Author Archive

 

Written by Daniel Ronan, Site Projects & Public Engagement Coordinator, National Public Housing Museum

Muralist Hector Duarte in front of his Pilsen home and studio, with "Gulliver in Wonderland" mural.
Muralist Hector Duarte in front of his Pilsen home and studio, with "Gulliver in Wonderland" mural.

“Morally, there needs to be a defense of public art,” says Hector Duarte, an accomplished Mexican-American muralist and painter sitting in his Chicago home and studio of fifteen years.

Pilsen, his neighborhood, has been squarely Latino since the mid-1960s, and has been a haven for exploring the mural as an artistic medium. With murals up and down the community’s main thoroughfare of 18th Street, it’s hard not to spot several towering masterpieces depicting cultural, political, and religious themes exquisitely painted over 150-year-old masonry.

Originally a German and Irish neighborhood, and later Czech, Pilsen’s vibrant street life -- now filled with taco joints, bodegas, and thrift stores -- masks a broader struggle. With higher-than-average crime, increased development, and changing demographics, many consider the neighborhood ripe for gentrification. Moving south and west in the city, many Latinos have planted new roots in Little Village, affectionately called “La Villita” by the locals.

Broader demographic and neighborhood changes place the future of historic mural art into question. Can Pilsen hold onto its legacy of mural art given the increased pressures of development, the ephemeral nature of artwork exposed to the elements, and a shift in thinking of younger generations away from the lasting relevance of mural art?... Read More →

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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

 

Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

Left: A portrait of Madam Walker; Right: A'lelia Bundles
Left: A portrait of Madam Walker; Right: A'Lelia Bundles, Walker's great-great-granddaughter.

Written by A’Lelia Bundles

Every time I walk through the doors of Villa Lewaro -- the mansion my great-great-grandmother, Madam C. J. Walker, called her “dream of dreams” -- I always take a moment to imagine the ancestors and the magic they must have felt in these rooms. From the columns of its majestic portico to the balustrades of its grand terrace, the original stucco facade sparkled with marble dust and glistening grains of white sand when the washerwoman-turned-millionaire took possession in May 1918.... Read More →

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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

My Full Circle Moment with Madam C.J. Walker’s Legacy

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 by Guest Writer 2 Comments

 

Spotlight on National Treasures: Villa Lewaro

141020_blog-photo_villa-lewaro_headshot
Left: Demetria Irwin; Right: The National Trust hosted several influential writers and bloggers from the New York City area in August 2014 to tour historic Villa Lewaro.

Written by Demetria Irwin

Black History Month was always an exciting time for me when I was in elementary school. As the child and grandchild of people who spoke extensively to me about contemporary and historical figures in the African diaspora, I was always eager to share my home-grown knowledge with classmates and teachers.

In fourth grade at (the now-closed) St. Scholastica Elementary School in Detroit, I submitted a four-panel cartoon for my Black History month assignment from my teacher. The first panel was a drawing I made of Madam Walker on her knees, head wrapped in a scarf, washing clothing in a bucket. Panel two was of Madam Walker putting together different concoctions in her home to help with hair growth/health. Panel three was her going door to door selling her wares, and panel four was my earnest attempt to draw that iconic photograph of Madam Walker in the driver’s seat of that fancy early 20th-century car (see the photo below).... Read More →

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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

 

Written by Kristi Eaton

Front view of the Milk Bottle Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Front view of the milk bottle grocery building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

One of the most iconic attractions of Route 66 in Oklahoma is getting a bit of a facelift.

The milk bottle grocery building in Oklahoma City has been around since 1930, but it’s what sits atop the tiny triangle-shaped building that has been drawing gawkers since 1948: a massive milk bottle perched on the building’s flat roof.... Read More →

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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

 

Written by Sophia Dembling

Mildred Bennett established the Willa Cather Foundation and started the movement that has preserved structures in and around Red Cloud, Nebraska, that figure in the author's life and work. (right)Author Willa Cather lived just a short time in Red Cloud, Nebraska, but the prairie town and its citizens were the prototypes for her most famous works.

Left: Mildred Bennett established the Willa Cather Foundation and started the movement that has preserved structures in and around Red Cloud, Nebraska, that figure in the author's life and work. Right: Author Willa Cather lived just a short time in Red Cloud, Nebraska, but the prairie town and its citizens were the prototypes for her most famous works.

As the daughter of strict religious parents, Mildred Bennett was forbidden to do many things, including read fiction. But as an adult, she discovered the author Willa Cather, became one of the foremost authorities on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, and started a movement to preserve the town that inspired the author.... Read More →

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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.