Greater Portland Landmarks staff members Alessa Wylie, Kate Burch and Sarah Hansen share valentines with the Safford House at 93 High St. The building, built in 1858 for shipping merchant William Safford, has been used over the years as a college, orphanage, church, art museum and, since 2009, the home to Greater Portland Landmarks. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

PORTLAND — Greater Portland Landmarks wants you to show your appreciation for local architecture this Friday with a Valentine’s Day “heart bombing.”

Greater Portland Landmarks are encouraging members of the public to take pictures with valentines such as these in front of buildings they love in Portland. Courtesy / Greater Portland Landmarks

The historic preservation group is asking members of the public to snap photos with valentines in front of Portland buildings and across then post them on Greater Portland Landmarks’ Instagram and Facebook pages with the tags of @portlandlandmarks and #valentineforabuilding.

“The intent is to give a little love to the places people appreciate,” said Kate Burch, communications  manager for Greater Portland Landmarks.

Greater Portland Landmarks has created three valentines residents can print out  bearing the sentiments: “I’ll never take your love for granite,” “Together through brick and thin,” and “You have the most beautiful facade.” Heart bombers are also encouraged to make and use their own valentine greetings.

Heart bombing for historical preservation began in 2012 when the Young Preservationists in Buffalo, New York, placed cardboard valentines at vacant or abandoned historic buildings in that city. The concept has since been brought to numerous other communities across the United States with the goal of raising awareness.

Greater Portland Landmarks hopes the activity will “encourage people to notice the places that give our community character and make us love the place we live,” Burch said.

On a day that’s all about love and affection, giving a building a valentine provides a way for people to give a little love to buildings that need it, like buildings that are neglected or under pressure from development, and share their fondness for places that matter,”  she said. 

Greater Portland Landmarks produces an annual Places in Peril list. The 2019 list included fire stations in the city, a couple of University of Southern Maine buildings and coastal neighborhoods, such Portland’s Bayside and Ferry Village in South Portland.

Greg Paxton of Maine Preservation is all in favor of the heart bombing.

“I think its an innovative way to engage people directly with the historic buildings and can be a fun exercise as well,” said Paxton, executive director of the Yarmouth non-profit organization that promotes and preserves historic places, buildings, downtowns and neighborhoods throughout the state.

Greater Portland Landmarks Executive Director Sarah Hansen said staff members this week will be sharing valentines with buildings on Munjoy Hill or in the communities where they live.

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