Author Archive

Historic Properties for Sale: The I Spy Elegance Edition

Posted on: April 13th, 2011 by Jason Clement 2 Comments

 

First, a confession: I am an extremely nosey person.

I relish moments when I can stealthy overhear conversations on the bus (you'd be surprised what people talk about in public!), glance over shoulders at the gym to see what folks are playing on their iPods (Lady Gaga really does transcend demographics), or just flat out stare at someone doing something strange (you know who you are).

I know, I know -- I'm that guy. But I love observing life. Albeit it momentary, it's a good escape from my own.

Which brings me to the situation in which my nebbiness reaches fever pitch -- fantasy house hunting. I am fortunate to work (note: not live) in a neighborhood with streets that are lined with some of Washington's grandest mansions. From beautiful brownstones to quaint Queen Annes, Dupont Circle really does have it all. And luckily for this snoop, the well-to-do who call these places home seem to have an aversion to window treatments, affording passersby a peek (or in my case a long pause complete with  finger pointing and audible fawning) into the lap of luxury.

Today I thought we'd do the same with our round-up of listings from our Historic Properties for Sale website. So, are you ready for some elegance?

Our first stop is in Cape Charles, Virginia. Dating back to 1746 (hello, history), this five bedroom, six bath Federal-style estate is mere minutes from the Chesapeake Bay. Restored in 2001 using the best of the best in terms of materials, the home once functioned as a bed and breakfast hotel. My first thought: Oh the mint juleps I could have on that porch.

Did I fail to mention that it's actually on the water? Because it is. My second thought: Oh the mint juleps I could have on that dock.

Lush in luxury in Roslyn, New York.

Next up: Roslyn, New York.

This vintage c.1875 Victorian was built for George Washington Denton and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nestled on a hillside with water views of Roslyn Harbor, this home offers spacious rooms, high ceilings, and exquisite detailing throughout.

Again, note the beautiful porch. I am a huge proponent of outdoor living, and that space looks like the perfect setting for a (long) Sunday brunch.

Time to bust out the fancy china, Jeffrey. And perhaps a cheese tray.

And last but certainly not least, behold the John Blake House in charming Charleston, South Carolina. Circa 1800, this Georgian-style home features 12-foot ceilings, period moldings and wainscoting, six beautifully detailed fireplaces...

...and a chef's kitchen equipped with a five burner range, two dishwashers, three ovens, and a wood-burning fireplace…

 

...and a 19th-century parterre complimented by elaborate scrolled garden gates and a brick privacy wall -- both original to the house.

Now, this is normally the point in my fantasy house hunting when I either get depressed or run to the nearest corner store for a Powerball ticket or two/twenty. However, if you've still got some gawking left in you, I strongly suggest a visit to our Historic Properties for Sale website, where you can explore exquisite homes at any price point.

The best part? There's no one there to catch you staring.

Jason Lloyd Clement is a content manager for PreservationNation.org. He promises he's not as creepy as he sounds.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Preservation Round-Up: The Heard It Through the Hashtag Edition

Posted on: March 24th, 2011 by Jason Clement 1 Comment

 

The Twitterverse and Legoland collide! (Photo courtesy of Flickr user A-Kep.)

This week, I learned that the 89-year-old high school where Diana Ross once roamed the halls will soon be demolished. I also got to experience (kind of) the final days of New York’s Penn Station, day dream about antipasto, and “meet” a preservationist with a passion for Las Vegas’ vintage signs – something I also dig.

And it all happened 140 characters at a time.

Yes, I’m talking about Twitter, a dynamic forum that isn’t all Charlie Sheen, all the time. And I can prove it. I’m dedicating today’s round-up to just a few things recently seen and heard on the #preservation hashtag. My goal: Inspire you to join the conversation.

To the Twitterverse we go!

@perkinswill_PR: "Contemporary buildings feed on historical context." A fabulous take on the importance of #preservation http://bit.ly/ieaYs3

First for something thought provoking.

Using a modest, demolition-threatened brick house in New York City’s East Village as an example, this article makes an interesting argument for the importance of preservation.

But there’s a reason to save the building that has nothing to do with its past, and everything to do with the present. The house is all that stands between two angled, glass-and-steel buildings. Those buildings wouldn't be the same without their modest, gable-roofed companion. Contemporary buildings feed on historical context. When that context is removed, even the best of the new buildings fall flat.

Reading this, my mind jumped instantly to Jane Jacobs and her postulation that healthy neighborhoods have a good mix of old and new. First, as someone who enjoys a city block peppered with a little grittiness, I’ve always adored her definition of old: “By old buildings I mean not museum-piece old buildings, not old buildings in an excellent and expensive state of rehabilitation – although these make fine ingredients – but also a good lot of plain, ordinary, low-value old buildings, including some rundown old buildings.” Beyond that, I appreciate her argument that buildings are magnetic, and that different types of buildings attract different types of uses, people, ideas – diversity that enriches our surroundings and our experiences in them.

Back to the article. While the idea that these mod, spaceship-looking buildings are somehow engaged in a mentoring relationship with the historic stuff around them is really quite cute, I don’t buy it. At least not all the time. I’ve totally seen buildings that you know have never said a word to each other. In fact, I can think of a few blocks where there are definitely some “talk to the hand” situations going on. We all know it can get messy out there.

Yes, I’ll be happy if this New York building is saved, but not for its needy neighborhoods. The East Village is a vibrant place where creative juices run high – a place where you feel like you’re downtown. Shiny steel sameness will destroy that.

@3DMonocle: The modern dutchman repair: #Legos http://ow.ly/4lbZV #art #preservation

Ready to smile?

Under the name of “Dispatchwork” (all puns intended), Berliners are taking to the streets with a medium that will take you right back to your childhood: LEGOs! As described, the project “is part urban art installation, part historical highlighting (since many of the gaps date back to World War II) and part method of calling attention to buildings that could use some help.”

And while I doubt this fits the bill as “sensitive materials” for patching up places that matter, I adore the project as an attention-getting public service announcement. I’m also incredibly jealous. File under things I wish I had thought of.

@giveit2lloyd: Vocab for #Preservation Conversations (via @presinpink) http://bit.ly/dJIGHB // Fab post! How about a post on our slang? Facadectomy! McMansions! Pop-tops!

@presinpink: @giveit2lloyd a slang post is an AWESOME idea. I'll start collecting words. I bet they vary by region, too. Should be fun!

In full disclosure, this tweet is my own. However, I couldn’t help but share because I think Kaitlin over at Preservation in Pink is on to something. In her own words:

Every field has its jargon, historic preservation included. Some may be shared with architectural history or planning, for example, but most of the preservation vocabulary has unfamiliar connotations to those who are in other fields. So here is a list of words that will help you to understand and participate in conversations about preservation.

Give the list a read and leave a recommendation via a comment (or a tweet!) with your favorite preservation jargon/slang word.

@EvolvingCritic: Sleeping like a baby, but will be dreaming of #preservation and buildings.

Aw, ain’t that cute?

 Jason Lloyd Clement is an online content manager for PreservationNation.org. He wants you all to sign up for Twitter and join the conversation about preservation. Not sure how to get started? Use this step-by-step guide and you’ll be tweeting in no time.



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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Preservation Round-Up: The Keepin' It Green Edition

Posted on: March 17th, 2011 by Jason Clement

 

Complete the sentence: The [blank] building is almost always the one that's already built.

If you've been hanging 'round these parts for a while, this one’s a cinch. However, if you're new to PreservationNation, here's a clue: Look down at your shirt. Or your pants. Or your socks. Or maybe even your beer.

That’s right – green! (If you're not rocking the shamrock shade, consider yourself electronically pinched.)

Reusing historic places doesn’t just breathe new life into the treasures that define our neighborhoods; it's good for the environment. Think about it: Why cart a place that matters off to the landfill only to build something with a new – and often larger – footprint? It just doesn’t make sense – and those places are too important to throw away.

So, as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, let's also take a moment to show some love for the inherent green-ness of reusing older and historic buildings. First we’ll do it with photos, but I encourage you all to share stories about that place in your neighborhood that you can’t pass without thinking, “You know, that would make a great…”

Because I always adored show and tell in grade school, I’ll kick things off with two photos of a place that immediately stole my heart – and my imagination.

Behold Coronado's (as in San Diego) 1947 movie house, the Village Theatre. I quite literally stumbled upon this gem about four years ago while I was exploring the city via bike; the beauty – and promise – of this building caused me first to nearly veer into traffic, and then to collide with a newspaper stand. So it's said, situations like this support my theory that preservationists are awful behind the wheel – and I guess the handle bars – because our constant “Oh look!” gets us in trouble.

Anyway, self depreciation aside, I’m happy to report that a quick Google search revealed that things are looking up for this theater, which was boarded up and lonely when I cruised/crashed by. If anyone out there is from sunny San Diego, I’d love an update. And maybe a helmet if you’ve got one.

Now moving on. The following photos were submitted to our Flickr group called Reuse It! If you’re inspired by what you see, I encourage you to go beyond the comments section of this post by uploading your own photo. We’d love to have it.

An abandoned historic home in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Submitted by Flickr user Marcfoto.

The Middletown Depot in Middletown, New York. Submitted by Flickr user Rchrdcnnnghm.

The Igloo Hotel near Cantwell, Alaska. Submitted by Flickr user Doug2125.

Washington High School in Portland, Oregon. Submitted by Flickr user PortlandPreservation.

The Columbia Silk Mill in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Submitted by Flickr user Archivolt.

Jason Lloyd Clement in an online content provider for PreservationNation.org. Both his shirt and his socks are green today.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Preservation Round-Up: The Presidential Edition

Posted on: February 21st, 2011 by Jason Clement

 

Would you rather spend Presidents' Day here or at the mall? Behold James Madison's Montpelier!

I find two things about Presidents' Day fascinating.

First, who on Earth decided that today was the perfect day to buy a new mattress? Really, if I hear the words "three-day sale" one more time, I might do something crazy -- like buy a new mattress.

Second, why can't we get our heads around how best to punctuate this holiday: Is it "Presidents Day," "Presidents' Day," or "President's Day?"

For starters, I think "Presidents Day" completely misses the mark; surely this is someones day. Regarding the other two options, a quick Google query has informed me that this holiday was originally created by Congress in 1880 as "Washington's Birthday," thereby making "President's Day" seem like the right fit.

However, for the purposes of this blog post (which will be read by zillions of people and subsequently shape all future discourse on this topic), I'm opting for "Presidents' Day," and not just because I'm naturally diplomatic and/or generally opposed to excluding people. As this columnist so eloquently states, today is the perfect opportunity "for Americans to reconnect with the past -- both distant and near -- and the giants of the office who transformed the country."

Giants as in plural.

That being said, it seemed fitting -- no, downright patriotic -- to dedicate today's round-up to two National Trust Historic Sites that tell the stories of our Oval Office Greats 24/7/365 (that means all the time). Shall we?

Our first stop is President Lincoln's Cottage -- the original Camp David. Come to find out, this humble abode wasn't just where Honest Abe went for a little rest and relaxation; the cottage served as a quiet escape for Presidents Buchanan, Hayes, and Arthur, too. I'm sure they would all be happy to know that the site just celebrated its third anniversary. From the Cottage Blog:

On February 18, 2008, Presidents Day, the Cottage opened its doors for the first time to people from around the country. It’s hard to believe that such a historically significant place was hidden for so many years. Aside from the White House, the Cottage is the most important historic site directly related to Lincoln’s presidency. There are very few authentic Lincoln sites, therefore, walking through the Cottage is literally like walking in the footsteps of our great 16th President.

Interested in checking it out? There's a coupon for that, but time's ticking.

Now let's hop on over to James Madison's Montpelier, the stately home of the Father of the Constitution where some pretty serious chess matches once went down. For years, researchers and archaeologists have had their eyes peeled for the pawns that Madison and friend Thomas Jefferson once used in their epic, hours-long showdowns. Today, two of pieces have been recovered -- in the trash of all places:

As Montpelier underwent a $25 million restoration, the home’s directors hoped that one day they might find the set so they could put it on display in the house’s drawing room. Turns out, all they had to do was rummage around in Madison’s garbage. While excavating the midden, or trash dump, about 100 yards from the house on the south side, archaeologists found two white pieces of ivory that at first they mistook for sewing bobbins. On closer inspection, they realized they were pieces of pawns.

And that's not all that's turning up at Montpelier; the site has several new offerings to Mr. Madison's presidential library just in time for today's festivities, including reproduction of the maps and globes that Madison examined centuries ago.

Sounds like the perfect Presidents' Day if you ask me.

Jason Lloyd Clement is an online content provider for PreservationNation.org. He will not be going anywhere close to a mall today.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Ideas and Inspiration for America's Great Outdoors

Posted on: February 17th, 2011 by Jason Clement 1 Comment

 

America's great outdoors – case in point. Behold the Painted Hand Pueblo in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Cortez, Colorado.

“Americans are blessed with a vast and varied natural heritage. From mountains to deserts and from sea to shining sea, America's great outdoors have shaped the rugged independence and sense of community that define the American spirit. Today, however, we are losing touch with too many of the places and proud traditions that have helped to make America special.”  

Those were the words of President Barack Obama on April 16, 2010, the day he launched his America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. His goal was simple -- to start a nationwide brainstorming session about ways to reconnect Americans to the precious land that surrounds them. With sweeping camera shots and a let's-go-adventuring score, this video created by the Obama Administration to promote the effort says it all.  

The dialogue that ensued was energetic and inspiring. Throughout the summer, over 51 listening sessions were held around the country to not only discover what outdoor spaces and places are dear to Americans, but to encourage some light-bulb moments around how best to steward those places for future generations.  

All in all, over 10,000 people said their part in person (we know that more than a few members and supporters of the National Trust are included in that tally), and over 100,000 comments poured in over the Internet (even more preservationists participated online). 

Today, you can see what that conversation generated — a 173-page report (Americans have a lot to say) chock-full of ideas that was delivered to the President yesterday in a ceremony held at the White House.

While the full report is already available for download, preservationists will also be interested in the historic preservation fact sheet that was prepared as a supplement.  

National Trust President Stephanie Meeks has issued the following statement on the report and the recommendation that will be music to many preservationists' ears -- fully fund the Historic Preservation Fund.  

"We applaud the Obama Administration's thorough and extensive process that led to the America's Great Outdoors report, including a listening session in Philadelphia that spotlighted historic preservation’s important role in protecting our nation’s heritage. Encouraging Americans, especially young people, to get out and explore the nation’s natural, cultural, and historic resources is a laudable goal. By encouraging more Americans, in particular America’s youth, to become familiar with and learn skills to preserve the historic sites and cultural resources that define who we are as a nation, the America's Great Outdoors report will help to ensure that these important places are preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations."  

"The National Trust is especially pleased that the report recommends increased funding for the Historic Preservation Fund -- the nation’s only dedicated source of funding for preservation, including increased funding for State Historic Preservation Officers and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. We are also encouraged that the Administration recognized the importance of our American landscapes, which must be preserved and appreciated within their larger geographic, social, and historical contexts including traditional cultural landscapes and sacred landscapes important to Native peoples. Congress wisely gave the President the power to reserve “historic landmarks, historic or prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” through the Antiquities Act and we applaud the appropriate utilization of this critical tool to preserve our irreplaceable shared American heritage." 

Curious to see how President Obama received the recommendations? You can stream yesterday's White House event in its entirety below or read the transcript. Also, stay tuned -- more analysis is coming from our Public Policy Department.  

  

Jason Lloyd Clement is an online content provider for PreservationNation.org.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.