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As a social network, Twitter is a celebration of real-time human experience. It's ephemeral: Messages come and go as the Twitter feed updates, and news and messages sink to the bottom of the screen -- and the reader's consciousness -- within a matter of seconds. The social media network seems to be built on the idea that what's happening is valued above what happened, and that new is more important and relevant than old.


The planted roof deck of Twitter's new headquarters inside the 1939 Merchandise Mart building.

Which is why Twitter's real-life move to the 1939 Art Deco San Francisco Merchandise Mart building in the city's up-and-coming Mid-Market neighborhood, instead of something more UFO-like in the middle of Silicon Valley (see Apple's proposed new headquarters), is a pleasant surprise. With the move, Twitter is helping to prove that being on the cutting edge doesn't have to mean "out with the old," and that where we've been -- architecturally, historically -- is as relevant as where we're going.

According to Ed Axelsen, Twitter's Director of Facilities:

"A revitalized building like SF Mart offered Twitter several key advantages: it's centrally located for public transportation; the building has lots of light, it has huge floor plates, it offered the possibility of outdoor space; and perhaps most appealing, it's an historic building that is being revitalized for modern use."

Check out their new old building in the slideshow below. As you can see, they've adapted the interior to fit their brand -- dynamic, fun, and innovative --  while acknowledging the critical importance of urban and historic context for moving modern communication, their company, and this corner of San Francisco forward.

(All photos by Troy Holden / @Twitter on Flickr)

Editor's note: This seems as good a time as ever to remind you that, yes, the National Trust is on Twitter! Follow us at @PresNation.

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: Mini Golf Edition

Posted on: June 18th, 2012 by David Garber

 

Myrtle Beach Says Goodbye to Historic Inn, Will Be Replaced by Mini Golf and Restaurant -- Myrtle Beach Online

"The Chesterfield Inn -- a quaint, three-story brick building that has stood on the oceanfront at Seventh Avenue North since the 1940s, with earlier versions dating back even further -- has outlived its time as a go-to place to stay, its owners say, overshadowed by the trendy high-rises with modern amenities such as lazy rivers and in-room kitchens that weren’t even thought of during the Chesterfield’s heyday."

Saving a Rosenwald School -- CNN

"The little white building with tall windows is off a main road, miles from the busier patches of town. This was the school where Marian Coleman sang nursery rhymes, the same school where her parents met when they were just kids. For about 30 years, any black child in this northwest Georgia community came here to learn to read and write, to understand math, geography and health. They shared books, brought their own lunches and shared those, too."

Transforming Historic Buildings into Magnets for Future Growth -- BuffaloNews.com

"Renovation of historic buildings is gaining momentum in downtown Buffalo, as derelict buildings like the AM&A warehouse, Hotel Lafayette and others are revived by developers to meet demand for innovative living and office space."

Yorkville Bank, Three Firehouses and Two Hotels Are City's Newest Landmarks -- DNAinfo.com New York

"All six structures, built in the early 20th century were named new landmarks on Tuesday for their architectural distinction and significant roles they played in the rapidly growing metropolis shortly after the consolidation of the five boroughs in 1898, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. "All of these buildings illustrate how far New York City had come by the start of the 20th century and signaled the promising direction in which it was headed," Commission Chairman Robert Tierney said in a statement."

Saying Farewell to The Georgetown, a Boat With a 'Soul' -- Georgetown Patch

"NPS, which operates the C&O Canal and its historic outreach programs, determined that repairs to the mule-drawn 1870's replica boat would be "cost prohibitive," according to John Noel, a regional spokesperson for the agency."

Ford School moved to its old home in McHenry County -- Chicago Tribune

"The building, which replaced an even older schoolhouse on the site, stopped functioning as a school in 1938. Andreas' husband, Weldon, was the last teacher there, and their son Duane, now 78, recalled playing under his dad's desk at the school when he was 4. In the 1940s, a farmer bought the structure for $250 and moved it a few blocks west, where it was used as housing for migrant workers. Later it became a private home and, most recently, an office for a nursery business that shut down about three years ago."

Want a Lighthouse? -- Maine Morning Sentinel

"The federal government wants to give away two historic Maine lighthouses -- but not to just anyone. Agencies interested in owning Boon Island Light Station, off York, or Halfway Rock Light Station, off Harpswell, must be committed to preserving the structures' historical integrity and willing to try to make the islands they are located on accessible to the public, said Patrick Sclafani, spokesman for the U.S. General Services Administration in Boston."

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.

 

Nikki Giovanni is a widely-read American poet, equality activist, professor of English at Virginia Tech, and the keynote speaker at this week's National Rosenwald Schools Conference. Built over the past 45 years, her collection of poetry is some of the most influential on issues of black American culture and experience.

We are excited for her to lend her voice to the issue of preserving the Rosenwald Schools -- the 4,977 mostly humble buildings paid for by businessman-turned-philanthropist Julius Rosenwald and built by community members throughout 15 states between 1912 and 1932, specifically to educate black children.


Left: A Mural of Giovanni's "Revolutionary Dreams" poem on 113th Street in Los Angeles.

I had the opportunity to ask Nikki Giovanni some questions leading up to her time at the conference. Take a look below, then tune in on Twitter on Saturday, June 16, at 10:30 a.m. CDT, where we'll live-tweet her plenary session from our @PresNationLive account.

What were your first feelings or takeaways after learning about the history of the Rosenwald Schools?

As a history major at Fisk University I was, of course, aware of the Rosenwald Schools and their marvelous history.  I remember thinking how wonderful that people reached out to help the newly freed folk who had the desire and the talent but were not given the tools.  I consider the Rosenwald schools right up there with the Carnegie Libraries:  something needed to help those who had been denied not just an education but a personhood to begin to emerge from the shadows.

What do you find most compelling about the schools?

The most compelling aspect is still the correct reason: a people without access to education cannot go forward.  The Sears/Roebuck family [Julius Rosenwald was the president of Sears until 1924] were terrific partners as many in the black community felt that Roebuck was a black American and was simply giving back to those who had helped him.

The Rosenwald Schools are important, but off the radar for many Americans. What actions do you think would better get them into the public eye?

A lot of black history is off radar, as is a lot of white history.  Why do we have classic films of gangsters but not union workers?  Why does every kid in America know Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Billy the Kid and any other robber and thief but not A. Phillip Randolph and the great story of the Pullman Porters? The only cure for ignorance and hatred is education and truth.  Words are as meaningful as places.

Who or what do you hope the Rosenwald Schools inspire?

I hope these schools remind us what our ancestors have endured to bring us this far.  It has been a good journey, but we still have a ways to go.

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: 11 Most in the News

Posted on: June 8th, 2012 by David Garber 1 Comment

 

Each year, the week of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places announcement is always busy with events, web updates, press calls, and media coverage. And each year we're fortunate to help draw a lot of attention to places that need it.

Our lists of threatened historic places resonate because they cover a wide set of history and place interests, and a diversity of geography, site type, and related people groups. As you can see below, this year's list is no different, so we thought we'd share some of the great pieces that came through the wire over the past couple days.

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.

DC Celebrates 25 Years of the 11 Most List

Posted on: June 7th, 2012 by David Garber

 

Yesterday evening -- just a few hours after announcing our 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places -- a crowd of about 150 people gathered at the Fathom Gallery on 14th Street, NW (just across from our Restoration Diary project) to celebrate the past 25 years of saving places using our 11 Most list as a platform. It was also the coming out party for our new brand, and a time to hear from people in a variety of fields about the ways they are working to "save places" across DC. There was a hashtag, National Trust swag, music, and refreshments. In short, it was a party for preservation.


Left to right: A guest fills in one of her favorite places in DC; National Trust all-stars Jason and Jessica pose for the cameras; Living Social's Aaron Rinaca chats it up after his talk.

One of the coolest elements of the party was the program. National Trust President Stephanie Meeks spoke briefly about the 11 Most program and premiered our new video that celebrates its last 25 years. Then a lineup of five speakers spoke for only a few minutes each.

There were representatives from Popularise -- the online tool for communities to crowdsource ideas for old buildings, Living Social -- which chooses to locate their offices in older buildings across the world, ARCH Development -- a non-profit using arts and events to draw people into DC's Anacostia neighborhood, Capital Pixel -- a rendering company that uses imagery to inspire restorations of old houses, the Rainbow History Project -- which produces maps and walking tours of historic LGBT sites around the city, PGN Architects -- a firm that is working on a number of adaptive reuse projects, and Dupont Underground -- a team of people collaborating to bring new life to an abandoned streetcar tunnel.

 
Nikki Peele, the speaker from ARCH Development, communicated the room's common passion well when she noted that "historic places are the bookmarks of our story." Considering the young and diverse audience at the party, it appears the book on preservation in America is still very much being written.

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.

 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the National Trust's annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since our first list in 1988, we have identified more than 230 threatened one-of-a-kind historic treasures. Whether these sites are urban districts or rural landscapes, Native American landmarks or 20th-century sports arenas, entire communities or single buildings, the list spotlights historic places across America that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development, or insensitive public policy.

The unveiling of the list is always a bittersweet moment. A culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work by hundreds of people, the list becomes a rallying cry for supporters of incredibly important -- yet unfortunately threatened -- historic sites nationwide. But the fact that the list even exists means that there's a lot more work still to be done.

Without further ado, here is the 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places:

 
The National Trust’s 2012 list includes the once-thriving African-American commercial district of Sweet Auburn in Atlanta, Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, historic U.S. Post Office buildings across the country, the Village of Zoar in Ohio, the Ellis Island Hospital Complex in New York, and more.

Be sure to check out our official America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places web page for more information on this year's historic places and the threats against them.

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.