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Preservation Round-Up: Jewels for Wilmington Edition

Posted on: November 18th, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

Wilmington from afar (via Flickr User the bridge).

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 Utah Heritage Foundation reports that there's trouble afoot in Provo's historic district:

"Unfortunately, one of the things the trucks are hauling is demolition debris from several older and historic buildings in Provo’s downtown historic district.  Yes, it was certainly time for some of these to probably go as they had been underutilized, unsupported by economic development programs for years, and thus neglected.  But there was still some charm and character in their scale and features and thus their contribution provided some good nature to being there.  Even in the last round of discussions with the Landmarks Commission, there was acknowledgment that in the future the city cannot allow contributing buildings to be altered, thus making them non-contributing buildings while they are listed in the local historic district or they will be de-listed and demolished just like these buildings."

The concern is that, if companies are allowed to expand into newly-constructed properties that don't reflect Provo's character, the historic environment will be eroded. Hopefully, Utah Heritage Foundation will keep us posted.

Delaware Online reports that a jeweler in Wilmington, Delaware is shuttering his store for economic reasons, but isn't leaving the effort to revitalize the city's downtown. "Even as his business departs downtown, Will Minster will spend his days working for downtown's future. He will be director of economic restructuring for the Wilmington Downtown Business Improvement District, also known as Downtown Visions. In that role, he will work on finding ways for downtown businesses to market themselves together, work to recruit new businesses and retain the ones that are currently downtown. 'I'm a bench jeweler. What do bench jewelers do? They fix things, they design, create things from scratch,' Minster said. 'It's taking that mind-set, taking something broken, and fixing it.'" With Minster on board, Wilmington should be sparkling in the long-term.

Going to Colorado? Need a place to stay? The Colorado Springs Gazette has listed several options for all your traveling needs. Included is the Cottage Court, the oldest remaining original motel in the country: "The state’s oldest remaining log hotel is open to the public for just three days in November and December — you can also check out the oldest motel in the US while you’re there — thanks to the Grand Lake Area Historical Society. Grand Lake’s proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park, which opened in 1915, means tourism has been its bread and butter for almost a hundred years. Because the railroad never came to the western side of the park, auto travel has driven growth in the area for as long as cars have been around...The Cottage Court, a few blocks away, is recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Colorado Historical Society as the oldest remaining original motel in the U.S. Both are owned by the Grand Lake Area Historical Society (GLAHS), which has taken on the major project of restoring them for public display and education."

If you're making a trip to James Madison's Montpelier, you can take home a piece of...wallpaper (no, it's cooler than it sounds). Read Old House Web's extensive post on America's oldest net zero solar house, which proves that all that new-fangled sustainability stuff fits in just fine with historic district characteristics. The Columbus Dispatch notes that old barns, which could be salvaged or renovated, are disappearing (but points to our Barn Again! program as a good thing).

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: It's Brutal Edition

Posted on: November 15th, 2010 by Alex Baca 1 Comment

 

It was in vogue, once... (image via Flickr User voteprime).

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. 

What happens to buildings that are largely acknowledged as important, but also largely acknowledged as...ugly? Baltimore's Morris Mechanic Theatre, a true relic of Brutalist architecture, has found itself in that particular gray area. Urbanite Baltimore reports that while the structure of the theatre itself did not manage to gain historic designation, the mixed-use development project intended for the site has been stalled by the economy. The problems do really come down to aesthetics: "But beauty is eye of the beholder, and aesthetics fall in and out [of] fashion, as Johns Hopkins, head of the local preservation group Baltimore Heritage reminds us. 'In the 1940s and ’50s, Victorian buildings like the Engineers Club, the Winans Mansion, and the Marburg Mansion were all considered drop-dead ugly and not worthy of preservation, and those are among our most prized architectural possessions today,' Hopkins says...In the end, this mess over the Mechanic represents a growing wave of historic preservation conflicts taking shape across the country. Modernist buildings from the middle of last century are increasingly falling out of fashion and facing the wrecking ball." 

Historian for Hire has a phenomenally in-depth post that looks at William Degges. William who? Well, he built President Lincoln's Cottage (a National Trust for Historic Site, funny enough): "Projects to construct buildings to house the United States Treasury Department and Patent Office, as well as a new General Post Office and dwellings in which a growing federal workforce could live drew artisans and laborers from around the world to the capital city and provided mostly steady work for increasing numbers of native Washingtonians already in the building trades. The carpenters, bricklayers, and stonemasons who worked under contract to the Commissioner of Public Buildings were skilled mechanics and entrepreneurs whose client base included merchants, bankers, politicians, manufacturers, and military officers. The summer of 1842 began as the nation was entering a third year in economic depression. Two of the builders working in the District of Columbia that summer were Washington carpenter William H. Degges and Philadelphia architect John Skirving." Click through for some fantastic maps, diagrams, and the history of the Degges family (there's even footnotes). 

A guest post on Preservation Journey covers the far-flung (well, it's in Belgium, anyway) Château Miranda: "The Château Miranda, later called Chateau Noisy and located near Celles, Belgium, was built in phases circa 1866-1907. Most of the historical accounts I’ve read online seem to copy each other, but sources say the architects were an Englishman named Milner, followed by Pelchner, who was French. The château was built for Count Liedekerke-Beaufort, whose family also still owns the nearby Castle of Veves. The château was used as a private residence for many years, then occupied briefly by the Germans during World War II, and later converted into a home for children. Exactly how long the property has been neglected seems uncertain, but indications are that it has been out of use since 1991." More on the abandoned castle here (a note: Preservation Journey is open to submissions of more stories like this one. Head on over to their blog if there's something you'd like to share). 

Preservation Portland reports that the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has reenforced the historic design review process (no more vinyl window free-for-alls!) in Northwest Portland. Preservation in Pink finds a sweet Historic American Engineering Record poster—about trusses (no, really, I'd like one for myself). The Tenement Museum Blog posts about Snapshot! at the Tenement Museum, a fun-looking night were patrons were allowed free liberty to take photos of themselves wherever they so desired. The Columbus, Mississippi Dispatch lets locals know that the Main Street program is successful

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: Veterans on Main Street Edition

Posted on: November 11th, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

Honoring family and veterans in Jonesboro, Arkansas (image by Flickr user Mountainbread).

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.

Do you have money burning a hole in your pocket now that the holidays are approaching? If you don't, do you at least want to do something way cooler than Black Friday? Small Business Saturday is the perfect thing for you. We posted about it yesterday -- it's "your chance to get your shop on while simultaneously supporting the local merchants who are the heartbeat of your Main Street" -- and several other outlets have recently covered the importance of Main Street to local communities.

In Boston, Mattapan Square has recently been graced with a Main Street designation, which brings to the area "the advice of local architects hired by the city, and a corporate buddy program in which large businesses invest in the area." In upstate New York, the Mt. Morris Main Street is on an upswing, thanks to the dedicated efforts of one Greg O'Connell. Citiwire reports that O'Connell jumpstarted Mt. Morris' transition to a viable, accessible "downtown":

"O’Connell bought and restored 19 buildings, lured new businesses, created 28 second-floor apartments, involved both the local high school and college and the larger community. Sales tax and real estate values have increased, banks have tentatively started making loans and residents, with new found hope, are investing in their properties in small ways. Main Street is reborn."

The Huffington Post profiles the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, whose fantastic, oft-updated blog is well-loved around these parts. An art installation in Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, "Projecting Modern," is bringing new life to the Chicago landmark. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Blog digs into the valuable relationship between preservation and affordable housing.

A reminder, too, as we celebrate Veterans Day, to give a nod of thanks to those who have served for our country. We've got a list of national cemeteries throughout the country that will be honoring the holiday. The Oregonian has a short guest column discussing the difference between Veterans and Memorial Days, and PublicCEO gives a historical overview. For more information on the history and traditions surrounding Veterans Day, check out the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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: The For-Credit Edition

Posted on: November 8th, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

This house in Tannersville, New York could get tax credits...maybe (image via Kurt Christensen on Flickr).

Good morning, 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.

Old House Web has a highly informative "Old House Newbies" post on federal tax breaks for old houses: "I learned something today. Well, it’s more like remembering what I’ve learned every year for the past five years: single people without children or student loan debt or a mortgage get the short shrift at tax time. So, before the 2010 tax season rolls around, I’m looking at not-recovered housing market and examining my options: old house or newer house?" Are you in a similar predicament? The post is filled with more than a few useful facts on the subject. Similarly, see another Old House Web post on federal energy tax credits.

PlaceShakers and NewsMakers' latest post, "Branded! Municipal Identity and the Selling of Cities," is a highly insightful look into what it takes to sell the authenticity of a place: "...I don’t consider the issue solely as one of 'selling a city' any more than I do as some lofty grasp for authenticity, moralistically hovering above the crass business of boosterism. The problem, it seems, is a fundamental misunderstanding of what branding a city really means. Talk of 'creating a brand' suggests a blank slate, a point of ground zero where we begin the process of becoming who we are. But cities are living organisms, with a legacy of past behaviors and no shortage of current, on-the-ground realities, which means–like it or not–they already have a brand."

Attention all those filled with a burning desire to apply to internships! If you think historic preservation might be your thing and you'd like to try your hand in the field, Chesterwood, the Massachusetts home, studio, and gardens of Daniel Chester French, wants you. Check out the details for this curatorial position. (A warning from this intern: Once you get a chance to sink your teeth into preservation, it's hard to extract yourself! And, that's a great thing.)

Portland Preservation ruminates on the just-passed National Historic Preservation conference (speaking of which, go behind the scenes with our Austin Unscripted team!). The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota congratulates voters in Todd County, who secured victory for a bonding referendum to rehabilitate the Todd County Courthouse, which is on the state's "10 most endangered" list. The Elmira Star-Gazette reports that historic Elmira, New York is using its $2,700 matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to stabilize the Richardson-Kennedy House for redevelopment.

Oh, and even though Halloween was over a week away, check out this slideshow from the New York Observer of pumpkins carved into...starchitects!

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: Hello Dolley Edition

Posted on: November 4th, 2010 by Alex Baca

 

Engraving of Dolley Madison (image via Flickr user Marion Doss)

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. 

Grist has the first installment in a series on a car-free family living in Seattle. Bus-riding extraordinaire (and mom) Carla Saulter makes a convincing case as to why public transit is significantly healthier for kids than riding in cars. Particularly alarming is this: "Cars pollute the air kids breathe. Most of us know that cars degrade outdoor air quality wherever they exist. Most of us don't know that the air inside cars is extremely unhealthy – especially for children. Air inside cars has significantly higher concentrations of carbon monoxide than the air directly outside of them. It's better for a child's lungs to stand on the shoulder of a freeway than it is to ride in the back seat of the family car – even before you account for the phthalates and PBDEs, which are associated with birth defects, early puberty, and impaired learning, from the materials used in their manufacture." (You can find these – and many other – facts about the health effects of cars in Carjacked.) Keep watching Grist for Saulter's future posts. 

Austin wasn't the only recent epicenter for preservationists. Old House Web reports on the Gamble House in Cincinnati, which is mired in controversy ("...the latest news on the old house is that the foundation had been quietly removing interior doors, trim, and windows from the home either to salvage items they considered to be valuable or in an effort to make the structure look to be in worse condition than it was when the case landed before the judge. Alerted to the covert demolition the judge ordered the foundation to restore all items that they had removed..."). Despite this neo-environmental justice action, the Gamble House is nonetheless galvanizing support for the preservation, restoration, and care of Cincinnati's Over the Rhine neighborhood, which has seen years of neglect up until this point. 

D.C. blog Greater Greater Washington has a longform piece on Dolley Madison's house and Lafayette Square, where the property sits. "On the northeast corner of Lafayette Square sits a distinctive yellow house with an ornamental wrought iron porch. Quaint and domestic as it is, it seems transported from a bygone era, a time when Lafayette Square was where the rich and famous lived and this house on the corner was the epicenter of Washington social life. Dolley Madison (1768-1849) owned the house at one time and was by far its most famous resident. Her presence was so large that some believe it still lingers around the house to this day." The post is a comprehensive look at the home from the days of its notorious inhabitant, up to the present. 

See Preservation Journey living up to its name with a post on "The Great Balkan Road Trip." The Tenement Museum Blog hosted a talk between a researcher and his subject (the latter just happens to be former New York City Mayor Ed Koch). Time Tells remembers the Alamo, among other things, on a trip to San Antonio. PreservationNJ says that New Jersey community groups ("friends") working with the state's parks are attempting to capture the attention of the National Park Service. The Utah Heritage Foundation questions the demolition of the West Jordan Sugar Factory. 

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: All Politics Are Local Edition

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 by Alex Baca 2 Comments

 

Brunswick, Maine gets patriotic (image via Flickr user smilla4).

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 the Historic Hawaii Foundation News and the Honolulu Star comes an update on Kahoolawe: "Two decades after the military stopped target bombing and sheep and goats were removed, major erosion still afflicts Kahoolawe, even with some success in planting native grasses and shrubs. Live bombs and shells litter sections of the island despite the largest military ordnance removal in the United States. But advocates for restoration of this island -- equal in size to Oahu's metropolitan area from Waikiki to Moanalua -- remain hopeful as a new generation of volunteers work to heal the land and restore fractured cultural customs." Also in the vein of cultural preservation is this piece from Forbes, which says that "Detroit must shrink to grow": "The mayor vows that people will not be forced from their homes as the city is reshaped. But he's counting on the lure of safer streets, convenient shopping and modern services to convince residents in dying areas to move. By concentrating limited resources in areas with the highest population density, he's hopeful Detroit can be saved. Still, this is no easy task."

Architectural Record reports that the grounds surrounding St. Louis' Gateway Arch (designed by the notable Eero Saarinen) are due for an upgrade, which will--hopefully!--be less complicated than the tangle of highways currently in place. The Transport Politic offers some suggestions on what New Jersey might do to increase public transit ridership without increasing the number of trains, in the wake of ARC's cancellation.

A Blog for Drayton Hall has posted a Letter to the Editor from the Summerville Journal Scene entitled "Growth Is Good, Balance is Better." Though Drayton Hall is located in Charleston, South Carolina, and the letter concerns a local referendum on an open space bond, there's some valuable advice for voters across the country. As you head to the polls tomorrow, keep this in mind: "There are those who say that in this economy we can’t afford to raise taxes even by that amount, but land prices are at historic lows right now. If we wait even 5 years, our money won’t go as far, and we’ll have to spend more money to protect the same amount of land..."

Similarly, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota reminds us that preservation creates jobs! How cool. See? "The scaffolding may be marring the famous view of this city landmark, but it brings a smile to my face regardless.  Why?  Because that scaffolding means that our work to save historic places created jobs.  Dozens of jobs from the architect to the general contractor, the mason to the truck driver delivering building materials to the site.  Through our preservation projects, more people are being put back to work in the construction industry and this demonstrates our value in not only that constituency, but also for those in government who have approved the spending." Some tantalizing facts follow, so click through!

And, speaking of elections, the Lincoln Cottage Blog has a fun post up about the election of 1860 and its significance. "Four days after the midterms will mark the 150th anniversary of the Presidential Election of 1860, which saw the second highest voter turnout in American history (81.2% of eligible voters)."

Be sure you get out and vote tomorrow and, 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.