Gate City Preservation

Find us on Instagram @gatecitypreservation

(919) 389-0564

Email Us

Meet the Team

Samantha Smith, Principal Consultant

Samantha Smith is a historic preservation and public history professional based in North Carolina. She is the Principal Consultant at Gate City Preservation L.L.C. and Director of Community Engagement at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. Samantha blends her passion of historic architecture and neighborhoods with her advocacy work to promote equitable, diverse, and sustainable communities. 

At Gate City Preservation, Samantha and her team empower historic property owners and municipalities to protect, preserve, and promote not only their properties, but also the neighborhoods and communities of which they are a part. From National Register nominations and tax credit applications to research and consultation, Samantha leads a team who believes that grassroots preservation starts with the stewards (and future stewards) of historic places. It is our mission to encourage, advocate for, and empower the public to take preservation into their own hands. 

At Old Salem Museums & Gardens, Samantha develops partnerships with organizations like the International Coalition of Sites of Conscious to bring the past to the present, using Salem’s history to contextualize today’s social justice issues in order to inform a more just future.  

Samantha is active on several nonprofit boards. She serves as President of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, the local historic district where she lives, Secretary of Preservation Action, a national-level advocacy organization, and is a current board member of Preservation Greensboro and the North Carolina Museums Council. She also volunteers with Triad Cultural Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving two endangered shotgun houses in Happy Hill, the historic freedmen’s village near Salem.

Benjamin Briggs, Lead Consultant

Benjamin Briggs, a Robert E. Stipe award-winning preservationist, has served as executive director of Preservation Greensboro (PGI) since 2003, a nonprofit that promotes inclusivity, community re-investment and equity through preservation.

Benjamin has restored several Guilford County landmark properties. He served as Program Head of the Historic Preservation Technology Program at Randolph Community College where he completed architectural survey work of High Point and Alamance counties. In 2008, he authored The Architecture of High Point.

Laura Clifton, Consultant
Laura Clifton is an interior architect and passionate historic preservationist based in High Point, NC. After a brief stint as a high school English teacher, Laura realized a career change was in order and decided to pursue both a BFA in Interior Architecture and a Historic Preservation Certificate from UNCG. Her interests lie in the preservation of both historic structures and the skilled trades utilized in their initial construction and ongoing care. By day, Laura works as a designer for an architecture firm specializing in the adaptive reuse of historic industrial manufacturing campuses and by night can be found tackling various restoration projects at the early 20th century brick Craftsman home she shares with her wife, Lindsey, and two rescue pups, Maggie and Harvey.

Monica T. Davis, Consultant

Monica Davis is an interior architect designer and avid preservationist.  Monica is the owner and principal designer of Rinascita Designs, LLC, an interior architecture firm that specializes in the rehabilitation and restoration of historic structures. Her passions lie in the celebration and education of African American historic districts and communities. Monica’s field experience began in Eastern North Carolina, where she obtained historic shotgun houses in a declining African American Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Her passion for the preservation of this community led to the founding of Rebirthing Our Cultural Kingdom Foundation (R.O.C.K.), a nonprofit organization where she spearheaded and facilitated workshops on the cultural heritage of historic districts, architectural terminology, building techniques, and hands-on craftsman skills. Her completion and understanding of Historic Tax Credit applications influenced her decision to revitalize local communities and reposition the shotgun as a suitable, affordable, and environmentally friendly solution for contemporary housing needs. 

Robert Lyerly, Consultant

Robert Lyerly is an archaeologist and historian located in Durham, NC, and originally from Winston-Salem, NC. He received his Masters degree in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina and two Bachelor’s degrees in History and Archaeology from UNC-Chapel Hill. He has a background in cultural resources management, and has worked for several firms, which has helped to solidify his background research and laboratory skills. He has a passion for prehistoric archaeological research, but also enjoys engaging the public about the history around them. In his free time, he enjoys reading, visiting archaeological sites, and watching UNC sports with his fiance.

Rebecca Barefoot, Consultant

Rebecca Barefoot is the owner and principal consultant of Century Preservation Services, LLC, a historic preservation consultancy aimed at connecting people to their historic built environment. Century Preservation Services specializes in Local Landmark Nomination Applications. Rebecca’s passion and knowledge for historic preservation grew with Preservation Greensboro, Inc. where she volunteers as an Urban Guide to lead Greensboro residents across their city to uncover their past in the built environment. Rebecca’s degrees: a Masters in Public History from NC State, two Bachelor’s degrees from UNCG in History and Anthropology, with a minor in Archaeology created the foundation for her thorough research skills. She is currently pursuing a Historic Preservation Certificate at UNCG.

Sonya Laney, Consultant

Sonya Laney is a public historian based in Greensboro, NC. She received her Bachelors in History from NC State and a Masters in History with a concentration in Museum Studies from UNC Greensboro. She has previously worked with Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History. Currently, she is the Education Coordinator at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum and State Historic Site in Sedalia, NC, as well as serves on the North Carolina Museums Council board. When not at a museum or historic site, she can be found exploring local breweries with her fiancé or reading with her furry companions, Jack and Indy. 

Rosemarie DiGiorgio, Consultant

Rosemarie DiGiorgio is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master (SCM) who assists consultants at Gate City Preservation with a variety of projects, including client engagement, product delivery, financial record keeping, and data analysis.


What qualifies my building for the National Register of Historic Places or as a Local Landmark?

Typically, in order to qualify for designation, a building or other property must be at least 50 years old, must retain a high degree of integrity, and must have historic significance. For example, the building could have played an important role in local, state, or national history, or it could be an excellent example of an architectural style.

What is the National Register of Historic Places?

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.

There are National Register districts, of which your property could be listed as “contributing” or “noncontributing,” as well as individually listed properties. The National Register is an honorific title that may enable you to receive tax credits for rehabilitation or restoration projects in the state of North Carolina. If your property is listed on the National Register, you will not be required to follow any guidelines or rules.

What happens if my property is listed on the National Register?

In addition to honorific recognition, listing on the National Register has the following results for historic properties:

  • Consideration in planning for federal, federally licensed, and federally assisted projects: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires that Federal agencies allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on all projects affecting historic properties either listed in or determined eligible for listing in the National Register. The Advisory Council oversees and ensures the consideration of historic properties in the federal planning process.
  • Eligibility for certain tax provisions: Owners of properties listed on the National Register may be eligible for investment tax credits for the certified rehabilitation of their historic home or commercial, industrial, or rental property. The amount of credit depends on if the property is residential or income-producing (commercial, industrial, or rental residential buildings). Federal tax deductions are also available for charitable contributions for conservation purposes of partial interests in historically important land areas or structures.
  • Qualification for federal grants for historic preservation, when funds are available: Owners of private property listed in the National Register are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of their property as they choose provided that no federal monies are involved.

What happens if my property becomes a Local Landmark?

The easiest answer is that it depends on your local government. Local designation can be a powerful tool in preserving community character. In some municipalities, owners of locally designated landmarks must present their plans before a review board prior to making exterior changes. The severity of these changes depends on the Design Guidelines and by-laws of the local body, and differ greatly by location.

Please note, it is rare for these guidelines to dictate changes like exterior paint color. They mostly deal with additions, demolition, new construction, and other permanent changes that would alter the integrity of the property. Exteriors can always be repainted, but a large addition to the back of the house that destroys the original historic fabric cannot easily be reversed. The authority of the review board depends on the powers given to it in the municipality’s preservation ordinance. Some boards are only advisory, while others have the authority to review virtually any alteration. Most fall somewhere in between.

What can I do to ensure my property is protected from harm or demolition in perpetuity?

If your property is the listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it could be demolished tomorrow with virtually no repercussions. Local designations provide the highest level of protection for historic properties. If you want to protect the property further, you can work with an organization like Preservation North Carolina to sell a conservation easement.

What tax credits are available to me?

Tax credits in North Carolina change frequently. It depends on the type of property you own and what you plan to do to the property (the type of rehabilitation and the amount of money you plan to spend). Contact Samantha for a free consultation on the amount of credits you can expect to receive and how to get them. Request a free consultation via email today: samantha@gatecitypreservation.com.

What if I just want to learn more about the history of my house and the people who lived there?

I also do historic property and genealogical research. If you are a curious homeowner or working on a personal project, I can help you reveal the history of your home and the people who lived there. Request a free consultation via email today: samantha@gatecitypreservation.com.