Preservation Round-Up: The Keepin' It Green Edition

Posted on: March 17th, 2011 by Jason Clement

Complete the sentence: The [blank] building is almost always the one that's already built.

If you've been hanging 'round these parts for a while, this one’s a cinch. However, if you're new to PreservationNation, here's a clue: Look down at your shirt. Or your pants. Or your socks. Or maybe even your beer.

That’s right – green! (If you're not rocking the shamrock shade, consider yourself electronically pinched.)

Reusing historic places doesn’t just breathe new life into the treasures that define our neighborhoods; it's good for the environment. Think about it: Why cart a place that matters off to the landfill only to build something with a new – and often larger – footprint? It just doesn’t make sense – and those places are too important to throw away.

So, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, let's also take a moment to show some love for the inherent green-ness of reusing older and historic buildings. First we’ll do it with photos, but I encourage you all to share stories about that place in your neighborhood that you can’t pass without thinking, “You know, that would make a great…”

Because I always adored show and tell in grade school, I’ll kick things off with two photos of a place that immediately stole my heart – and my imagination.

Behold Coronado's (as in San Diego) 1947 movie house, the Village Theatre. I quite literally stumbled upon this gem about four years ago while I was exploring the city via bike; the beauty – and promise – of this building caused me first to nearly veer into traffic, and then to collide with a newspaper stand. So it's said, situations like this support my theory that preservationists are awful behind the wheel – and I guess the handle bars – because our constant “Oh look!” gets us in trouble.

Anyway, self depreciation aside, I’m happy to report that a quick Google search revealed that things are looking up for this theater, which was boarded up and lonely when I cruised/crashed by. If anyone out there is from sunny San Diego, I’d love an update. And maybe a helmet if you’ve got one.

Now moving on. The following photos were submitted to our Flickr group called Reuse It! If you’re inspired by what you see, I encourage you to go beyond the comments section of this post by uploading your own photo. We’d love to have it.

An abandoned historic home in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Submitted by Flickr user Marcfoto.

The Middletown Depot in Middletown, New York. Submitted by Flickr user Rchrdcnnnghm.

The Igloo Hotel near Cantwell, Alaska. Submitted by Flickr user Doug2125.

Washington High School in Portland, Oregon. Submitted by Flickr user PortlandPreservation.

The Columbia Silk Mill in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Submitted by Flickr user Archivolt.

Jason Lloyd Clement in an online content provider for PreservationNation.org. Both his shirt and his socks are green today.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

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