Brownstone Revival Coalition

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Tribute to Everett Ortner


In Memoriam

May 22, 2012

Everett was a founder of the Brownstone Revival Coalition in 1968,in the days when brownstones in New York City were being razed in favor of "modern housing projects". He spearheaded an effort to convince banks to loan money on brownstones at a time when such a view was not popular. There are few organizations that have survived,let alone thrived over the course of so many years. The Brownstone Revival Coalition regularly draws enthusiastic crowds to our free seminars.

Everettis the sort of preservationist who does not rest on hislaurels. In 1998 he set forth the idea of forming a new U.S. organization to coordinate volunteer efforts for historically significant sites. The result isPreservation Volunteers of America which now has its 501 C-3 status and is about to launch its first pilot projects. This came about as a result of Everett's observations of a similar organization in France during histravels there over a span of twenty years.

Dear Friends of Brownstone Revival Coalition,

We are profoundly saddened by the death on May 22, 2012 of Everett H. Ortner, noted preservationist and founding chairperson of both the Brownstone Revival Coalition and Preservation Volunteers. For almost fifty years, Everett worked tirelessly to preserve and defend New York’s brownstone neighborhoods.

After purchasing and restoring his Park Slope townhouse in 1963, Everett and his wife Evelyn (deceased 2005) personally spearheaded the brownstone revival movement. By organizing grassroots fairs and conferences, fighting banks who habitually “red-lined” mortgages in struggling brownstone neighborhoods, and founding several local and national preservation organizations, including Back to the City, Inc., the BRC, Preservation Volunteers, and Preservation Action, Everett helped save beloved townhouse neighborhoods in NYC and elsewhere.

A native of Lowell, MA, Everett graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1939. He spent 7 months in a POW camp during WWII and was decorated with the Bronze Star Medal for Valor as an infantry lieutenant in France. He was an editor, writer, and photographer at Popular Science magazine for 33 years until his retirement. He also penned numerous articles on urban revival and preservation topics.

Everett passed away after complications from a fall. He was 92 years old.

The estate requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Preservation Volunteers. Click on the link to donate.


Dexter Guerrieri