Rachel Alison

Historic Preservation Specialist


Rachel’s fascination with architectural history started as a child. She grew up in an historic district in one of Iowa’s oldest Mississippi River port towns surrounded by old buildings and the people who loved them, which nurtured her own fondness for historic places.
After finishing a BA in History from Iowa State University, Rachel turned that early fascination into a career path, earning her MS in Historic Preservation from Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island. As a social historian and preservationist, her studies focused on the intersection of gender, the historic built landscape, and the professional field of historic preservation. During and following graduate school, she worked as a project manager for the Waterfront Historic Area League, a preservation and community development nonprofit in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where she developed a deep devotion to people-based and community-based preservation. In 2022, she joined Rosin Preservation, returning to her Midwestern roots.

Favorite historic building

What a difficult question to answer! I have admired Louis Sullivan’s work for a long time—his intricate, organic designs are beautiful to study, and the way he combined organic ornament and shapes with strong geometric forms is stunning. The National Farmers’ Bank building in Owatonna, MN and the Schlesinger & Mayer Department Store building in Chicago are two of my favorite Sullivan works.

I am a preservationist because…

I am passionate about the power of historic preservation to inform us of our past, enrich lives and revitalize communities, and conserve irreplaceable historical and place-making resources.