Massachusetts Historical Commission - 2014 Preservation Award Winners
Edward Des Jardins

Edward Des Jardins • Georgetown and Rowley

Local Preservationist

Over the past 46 years, Edward Des Jardins has worked as an architect and artist and has devoted himself to historic preservation in Georgetown, Rowley, and the Byfield section of Newbury. During two separate periods of residence in Georgetown, over 22 years, Des Jardins served on the town’s historical commission, as well as the Georgetown Historical Society board. He did the same at the Rowley Historical Commission and Rowley Historical Society while residing in that town from 1994 to 2005. Mr. Des Jardins received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Architecture from Harvard University, and has been affiliated with the American Institute of Architects, the Boston Society of Architects, and the Boston Architectural Center. He worked for the Cambridge architectural firm of Benjamin Thompson & Associates from 1966 to 1988. Although most of his professional work involved new construction, he also worked on two notable preservation projects while with the firm: the restoration of Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, and the Master Plan Feasibility Study for Broughton Street Development in historic Savannah, Georgia.

From 1967 to 1976, Mr. Des Jardins lived in Georgetown and, in addition to serving that town’s historical commission and historical society, assisted with opening the Captain Samuel Brocklebank Museum. He served as a tour guide at the museum, which houses the Georgetown Historical Society, from 1970 to 1976 and again from 2005 to the present. In a remarkable personal investment, Mr. Des Jardins purchased the vacant 1829 Old Baptist Church in Georgetown to prevent its demolition, and then set up a youth center there for local children. Mr. Des Jardins also served as chair of the Georgetown Bicentennial Commission to commemorate America’s 200th anniversary and put his artistic skills to use for the town, designing the official Georgetown flag as well as the reproduction of the “Old Nancy” gun carriage on display at the town hall. Elsewhere in Essex County, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Lowell’s Maritime Foundation in Amesbury, assisting in the restoration work at Lowell’s Boat Shop, a National Historic Landmark. He also prepared construction documents to help with the extensive restoration of Byfield’s 1877 First District One-Room Schoolhouse. During his eleven years in Rowley, Mr. Des Jardins served as a tour guide at the Platts-Bradstreet House and was involved in saving a 1775 barn at the site. He also designed historic house signs for the historical society, worked to place a conservation restriction on an historic woodlot owned by the First Congregational Church since 1660, and co-authored a book titled Rowley—Images of America for the Rowley Historical Society.

Moving back to Georgetown in 2005, Mr. Des Jardins returned to his work with the town’s historical commission and the historical society. During his second tenure with the Georgetown Historical Commission, the town adopted a demolition delay by-law, restored the historic 1732 Union Cemetery and the 1830s Harry Murch Park, and completed surveys of 141 historic properties. Mr. Des Jardins also helped oversee a major restoration at the historical society’s Brocklebank Museum. Made possible by Community Preservation Act funds, this rehabilitation also included improving accessibility, landscaping, and restoration of the museum’s shoe shop. Mr. Des Jardins also continued to combine his love of art and history. His artwork has graced the letterhead and publicity materials of several local historical societies, and he has donated proceeds of his art sales, among them many drawings of historic buildings, to various preservation efforts. Wherever he goes, Mr. Des Jardins devotes himself to local preservation with extraordinary passion. The Massachusetts Historical Commission is pleased to recognize his invaluable contributions with a Local Preservationist Award.

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