When the Kansas Preservation Alliance (KPA) was organized, historic preservation in Kansas was in its infancy. The concept of a non-profit, preservation organization for Kansas grew out of a conference held in Manhattan in 1978. When the first permanent board was elected in October of that year Michael was elected as the first vice-president, and he later was elected as the second president of KPA. When the Reagan administration proposed federal cuts in preservation funding, he launched a successful letter-writing campaign against those cuts that attempted to eliminate all National Historic Act funds to the states. Michael also started the annual awards for outstanding preservation projects and edited the KPA newsletter for 16 years.
Michael and his wife, Anne, live in the S.T. Zimmerman House, the first Lawrence residence to be listed on the National Register, and, appropriately, they were the first recipients of a pass through grant from the state. During his decades of KPA involvement, Michael was equally involved with the Lawrence Preservation Alliance (LPA), serving as president in the fall of 1993 and as vice-president in 1996. This was during the controversy over the downtown mall. Michael defines his role then as: “I was holding the coats as Marci Francisco was throwing the rocks.” He served multiple terms as secretary and edited the LPA newsletter from its inception.
Additionally, he served as the humanities representative for the Spencer Museum’s outreach programs including the grant for “Muses and Museums,” worked on oral history projects and was a critical force in getting KU to see the light on buildings being listed on the National Register. Thanks to his work, the university now embraces preservation and promotes its historic district. His work with the KPA has given Lawrence numerous National Register nominations, pass through grants, and state-wide preservation awards. Michael has provided years of leadership, helped make LPA what it is today, and established a good working relationship with the KPA. Thank you, Michael!