‘A real leader’ leaves legacy of historic preservation in Montana

Bret Anne Serbin

Longtime historic preservationist Philip Maechling received a special award for his work on May 11 in celebration of National Historic Preservation Month. The posthumous award, given three weeks after Maechling’s untimely death of a heart attack on April 26, recognized a lifetime of contributions to maintaining Montana’s history.

“Though he was not a native of Missoula or Montana,” said his former colleague Doris Fisher, “on matters of community design, historic preservation and taking the long view, I consider him a son of Missoula and Montana.”

Maechling, formerly the city and county historic preservation officer, was a champion of restoration and conservation for historic properties across the state. He served on the Montana Heritage Commission, preserved historic properties in Virginia City and Nevada City and endeavored to save Fort Owen in Stevensville, among numerous other accomplishments.

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Before embarking on this diversity of projects, Maechling, born in Charlottesville, Virginia, attended Yale University, volunteered with the Peace Corps in Brazil and worked as a visiting artist in Glacier National Park. His many roles

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