Save the Date: Twitter Chat on White Elephants is September 5

Posted on: August 30th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern


The Old Naval Hospital on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, c. August 2008.

For the first 10-plus years I lived in Washington, DC's Capitol Hill neighborhood -- and for many years before I arrived -- one of our most notable landmarks, the Old Naval Hospital, sat vacant, a seemingly unfixable white elephant on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Various proposals bounced around over the years, including a brief period of time when it was in contention to be rehabbed as a mayoral mansion, but nothing really came together until a few years ago when a recommendation from the neighborhood-created Old Naval Hospital Foundation for a community center was approved. And at long last, the gorgeously (and green-ly) rehabbed Hill Center opened in late 2011.


The Hill Center, c. November 2011.

This is the kind of white elephant success story every person who has ever developed a crush on derelict building dreams of. But how to make it happen? Here in DC it took a coalition of concerned citizens organizing, but every story is different.

We'll take up this topic -- saving white elephants -- in our September #builtheritage chat on Twitter. We'll talk about how to rally community and financial support (for example: tax credits), creative ways to keep white elephants vibrant while awaiting a permanent use, and more. Please join us September 5 at 4:00 EDT. 

How to participate:

1. Sign in to Twitter, TweetDeck or TweetChat. We (the chat moderators) usually use TweetChat since it adds the hash tag automatically and allows for easy replies and re-tweets.

2. Follow and tweet with the hashtag #builtheritage.

3. Watch for the questions in the Q1 format. Provide answers using the A1 format, and interact with other participants using replies and retweets.

Oh, and what we mean by the Q1/A1 format is this: Questions (we usually have four per chat) are posed by the moderators as Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 about every 15 minutes. We ask that chatters reply with A1, A2, etc. to help everyone stay clear on what they’re responding to. A lot of side conversations and such still break out, but it helps keep things at least a little organized.

Hope you can join us -- it should be a terrific conversation!

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

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