George Kramer; Oregon historian wins 2007 Heritage Award

Historians in the News

It is often said that when your work is what you love, it isn't work at all, but a passion. And anyone who knows George Kramer knows that he's passionate about history. People may not know his name, but the historic preservationist has been making his presence felt throughout Oregon for nearly two decades.

Some might feel inclined to ask what exactly a historic preservationist does, and they wouldn't be alone. Kramer himself describes his work as "a little bit of historian, architect, builder, planner, attorney and accountant." As the job title would suggest, Kramer is a man of many talents. He came to Oregon in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in History, and began work as a building contractor.

"I naturally gravitated toward working on older buildings," he said. Tired of what he described as "designing office furniture," he returned to school and received his master's degree in historic preservation from the University of Oregon. It would be the perfect match: his love of history coupled with years of practical experience in construction and architecture.

"I had the foolish idea to think I could actually make a living doing it." Armed with a master's degree and a foolish idea, he established Kramer & Company, a historic preservation and consultation business, in 1989. "There wasn't really anyone who had done what I was trained to do."

He began by traveling around the state, speaking to anyone who would listen about the merits of restoration and preservation. Slowly but surely, local governments became aware of his work, and he became involved in numerous city-planning projects throughout Oregon and northern California. By that point, realtors and contractors alike were coming to him from all over the state in request of his services. Any doubts he had about his line of work by then had vanished.
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