Author Archive

Welcome to Window Wednesdays

Posted on: September 16th, 2009 by Jason Clement 2 Comments

 

Window Wednesday

Photo by Carla Zambelli (Original Image)

As far as days of the week go, Wednesdays have a pretty good rep.

They've never been labeled as "manic" in a pop song, and they aren't the muse of a certain restaurant chain that's decked with license plates, mounted moose heads, and other pieces of faux flair. Nope, Wednesdays are down to Earth and delightfully neutral, falling strategically between "Oh no!" and "Oh yes!" Something more like, "Oh, sure, why not?" Easy come, easy go – what's not to love?

Well, starting today, we're giving you one more reason to look forward to this cozy little place in the middle of the road. Welcome to Window Wednesdays!

As preservationists, we all know that original windows matter. From dramatic Gothic masterpieces to the colorful details of stained glass, these gems are instrumental in telling the special stories of our older and historic homes and buildings. For this reason (and so many more), we've launched a Weatherization Guide to show homeowners how they can hang on to their unique windows and still meet their goals for going green and achieving greater energy efficiency. Each Wednesday, we'll take that a step further and inject a little TLC into the blogosphere by spotlighting a user-submitted photo of an older or historic window for the world to see.

Quick and to the point – just like Wednesdays.

And, well, because "Window Tuesdays" didn't quite have the same ring to it.

Bookmark our Weatherization Guide as a resource for making your older or historic home more eco-friendly without compromising its character. Want to give your favorite window a moment in the limelight? Grab your digital camera and join our Love Your Historic Windows photo group on Flickr for a chance to be next week's spotlight.

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.

 

main_street

Another Fourth of July has come and gone, and as I do my best to keep it together during the always-grueling Monday that follows a three-day weekend, I am left with three questions:

1. How is it that mosquitoes consistently find the one area of my ankles that somehow missed the bug spray?

2. Exactly how many treadmill miles do I need to log this afternoon to burn off two hot dogs, chips, a chicken leg, potato salad, baked beans, pasta salad, an ice cream sandwich, and "a few" cold ones?

3. What would the Fourth of July be like without Main Street?

With hometown parades and years of history draped in red, white, and blue, Main Street adds something – a feeling – to the Fourth of July that you just can't get at home with PBS. It is, as my colleague eloquently blogged just before the big day, the perfect backdrop to "reflect on our heritage and to enjoy Americana."

Last week, we put out a call for stories and pictures that capture these amazing Main Street moments. Come to find out, some of you celebrated America's birthday by getting tangled up in a town-wide Twister competition, while others cheered dogs and ducks around the racetrack. And, well, some of you are probably still trying to get "Achy Breaky Heart" out of your heads. Good luck with that.

Regardless of what you did, if it happened on Main Street, we want to hear about it! Visit our Red, White and Blue Main Streets web page, and join others who have shared stories about how they celebrated Independence Day in their neck of the woods. And if you took photos this weekend, consider adding them to our special photo collection. You'll find easy, step-by-step instructions on the same page.

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.

 

Montrose Matters

I’ve been on the clock as a full-timer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation for seven months and a little bit of change.

In my mind, that’s hardly a blip on the radar. After all, I recently had to ask a co-worker how to photocopy something (there are strange codes involved), and I still have no clue how snail mail reaches my desk (it magically appears in my chair during Diet Coke runs), much less how to send it myself.

My own hang-ups as a perpetual late adopter aside, if you were to ask Dolores McDonagh, our vice president for membership and one of the loudest cheerleaders on the squad for our This Place Matters campaign, she would say without blinking that seven months is more than enough time to have taken at least one picture in front of a near-and-dear space or place.

She’s absolutely right, and truth be told, I’ve had a plan all along. For me, my first stab at documenting the places that tell my story simply had to happen at the place that matters the most – 1,412 miles away from my home today at the corner of Westheimer and Yoakum in the Houston gayborhood of Montrose.

A week ago today, while on a tour of my old stomping ground in the Lone Star State, I finally made it happen. Now, you’re probably thinking, “It took seven months and a flight across the country for you to take a photo in front of a wall?” Point taken, but I assure you: that wall is the backdrop to a place that means the world to me.

You see, I attended high school in one of the countless master planned communities that are inorganically grown on Houston’s fringe. Dubbed First Colony, this massive development straddles land that was among the first to be granted to Stephen F. Austin in his quest to colonize Texas. Now, with a fascinating lineage like that, it’s easy to imagine there being a historical marker every fifteen feet or so. Instead, the suits who engineered First Colony took a big bite out of the sprawl playbook and mechanically spit out a non-place where the pioneering efforts of the Father of Texas are commemorated by miles of impervious nothingness, trees that grow in straight lines, and “neighborhoods” that are marketed on billboards by income level.

One Sunday afternoon, a sixteen-year-old version of myself received a jaw-dropping AOL instant message from a handsome guy by the name of Leo, a fellow junior at my non-place high school who had recently come out. It was a point-blank invitation to an afternoon in Montrose. I knew immediately that his friendly e-vite was predicated on two weeks of rumors that had started and then swirled after my screen name was spotted in a gay chat room. However, in that moment, denial was suddenly not my gut reaction. With the cursor and my heart pulsing at near-equal intervals, I remember looking down at the little yellow AOL man who was running – sprinting – in an endless loop at the bottom of our instant message window. He just kept going and going and going…

... 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.

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.

 

I don't believe anything I see on TV.

When it comes to reclamation, Thomas Filiaggi made me a believer.

When it comes to reclamation, Thomas Filiaggi made me a believer.

I'd argue that there's nothing "real" about reality shows, and I've never fallen for a late-night infomercial (even in fits of insomnia when I'm most vulnerable). I'm always weary of fancy production, and I consistently roll my eyes when Hollywood A-listers tell daytime talk show hosts that they eat what they want and never work out. Oh, and don't even get me started on the weatherman. Where'd they find that guy, anyway?

Unfortunately, that same skepticism follows me to one of my biggest boob tube weaknesses - home improvement shows.

These days, reclaiming and reusing materials is all the rage. The other day, I saw a guy (who lives somewhere I can't even afford to vacation) rip out dashboard vinyl from cars in a junk yard and create the coolest outdoor flooring I've ever seen in my life. Once I got past the ohh-and-ahh factor of it all, I couldn't help but mentally tear the whole project down. Maybe it's because I'm the kind of person who still refers to screwdrivers as the "star one" and the "line one," but I just can't get my head around that stuff. Do normal people actually do that?

The answer is yes.

Something

Check out that church.

Meet 25-year-old Thomas Filiaggi of Lynchburg, Virginia. A couple of years ago, he did exactly what many young people his age do; he graduated from college (he comes from a proud family of Virginia Tech Hokies) and took his hard-earned degree (he's a computer whiz kid) straight to an office job. Mission accomplished, or so he thought. Filiaggi's mindset started to change after several months behind the desk, and that entrepreneurial restlessness lead to an atypical side job - restoring a 19th century gothic church in downtown Lynchburg with his dad, Larry. Sound like anything you've ever seen on TV?

According to Filiaggi, this get-in-and-get-your-hands-dirty project opened his eyes to the world of architectural salvage. It also prompted him to do something many young people his age would never, ever consider.

"I decided to drop the office job to focus on my reclamation projects because, well, I was bored to death," Filiaggi said. "I was working in a stuffy office in a paper plant where there was no real personal satisfaction in the projects I was completing. At the end of the day, the end result was still paper production."

Fast forward to today, and you'll find Filiaggi (usually accompanied by his dad) scouring old barns, schools and factories for the interesting cast-aways that fuel his successful start-up furniture business, Loft3F. The father-son work on the church also continues, and the duo hopes to soon reintroduce the city of Lynchburg to the building as first-class event space.

"Old lumber has a patina that just cannot be replicated," Filiaggi said. "I do what I do because I love turning what most people would consider trash into something functional, visually appealing and unique."

Need to see it to believe it? Now you're sounding like me.

Something

The antique heart pine ceiling for the loft at the church. This wood came out of an old high school in Pennsylvania.

A side table made out of steel, brass hardware and pine. The pine was the siding from an old tobacco barn.

Somerthing

Two ten-foot doors for the church made out of antique heart pine.

Something

Reclaimed industrial pallet. The pallet is made out of steel and maple. It came out of a warehouse located in downtown Lynchburg, and was most likely used in the tobacco or shoe industry.

Interested in more fun green reads? Visit PreservationNation.org to see how the National Trust for Historic Preservation is celebrating Earth Day.

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.

 

In a ceremony held yesterday in the East Room of the White House, President Barack Obama officially signed the Public Lands Management Act of 2009.

Among the many important wins for preservation included in the final legislation's 1,300 pages and 160 provisions is the National Landscape Conservation System Act. Two and a half years in the making, this bill creates the first major system of U.S. public lands in nearly half a century. Named the National Landscape Conservation System, it is comprised of the best lands, waterways and cultural resources managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

"Attending the bill signing for the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 was the fulfillment of a dream that began in 2000 to create the Bureau of Land Management’s National Landscape Conservation System," National Trust for Historic Preservation Public Lands Policy Program Manager Denise Ryan said. "It is hard to describe my joy and relief at finally passing the bill after several years of hard work. Sitting in the beautiful and historic East Room of the White House while President Obama signed the bill, surrounded by the bill’s congressional champions, was marvelous."

For special coverage of the big day, check out the photos taken by Denise above, as well as the following excerpts from the inspiring remarks made during the signing ceremony.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's Remarks

Over the last two centuries, America’s best ideas for protecting our vast lands and open spaces have often arrived while our country has faced its greatest trials.

It was in the midst of our nation’s bloodiest conflict – the Civil War – that President Abraham Lincoln set aside the lands that are now Yosemite National Park.

It was at the dawn of the 20th century, with our cities and industries growing and our open lands and watersheds disappearing, that President Teddy Roosevelt expanded our national parks and set aside the world’s largest system of lands dedicated to wildlife conservation, the national wildlife refuge system.

And it was in the darkest days of the Great Depression that President Franklin Roosevelt put three million young Americans to work in the Civilian Conservation Corps. They built the trails, campgrounds, parks and conservation projects we enjoy today.

In these moments when our national character is most tested we rightly seek to protect that which fuels our spirit. 

For America’s national character - our optimism, our dreams, our shared stories – are rooted in our landscapes.

We each have places we love. For me, it is the San Luis Valley in Colorado. It is the lands my family has farmed for five generations. The waters of the San Antonio River. The snows on the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

As Americans, we are defined most by our people and our places. 

>> Read Full Text

 
President Barack Obama's Remarks

As Americans, we possess few blessings greater than the vast and varied landscapes that stretch the breadth of our continent. Our lands have always provided great bounty – food and shelter for the first Americans, for settlers and pioneers; the raw materials that grew our industry; the energy that powers our economy.

What these gifts require in return is our wise and responsible stewardship. As our greatest conservationist President, Teddy Roosevelt, put it almost a century ago, "I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us."

That's the spirit behind the bipartisan legislation I'm signing today – legislation among the most important in decades to protect, preserve and pass down our nation’s most treasured landscapes to future generations.

>> Read Full Text

Visit PreservationNation.org to learn more about what the Public Lands Management Act of 2009 means for historic preservation.

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.

What Would You Reuse?

Posted on: March 25th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

There's at least one in every neighborhood, and no I'm not talking about "that house" that is painted fuchsia or sea foam green. Or (gasp) both.

I'm talking about a once-great older or historic building that today sits vacant and perhaps forgotten.

On the struggling-to-survive main drag of my Washington, D.C. neighborhood, there are more than a handful of empty storefronts that have seen better days that I - as a newbie to the area - wish I could have witnessed. Today, their doors are tightly handcuffed with padlocks, their paint is faded and peeling, and their floor-to-ceiling show windows bear cracks and holes that look more like bruises and black eyes.

A constant daydreamer, I can't count the number of times that I've nearly rear-ended a city bus or been on the receiving end of a pedestrian's angry hand gesture (which I deserved), all because I was totally lost in Preservation La La Land. In fact, I'm sure the day will soon come when my response to getting pulled over for a routine traffic violation will be, "Sorry officer, but wouldn't that building over there make a fierce coffee shop?!?"

Today, however, there is good news for all of us daydreamers, as the National Trust for Historic Preservation has officially swung open the doors to its Preservation Green Lab. Headquartered in Seattle, this unique new field office is designed to (among many other things) make the undeniably green principle of adaptive reuse front and center among the people who are making decisions about the buildings we love.

So, as the Preservation Green Lab ramps up to start telling the world what we already know about the shared ground between preservation and sustainability, what can we do? How can we spread the message?

If you've made it this far in this post, here's your assignment: Tonight, take advantage of the longer daylight hours by grabbing your camera and heading out for a walk around your neighborhood. If you come across an abandoned building that really tugs at your heartstrings, take a photo (like the ones you see above) and share it in our Reuse It! photo group on Flickr. It only takes a few minutes to upload your shots, and hey, you get some cardio done in the process.

Much like reusing something that has meaning, it's a win-win situation.

>> Learn More About the Preservation Green Lab
>> Learn More About Reuse It!

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.