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2003 Heritage Awards

Through our annual Heritage Awards program, Utah Heritage Foundation recognizes projects, organizations, and individuals throughout the state that exemplify a commitment to excellence in historic preservation. The foundation presented nine Heritage Awards in 2003, and recipients were honored at a dinner and ceremony on Friday, October 24, at Salt Lake City's historic Masonic Temple.

Roger Roper, Salt Lake City

Lucybeth Rampton Award

The Lucybeth Rampton Award was established in 1994 in honor of former First Lady Lucybeth Rampton. Mrs. Rampton was a founding member of Utah Heritage Foundation and a lifelong advocate of the preservation of Utah's architectural heritage. The Lucybeth Rampton Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to historic preservation and whose vision and activities have significantly impacted the preservation movement in Utah.

Roger Roper

Roger is passionate about history and his horses. Utah history, U.S. history, the history of french fries. (At the moment, he has three horses, which he keeps, in Spring City where he owns a historic house.) He is always curious; always looking beyond the obvious to understand why things developed in a certain way and what that tells us about our past and our future.

Roger has spent his career working in historic preservation in Utah. He began as a consultant researching buildings in Salt Lake City's central city and preparing federal tax credit applications. For the past 20-years, Roger has worked for the Division of State History, first as an intern and finally as the Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer.

If Roger's passion is history, his gift is teaching and dealing with people. Whether, its elected officials in public hearings or meeting with a timid new CLG person at their kitchen table, whether participating as a member of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers or answering the endless questions from his staff, he is always respectful and equally generous with his time and expertise.

  • He created the Preservation Puzzler as a fun way to get people interested in historic buildings and for the past 14 years it has been one of the most popular features in the Historical Society's newsletter.
  • He created and edited seven volumes of the award winning Utah Preservation magazine, as a means of informing the public about historic preservation. As part of the magazine, Roger created a photo contest to help people to look at historic buildings in a different way. Each year a different theme is selected including barns, schools, and dream houses.
  • He took the Certified Local Government program from its infancy and made it a model for the rest of the country. There are now over 87 cities and counties in Utah participating in this program. They receive grants to fund their preservation activities including surveys of their historic buildings, National Register nominations, rehabilitation of historic buildings, walking tour brochures, etc. Roger's philosophy is to meet the CLGs where they are, help them accomplish their priorities, and help them see what they might do next. His approach to CLGs has been to emphasize programs, rather than projects, by providing on going funding the community could count on. As a result, the CLGs have become effective grass roots organizations, which offer input on environmental issues in their communities and can be called on to lobby the legislature on preservation issues.
  • He began researching the CCC in Utah and has collected hundreds of photographs and other materials, conducted interviews with those who served in the CCC, and with the help of funding from the Bureau of Reclamation, has created a website on the CCC.
  • He created a database with over 90,000 historic sites on it. He worked with consultants find a way to effortlessly merge their survey information into the database. He created "push button" reports, and letters to make it easier and more effective to use.
  • Roger has worked with federal agencies looking at historic structures as part of their environmental review (106) to find better ways of evaluating historic resources, ways to avoid adversely impacting them, and when that's not possible, creating ways of mitigating their adverse effects. Rather than photos and history in a file (which most states require), Roger has worked with them to establish websites, rehab barns along a UDOT road project, move historic buildings out of harms way, rehab a historic elementary school in Riverton for city offices, create National Register Historic Districts, among other things. All with the assistance of the impacted communities to find mitigation alternatives which is meaningful to them.
  • The state residential tax credit program has flourished under Roger's leadership. He has worked to publicize it, simplify the application process, and to create new residential historic districts in order to make this incentive available to more historic building owners.
  • Roger has worked tirelessly to partner with other preservation organizations, including UHF, Vice President of Traditional Building Skills Institute (TBSI), the Main Street (Pioneer Communities), teaching at the Graduate School of Architecture, Friends of Spring City School, Grouse Creek Project, Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF), etc.  For the staff that had the opportunity to work for him and with him on a daily basis, his guidance and example made coming to work a joy. Roger is always supportive, but never intrusive. He always has time to discuss any issue and ask the probing questions to help his staff find their own answers. He is bright, articulate and they were always grateful he was the one going to bat for them.
Roger is thoughtful and pragmatic. He is creative and funny. He has a talent for impersonations, and his analogies or "Rogerisms" are always right on target. For example, when explaining we all have to do things we would rather not, he will remind us, "We all have to eat our vegetables." Or in summarizing a situation where someone tried to cut corners in order to get through the environmental review more quickly, only to find themselves with long delays and unfortunate consequences, Roger referred to it as, "A Donnor Party shortcut."

Roger's intelligence, enthusiasm, generosity, and humor have helped to shape historic preservation in Utah. He has shared his passion for history and has helped take historic preservation in Utah from its infancy to something, which is embraced and valued throughout Utah.

Roger's insights, intelligence, humor, and enthusiasm have helped to shape historic preservation in Utah. He has served on the Utah Heritage Foundation Board,