Rachel Consolloy Nugent
National Register and Survey Coordinator
Rachel’s interest in historic buildings began at an early age. She spent the first four years of her life in a farmhouse constructed around 1800. The remainder of her childhood was spent in the house where her father grew up, designed and built by her grandfather. It was here that she intuited the important role buildings play as keepers of the continuum of our shared experiences and history. Buildings, more than any other historic artifacts, tie us to our past.
While pursuing an art history degree at Colgate University, Rachel focused on the history of architecture. The highlight of her undergraduate experience was a side trip she took to Italy. After working for two years with an architecture firm in Boston, Rachel figured out how to turn her love of old buildings into a career. She pursued a Master of Science in historic preservation at Columbia University. After graduating in 2004, Rachel returned to Boston, working for several preservation consultants in the area. The variety of work led to a fascinating tangent in cemetery preservation, conducting surveys and repairing and conserving grave markers. Rachel was thrilled to return to her love of preserving buildings when she moved to Kansas City, where she enjoys the diverse architecture and its differences from that of the East Coast.
Favorite historic building
While it is difficult to choose one specific building as a favorite, it is easy to identify a favorite type of space within a building. My favorite spaces are the large, open lobbies and galleries, such as the ones within the Kansas City Public Library, the Power & Light Building and Union Station. These spaces, as soon as you walk into them, make you feel so small with their towering columns and ceilings beyond reach, but they also make you feel so important for occupying such a grand space.
I am a preservationist because…
I love buildings. I love what they can teach us about our past. I also love that they can be reused in completely new and creative ways. Preservation is not about putting a building in a bubble. Maintaining and reusing existing buildings keeps our ties to the past connected and provides a rich foundation for the future.