Anne Fligsten's Annapolis; Anne Arundel : Outgoing historic preservation leader advanced a vital cause in the state capital.


Ann Fligsten took on a tough job when she became president of the Historic Annapolis Foundation eight years ago.

She had to return the organization to sound financial footing, while advancing the cause of architectural preservation in one of the cities best known for it on a national scale.

She announced recently she is stepping down at the end of next month. Ms. Fligsten, a lawyer, is resigning to pursue a career in musem management. By many accounts, she carried the torch well for historic preservation in Annapolis.

Under her stewardship, the private, nonprofit group cultivated a $1.1 million endowment to help protect the large, expensive properties it administers.

Ms. Fligsten isn't as recognized locally as the late Anne St. Clair Wright, the steely matriarch of historic preservation a generation ago. Nor have recent battles been epic as the ones in the 1950s and '60s, before the value of Annapolis' timeless streetscape was so evident. But Ms. Fligsten was no less zealous in her advocacy of the city's architectural heritage.

She helped to improve plans to expand the Senate building in the state capital. and, she lobbied the Anne Arundel Medical Center, which is moving to a new complex in nearby Parole, to ensure that the reuse of its century-old hospital property would be compatible with the adjacent downtown.

Her best-known battle, if not her brightest moment, was on behalf of a brick wall left standing after a 1997 fire destroyed a storefront on Main Street. The wall disintegrated and came down.

Though Mother Nature overruled her in that case, but Ms. Fligsten seemed up to battling just about all other forces on behalf of her cause.

The Arnold resident didn't live in Annapolis, but her unflagging work demonstrated an immense love for it.

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