When two of Pittsburgh's leading preservationists invited Barbara Drew Hoffstot to lunch one day, they found a formidable ally. Her intelligence, vision and connections helped them start Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in 1964.
Hoffstot persuaded Adolph Schmidt, head of the Andrew Mellon Educational and Charitable Foundation, to fund the new organization. She also staged a Downtown cocktail party for 75 people to recruit board members.
A year later, she worked closely with James Van Trump and Arthur Ziegler to survey significant buildings in Allegheny County. She wrote and took photographs for the book, the first of its kind in the nation. Its publication spurred passage of the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, which established the National Register of Historic Places.
Earlier this month, Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., honored Hoffstot by dedicating a stone on its Walk of Fame. Winter Park Mayor Kenneth Bradley declared March 14 as Barbara Drew Hoffstot Day in that city. She attended Rollins College for two years after graduating from The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conn., in 1937. That same year, her parents built a house in Palm Beach, Fla.
Hoffstot, who died at her Shadyside home in 1994 at age 75, was among the first women appointed to the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and served two four-year terms.
"Her interest in Pittsburgh preservation was started by her service on the National Trust board," said her husband, attorney Henry Phipps Hoffstot.
That interest extended to the couple's winter home. Hoffstot wrote and took most of the pictures for the 1974 book "Landmark Architecture of Palm Beach," which remains in print.
"That was quite a major undertaking. We had pictures of houses on the floor of our house for six months or more," Mr. Hoffstot said.
Subsequent editions of the book included pictures of homes that had been torn down since the first edition.
Marylynne Pitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1648.