Preserving preservation history? The concept made us a little nervous, too, but, when we heard about the New York Preservation Archive Project's plan for an online database, we knew we'd have to overcome our fear of all things meta.

Like a Who's Who in Preservation, the digital database, still a work in progress, draws attention to the pols, housewives, planners, architects, lawyers and others who fought to save some of the city's most unusual physical spaces. Take, for example, the little-known 1930s fight to preserve a traffic-free Washington Square Park and the 1941 effort to save the Battery's Castle Clinton National Monument.

2005_08_pre1.JPG"The landmark law [known as the Bard Act] is only 40 years old, but preservation goes back decades to the late nineteenth century," said Anthony C. Wood, founder and chairman of the Project. "We're trying to focus on that history with an eye toward creating a historical record."

And, yes, the Project needs your help with images of Brooklyn Heights community meetings from the early 1940s (when a failed BQE plan would have cut Brooklyn Heights in half) and the 1950s and 1960s (when citizens pushed for what would become the city's first historic landmark district; photograph, top); the fall of 2004 citizen effort to save the Metropolitan Opera House and Singer Building; the fight for Grand Central Station in the 1970s; and the spring of 1965 protest involving the Old Merchants House (photograph, right).

"In someone's attic," said Wood, "there's a photo because grandma was on the picket line."

Call her. She may surprise you.