HISTORIC preservation is not just for monuments and mansions, as this year's National Trust for Historic Preservation awards show. Big industrial buildings and small rural villages are worthy of protection and use. Honors also went to individuals and groups.

Gordon Gray of Washington received the Louise Du Pont Crowninshield Award, the Trust's highest recognition, for his "leadership and skillful guidance" in the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and his "vision and dedication" as chairman of the Trust from 1962-'73.

The Waterford (Va.) Foundation was honored for preserving through protective facades and open land easements the historical and cultural qualities of Waterford's early agricultural village. The village was settled by Quakers in 1733. The village was also one of the first to encourage the revival of 18th- and 19th-century handicrafts. An annual tour helps support preservation.

William A. Whiteside of Washington was honored for developing the Neighborhood Housing Service, which has "stimulated the revitalization of buildings in neighborhoods across the country, generated the reinvestment of millions of dollars and improved the quality of life for thousands of residents." The Neighborhood Housing Service started as a Pittsburgh plan.

Whiteside, then director of the Urban Reinvestment Task Force, went on to establish the program in 123 neighborhoods in 97 cities, with 31 under development. The program brings together residents who are repairing and improving their homes, lenders who agree to lend money for such projects and city services for capital improvements.

NHS administers a revolving fund. Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, the parent group, oversees the independent programs. Neighborhood Housing Services of America Inc. sells loans to private investors, and uses doantions to lower the interest rate on the revolving fund loans.

Other awards:

The Columbus Iron Works Convention and Trade Center on the Chattahoochee River is an example of industrial architecture, preserved with some of the old machinery as decorative sculpture by the Columbus Consolidated Government. Other industrial preservations efforts honorees included Belknap Mill Society in Laconia, N.H., which restored the Busiel and Belknap Mills; and Mary Ellen Kramer of Paterson, N.J., for establishing the Great Falls/S.U.M. Historic District in Paterson to include its industrial buildings.

Three theaters won awards: the Fifth Avenue Theater Association in Seattle, Wash., the Paramount Theater of the Arts in Oakland, Calif. and the Ohio Theatre restoration in Columbus, Ohio, led by Mary L. Bishop.

Alaska Pacific Bank in Anchorage restored and reused the old City Hall as a banking and cultural center. Lavonia Jenkins Barnes of Waco saved and restored Waco houses, and published books on Banks and restoring the fishing village of Manteo. Mary Zoghby of Mobile, Ala., a state legislator, supported the Historical Preservation Authorities Acts.

The Gamble house, designed and built in the arts and crafts manner by Greene and Greene around the turn of the century, and owned by the City of Pasadena and the University of Southern California (see story above.).