By MHT Staff
This month, we will bid a fond farewell to J. Rodney Little, our fearless leader for almost 40 years. Early in his tenure as State Historic Preservation Officer, Rodney broadened the Maryland Historical Trust’s mission to address the needs of history museums and intangible cultural resources – undertakings that would establish the agency as a model State program.
Most of us working in the preservation field in Maryland have benefited from programs Rodney created or helped to launch. By the time the Federal Abandoned Shipwrecks Act passed in 1989, the Maryland Maritime Archeology Program was already surveying and managing the state’s submerged cultural resources. In 1995, Rodney worked with state legislators to create the Maryland Heritage Preservation and Tourism Areas Program, now serving twelve certified heritage areas and bolstering local economic development throughout the state.
Importantly, the Heritage Areas legislation included provisions creating the Maryland Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Now a 20% refundable credit available for the rehabilitation of both residential and commercial properties, the Maryland Rehabilitation Tax Credit has distributed over $321 million dollars and leveraged over $1.1 billion in private investment.
Under Rodney’s leadership, MHT developed the Jefferson Patterson Historical Park and Museum, including construction of the Maryland Archeological Conservation Laboratory. With the MAC Lab, Maryland once again set the standard, this time in the area of archeological conservation and museum quality collections care.
In his many years as SHPO, Rodney Little made enormous contributions to Maryland’s preservation movement, and we are proud to have served with him. Congratulations, Rodney and thank you for a job well done!