can restore the sense of peace in one's soul." In addition to being an Emeritus trustee and serving on the board of directors for the Kansas City Symphony, they are the co-founder of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Kemper is first and foremost an artist with homes in Kansas City, MO and Chatham, MA.

Carol L. Hutchinson


Since 1980, the Carol L. Hutchinson Photography and Design business has been active in Annapolis, MD, Washington, DC, Marblehead, MA and now Cape Cod. In addition, for fifteen years, Carol volunteered on the Board of Trustees for the Hammond-Harwood House Museum (Annapolis, MD) chairing many highly successful fundraising events and serving as President for five years. While living in Marblehead, MA and Annapolis, MD, she restored three historic homes. Since living in Chatham, MA she has also been a member of the Chatham Orpheum Theater Board of Trustees proving herself to be an invaluable fundraiser to rescue and restore this historic building. Part-time she has been a sales associate for interior design and now is one for an upscale clothing store in Chatham. Her passions include boating, walking, skiing and of course being with her children and grandchildren. 

Gregory Jacobs 

 

Managing Partner, Landmark Preservation LLC. Prior to earning a degree in Historic Preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design in 1997, Gregory Jacobs (Greg) began his preservation career by starting Renaissance Restorations, LLC, a company focused on the rehabilitation of condemned buildings in Savannah’s various historic districts.  Following graduation, he went on to rehabilitate dozens of historic commercial and residential structures.  His efforts were later broadened to pioneer the redevelopment of an entire neighborhood in Savannah, now commonly referred to as the Starland District.  In 2008, Greg accepted a position as Building’s Curator for Telfair Museums, Inc. in Savannah.  His curatorship included complete conservation and maintenance oversight of the Telfair Academy (the South’s oldest public art museum), the Owens-Thomas House Museum (one of the Country’s finest examples of English Regency architecture), and the state-of-the-art Jepson Center for the Arts (a Moshe Safdie designed modern art museum).  Greg’s responsibilities later expanded when he accepted the position of Deputy Director of Operations, which in addition to his duties as Building’s Curator, included development of operating budgets, long-range planning, and general site operations.  In 2011, Greg seized an opportunity to work for renowned preservationist Fred Ecker as a lead project manager within Mr. Ecker’s Tidewater Preservation firm.  Greg’s responsibilities within the organization included preservation planning, condition assessments, project estimating, proposal writing, and project management for all projects. 

During this time, Greg was exposed to a wide variety of preservation projects including many of significant national importance.  Under Mr. Ecker’s guidance, Greg expanded his knowledge of hands-on means and methods to include most historic preservation trades.  Following Fred Ecker’s retirement from full-time work in 2015, Greg co-founded Landmark Preservation LLC along with John Ecker, Fred’s son.  As Landmark’s managing partner, Greg is responsible for all assessments, project estimating, proposals, project management, and general business management.  Greg also works hands-on when the project schedule warrants it, giving him the opportunity to exhibit his preservation craftsmanship. 

Throughout the course of Greg’s career, he has restored and conserved countless historic structures. He possesses vast expertise in the assessment of historic structures, and the development of compatible, historically appropriate means and methods.  Furthermore, he has been instrumental in the hands-on conservation of a wide array of historic structures and their materials, including but not limited to: stone, masonry, slate, stucco, plaster, metal, carpentry, joinery, hardware, and finishes. Greg performs all work according to the guidelines established by the Department of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation, and subscribes to the Code of Ethics of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic Works.

Susan Wilson

Susan Foster Wilson is the daughter of former board member Anne Foster who passed away this past winter. Her grandfather first came to Chatham in 1910, and he bought property in North Chatham soon thereafter.  His children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren are still enjoying the same family house to this day.  Susan has spent almost every summer of her life in Chatham.  After graduating from Dana Hall School and Connecticut College, she lived in Tokyo and Paris, before returning to live and work in Boston. Susan worked in Sales and Marketing and later in Interior Design.  She has a love of old houses, dogs, sailing, painting, and preserving what is best about Chatham.

ADVISORY BOARD


Hannah Carlson
Carol Colecchi
Maura Cook

Melanie Langdon
Jane Moffett

Suzanna Nickerson
Mary Roberts

Maureen Vokey
Janet Whittemore

DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS

Ollie Becker, Director of MVFF Productions, tmvff.org

Ollie was born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, where he developed an interest in creative writing while a student at West Tisbury Elementary and MVRHS. When he graduated from Bard College in 2008, that interest had merged with filmmaking and he then spent 9 years in Los Angeles writing and producing unscripted series for the television networks CBS, History, and Discovery. Having produced over 200 hours of original content at all levels, from associate producer to showrunner, he's excited to bring his skill set back to the Vineyard and work for the MVFF to tell compelling stories about the people and places that make up this unique island community.

Thomas Bena, Founder, Creative Director of TMFF, tmvff.org


In 2001, while working as a carpenter on Martha’s Vineyard, Thomas founded the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival.  Now in its nineteenth year, the MVFF is a year-round cultural institution. It offers free filmmaking classes in the Island schools, workshops for children, a thriving summer film series, and an annual March film festival. In 2004, Thomas started shooting his first documentary feature, One Big Home. The film chronicles his efforts to understand the trend toward extra-large summer homes. It took 12 years to make and has screened in more than 100 venues in the U.S. and abroad, including the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Citizens in Honolulu, Vancouver, Truro, and Provincetown have used the film to galvanize support for their own town/city bylaws limiting house size. Thomas has spent almost three years traveling to speak about One Big Home, and continues to do so. The film is also available on iTunes, DVD, and Blu-ray disc. He has recently launched an interactive website to help the conversation continue to grow: www.onebighome.com

Nick Fitzhugh, Founder / Executive Producer / Director / DP of redfitz films, redfitz.com

Nick Fitzhugh was born in New York City and grew up in Montpelier, Vermont. After a year abroad spent working on a vineyard in France and then enrolled in school in Italy, he attended Brown University from which he graduated in 2002 with a BA in Comparative Literature and honors in Creative Writing. While a student at Brown, he founded Glimpse, a nonprofit multimedia platform for young people to share stories about personal, cultural experience abroad. Its mission was to inspire the new generation to care about the planet. Seven years later the company was acquired by National Geographic.

In 2010, Nick started the production company redfitz and turned his full-time attention to directing, producing and shooting cinematic documentary shorts, features and series. His first film, Soccer City (2010), a documentary about life and soccer in the largest and most notorious township in South Africa during the first ever World Cup in Africa, was picked up by Nat Geo, ESPN Classic, SuperSport and Netflix.

Distributed worldwide by Netflix and domestically by American Public Television, Nick's second documentary film, Starboard Light (2015),is a 60-minute documentary feature spanning five generations that poetically explores the question of whether a family makes a house or whether a house makes a family.

Nick then created and directed Conflict (2016), a Webby-award-winning documentary series that goes behind the lens of the world's best conflict photographers. Conflict was funded by the Nat Geo Channel and was acquired by Netflix in 2016. It took home the webby for best documentary series of the year in 2016.

 

Center for Independent Documentary, 501c (3)


Protect Our Past's documentary is " Produced in Association with the Center for Independent Documentary." www.documentaries.org


 

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

 © Protect our Past 2020

All rights reserved.

Web Design by Stage Harbor Web