Preservation Round-Up: Decay & Neglect Edition

Posted on: December 20th, 2010 by Alex Baca 1 Comment

No trespassing in West Baltimore (image via Dr John 2005 on Flickr).

Good afternoon, Nation! Here’s your Monday Preservation Round-Up, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s twice-weekly digest of preservation news and tidbits from around the country.

From Old House Web comes useful, but not necessarily uplifting, updates on the economy and preservation: "Early this week, Conrad wrote about Honolulu’s old house owners losing their tax breaks (31 states currently offer state tax breaks for old/historic homes). Local tax districts, such as in Austin, Texas, are reconsidering the property tax breaks it’s been giving old house owners because of budget short-falls. As money becomes tighter and people become increasing more desperate to buy and sell properties, more historic districts’ preservation efforts are also coming under fire." Read more here.

If you find yourself in Charleroi, Belgium, you can take a tour of some of the city's not-so-picturesque features: "Nicolas Buissart leads an "Urban Safari" that includes climbing a slag heap, exploring never-used metro stations, walking down streets reputed to be the ugliest in this country, and visiting the house where the painter Magritte's mother lived—before she drowned herself in the canal. If this sounds like fun, hop into his van, which has no seats. The first stop is a "ghost" metro station. Back in the 1960s, the city planned a 30-mile transit network with eight lines. In 1985, it ran out of money, leaving half-built lines and unused stations." Since Buissart is clearly generating revenue and exposing people to Charleroi, which might otherwise go ignored, might I cheekily suggest young American entrepreneurs pursue similar business opportunities? I'm thinking that something similar could accompany rightsizing efforts. More at the Wall Street Journal.

As Baltimore examines redevelopment plans for its West Side, Baltimore Heritage takes a look at the area's history: "From the late 1700s through the 1940s, the West Side grew as a vital center of transportation, commerce, and cultural life. This growth first began with Lexington Market in 1782–a place that inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson to declare Baltimore the “Gastronomical Center of the Universe”– and continued in the early 20th century with the construction of dozens of premiere department stores and movie theaters that many Baltimoreans still remember fondly. Unfortunately, in the late 20th century retail shopping and investment drifted out to Baltimore’s suburbs, many of these businesses closed, and their buildings began to decay from neglect." More here.

A tip from Main2: You can now access issues of the Seattle Times from 1896 to 1984 online (1896 to 1899 will be available in January). Frank Gehry does Playboy, insists he isn't a "starchitect." Was Leonardo da Vinci a proponent of sprawl?

With that, enjoy your Monday! Got any tips, news, or otherwise preservation-related fluff? We’d love to include it in the next round. Send us your links on Twitter and Facebook, and maybe you’ll see it here next week!

Alex Baca, a senior at the University of Maryland, is an intern in the Online Communications department at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and also at the Washington City Paper.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

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One Response

  1. Sue

    December 21, 2010

    I want to help save Edward Drummond Libbey High School, opened in 1923, 44 acre property in Toledo, OH. Demolition may be in February 2010 what can be done? So much potential.

    Thank you!