Author Archive

 

Sometimes, preservation is hard (image via Flickr User New Orleans Lady).

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

Time Tells digs into old movie theaters and why we find them so fascinating: "Presentism biases our perspective in many areas, and economics is no exception. There has been a lot of discussion about the failure of the house museum model in recent decades, how the economics have changed. Similarly, in the world of theaters, movie economics changed in the 1970s and 1980s so that only multiplex theaters can survive economically. Thus, we see old house museums and old theaters as beautiful, wondrous reminders of a time when society in some respects was richer." More, with pictures, can be found here.

Did you read our post about  New Orleans' Mid-City Historic District? Here's more from the Washington Post on the city's post-Katrina redevelopment and how it's swayed more toward urban renewal: "Mayor Mitch Landrieu has repeatedly defended the development as a "transformative project," said spokesman Ryan Berni. Berni also noted that, at the urging of preservationists, $3.2 million is being spent moving historic homes, rather than demolishing them. Still, there were alternatives to the "urban renewal by removal," said Sandra Stokes of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, a group that sought to get Charity Hospital reopened and save the neighborhood. She said a recent tour of the neighborhood's "vastness of the space" left her feeling awful." Additional reporting on New Orleans' future can be found here, from Global National.

The Huffington Post's "Life After Sprawl: Why the Green Revolution Must Start in Suburbia" argues just that--it's a big New Urbanist plea to retrofit sprawling suburbs to become more efficient: "And just how do we go about redesigning the world of strip malls, big box stores and housing developments with cheesy, British sounding names? Again, the answer is simple. Move things closer together! Closeness is the driving principal behind the school of land-use planning and design known as New Urbanism. New Urbanist designers seek to move home, work, shopping and play closer together, preferably within walking distance or accessible by efficient public transportation. All of a sudden homes are smaller, but much better located and cars have to be used less if at all. Suburban sprawl is soon replaced by compact, desirable living areas. Not only do New Urban spaces require less energy to run and travel around and reduce the amount of land lost to large, flat, ugly development (think car dealerships), but the people living in these areas are able to form a sense of place and community." Nothing you haven't heard before, but a good reminder nonetheless (read more here).

More holiday house stories! Lincoln Cottage: A good home for fuzzy friends. Daily Candy's shopping gurus pick out "Modern Views," about Philip Johnson and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and on which we collaborated, as a "best art book for high-brow gifting." Synagogues are in jeopardy. Many preservationists would agree that it's high time planning made its way into popular discourse, so let's celebrate none other than a play called "In the Footprint" about--yep--planning!

With that, enjoy your Thursday! 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.

Historic Properties for Sale: Fantastic Farms

Posted on: December 8th, 2010 by Alex Baca 1 Comment

 

As we mentioned last week, we'll be featuring listings from our Historic Properties for Sale site every Wednesday. It's just like Preservation magazine's well-loved homes section, but much more frequent.  This week, check out these fantastic farm properties.

The Historic Cristman Barn sits on 33 square acres of land near Cooperstown, New York (that's right: Baseball!). Its listing boasts "Featured in Architecture magazines, this fantastic 1886, 10,000 sq. ft. Post & Beam Barn has been converted to a six bedroom, 7 1/2 bath residence, but it continues to retain its unique original characteristics.  Soaring ceilings reach to 20 feet in some places,and the first floor, which has stone walls, featues an open floor plan that flows from the huge dining room, to a spacious living room, an atrium, a family room, a card/game room with a wet bar, and a hearth room with a stone fireplace.  The kitchen includes restaurant-quality appliances." Fancy, huh? It's yours for $1,600,000. See the full listing here.

.

If a fixer-upper is more your style, may we suggest the Tudor Farm outside of Annapolis, Maryland. The building is circa 1723 and "is an extraordinary opportunity to restore a historic estate that is rich in history, with much of its original detailing intact." Construction costs might set you back so, fortunately, the Tudor Farm is a steal at$1,290,000. See the full listing (and read the property's extensive history) here.

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.

Preservation Round-Up: Napoleanic Edition

Posted on: December 6th, 2010 by Alex Baca 1 Comment

 

I.M. Pei's U.S. Bank Building: A tall building by a short guy (image via Flickr User johnwililamsphd).

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.

President Lincoln's Cottage honors the anniversary of the state of the union given by...guess who? Well, yeah, that would be President Lincoln: "President Lincoln was arguably one of the hardest working and most diligent commander-in-chiefs ever to take office.  Rising from humble beginnings in Kentucky, the “rail-splitter” eventually took on the weight of the world.  His burdens as president are evident in his State of the Union address, December 3rd, 1861. During his annual message to Congress, the President discussed the many difficult issues facing the divided nation..." Read more here.

ESPN parses out the relationship between LeBron James, Cleveland, and the city's enthusiasm: "I arrive heavy on questions, light on answers. What is real and what is convenient Rust Belt narrative? What can a looped clip of a burning jersey really tell us about a complex city? What is the future of this place? What is the past? How are they related? What does it mean to be a sports fan here, and how is that different from other cities? What does any of this have to do with LeBron James?" The piece addresses Cleveland block-by-block and demonstrates how the city has and will grapple with the Player Who Left.

Slate tries to answer the question "Why are so many great architects short of stature?" According to their data, there is indeed a correlation between height and starchitect status: "Contemporary architects as different as I.M. Pei, Robert A.M. Stern, and Daniel Libeskind (5 feet 4 inches) are small men, too. Norman Foster and Frank Gehry are giants on the contemporary architectural scene, but they are not particularly imposing in stature; Gehry is always the shortest figure in group photos. Frank Lloyd Wright claimed to be 5 feet 8 inches, although he was not always a reliable witness and his houses are notorious for their extremely low ceilings." Read more, and look at Slate's fancy chart, here.

Read about the Clarksville Mill on the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's blog. Old House Web has happy holiday preservation stories to make you feel warm and fuzzy. The Soap Factory in Minneapolis is beginning a historic structure report. In Sarasota, there's much clucking over urban chickens.

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.

Preservation Round-Up: Love vs. Money Edition

Posted on: December 2nd, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

The Buffalo Hotel gets a lot of local love from one former resident (photo by Flickr user M.V. Jantzen).

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

The National Trust Historic Sites Blog parses out how the Crystal Cathedral, the temple of televangelists, is similar to some well-renowed historic sites (think Williamsburg and Mt. Vernon). Read more, check out the reading suggestions at the end of the post, and check out the fancy snowflakes decking their page out for the holiday season.

New Urban Network writes that it's love, not money, that stimulates local economic growth. Sound cliché? Apparently, it's true!

"A three-year Gallup study of 26 US cities found that peoples’ love and passion for their community may be a leading indicator for local economic growth. Surprisingly, social offerings, openness, and beauty are far more important than peoples’ perceptions of the economy, jobs, or basic services in creating a lasting emotional bond between people and their community, according to the $2.4 million Soul of the Community study, commissioned by the Knight Foundation. The 26 cities in the survey with the highest levels of resident love and passion for their community, or "community attachment," also had the highest rates of GDP growth over time."

The study also finds that "social offerings," like an active nightlife scene or community spirit, are more important than "social capital" (when friends or family live close by). There's a whole lot more that provides some interesting nuance to how we usually think about our communities.

Buffalo News reports on Buffalo, New York's Lafayette Hotel and Charles J. Kelly, who once called the building home. Kelly's father worked as the hotel's building manager; Kelly, now 70, paid the Lafayette a visit when he heard that it was being redeveloped. By this account, the visit was a spectacular one: "When Kelly walked into a room off the main lobby, he gasped. He could see on the floor the markings of where horseshoe-shaped counters had once graced a popular coffee shop. 'I always used to sit over there at the end of the horseshoe every day before I went to school,' said Kelly, who attended Nichols School. 'Do you want a unique parting gift?" Jones asked him. "When you leave, I'll get you one of the stools.' The offer left Kelly practically speechless. Kelly is a semi-retired businessman who supplied architectural signage to companies. He and his wife, Jo-Ann, praised Termini's vision for a building that was added to the National Register of Historic Places this past summer."

New streetcar plans will have to jockey with pre-existing trafficky conditions in Atlanta. More on diversity, and a response to Charles Buki's Next American City speech at the National Preservation Conference at Time Tells. More good comes from Main Street, like tax diversions (well, in Washington State, anyway)!

With that, enjoy your Thursday! 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.

Preservation Round-Up: Small Packages Edition

Posted on: November 29th, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

Atlantic City in miniature (via Flickr user Robert Bruce Murray III).

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.

Did y'all have a good Thanksgiving? If you'd like a belated look at things worth appreciating, Old House Web's list of things old house owners can be thankful for is a good one. They thank themselves and the Internet, among other things.

More importantly, did y'all have a great, fantastic, totally awesome Small Business Saturday? We posted a whole lot last week about the day, designed to support local businesses that often get trampled by the big boxes during the holidays. It looks like many of the blogs we follow also got in on the fun. Confessions of a Preservationist planned to head to western New York to pick up some Christmas gifts, and this blogger spent the day in Frederick, Maryland and thoroughly enjoyed herself.

Now that we've gotten you all interested in supporting your local main street business, you might ask yourself, "What the heck is the United States supposed to do with all those empty shopping mall shells?" Retail Traffic, in "Design Without Borders: Innovative international mall designs set examples for U.S. architects and builders," talks about some cues we could take from abroad.

Meatpacking plants certainly don't sound pretty. But, Historian For Hire makes a compelling case as to why Pittsburgh shouldn't have demolished the Millvale Industrial Park, a former brewery and later, a slaughterhouse: "I moved away from Pittsburgh in 1999. Back then, there were few physical reminders in the landscape of the once fragrant and vibrant livestock and leather industry that made its home along the north side of the Allegheny River. Since then, the Pittsburgh Wool Company building was demolished and the former tannery sites along the Allegheny River north of the sprawling Heinz plant were destroyed to make way for a city-subsidized Heinz expansion that made national news back in 1999 and 2000. And, a few former tannery and slaughterhouse buildings survive in the Spring Garden valley. Now with the demolition of the Millvale Industrial Park buildings, Pittsburgh has lost yet another link to its rich and largely unwritten industrial past." Read more here.

On New Geography, Joel Kotkin (this blogger liked his book, The City, quite a bit) says that smaller cities are the future: "In fact, the era of bigger-is-better is passing as smaller, more nimble urban regions are emerging. These efficient cities, as I call them, provide the amenities of megacities—airports, mass communication, reservoirs of talent—without their grinding congestion, severe social conflicts and other diseconomies of scale." According to Kotkin, "smaller, more nimble urban regions" like Fargo, Raleigh-Durham, and Houston are the future.

Stephen Smith at Market Urbanism argues that preservation should be a tool for development, rather than a hindrance: "So while historical preservation may have its place, it is very shortsighted to use it against developers who want to retain the facade and vast majority of the original structure of a pre-war building...Additions add value to buildings, and this market value is the best way to ensure preservation in a profit-driven society. In its dogmatic opposition to even non-destructive redevelopment, this form of total preservationism is sowing the seeds of its own destruction." Read more here.

Time Tells muses on diversity in public spaces. The Tenement Museum Blog offers some gift suggestions. We (the National Trust for Historic Preservation) really, really want you to save the windows. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is now taking submissions for its 10 most endangered places list. The Architect's Newspaper discovers sustainability doesn't always have to come with a disclaimer about the end of the world.

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.

Preservation Round-Up: Greener Bricks Edition

Posted on: November 22nd, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

It'll be greener than it looks.

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.

The National Trust's Historic Sites Blog explores just how Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House might be turned green (the sustainable color, that is). The U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild conference set the stage for a conversation regarding the Robie House's ongoing restoration: "Robie House is owned by the University of Chicago but held in a long term lease by the National Trust and run for us by our partner, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.  Robie House is in the middle of a 10+ year restoration, with approximately 60% of the work completed. And it’s a terrific example of how many original design features in a historic building were inherently green.  The restoration uses sound green building practices and products throughout while reactivating many of the original historic features." Read the rest of the post here.

Old House Web talks about why living in a historic district is simply not for everyone: "Because the organizations that help manage historical districts are working to preserve history, there are rules. If you’ve ever worked on a historical restoration or preservation, you know that details and materials matter–down to the paint color and types of nails used. If you don’t have that burning desire for historical accuracy and preservation, you might not want to live in a historic district." Read on to learn about the curmudgeonly behavior of those that find themselves in a place with preservation's parameters.

Public transit or...a tree? There's not an easy answer when the tree in question "predates the U.S. Constitution by more than 800 years" and "is widely believed to have been a campsite for explorer Gaspar de Portola when he discovered San Francisco Bay in 1769." Peninsula Press reports that there is strife between the California High Speed Rail Authority and local tree-huggers (who include Stanford University and the City of Palo Alto); the Rail Authority wants to widen the tracks, which would put the tree in jeopardy: "Trains have impacted the tree’s health for the past century and a half. Until the advent of diesel in the middle of the 20th-century, trains powered by the combustion of wood and coal would storm past the tree, leaving layers of soot that would effectively suffocate it in layers of carbon. Dockter noted, 'The first carbon footprint impact was to the El Palo Alto redwood from smoke, actually.' El Palo Alto is a symbol of survival. As Hartley put it, 'I think what this story shows is just how resilient these trees can be if we don’t cut them down. That tree has had just about everything thrown at it with the exception of a saw; its top has died back, and its lost limbs and its lost a trunk, but the tree is still there.'”

Good has fun with maps--specifically, a map based not on state lines but rather, watersheds (by John Wesley Powell, circa the 1880s). Historian for Hire goes really, really long in a fantastic piece--part one in a series--about DC, gas lighting, and magic lamps. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Blog gives some love to Riverside Plaza, oft-mocked for its modern edifices. Time Tells visits "forgotten Chicago."

With that, enjoy your Thursday! 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.