Author Archive

[Historic Bars] The Safe House in Milwaukee

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015 by Katherine Flynn No Comments

 

What's more fun than a historic bar? A historic bar with a theme! And that's exactly what we're featuring in our next installment of historic bars -- establishments with kitschy, unusual, and unique calling cards. Next up: Milwaukee's Safe House

Moveable puzzle tiles on a wall in the Safe House’s interior rearrange themselves with the push of a button.

Moveable puzzle tiles on a wall in the Safe House’s interior rearrange themselves with the push of a button.

International spies. Secret missions. Espionage. Codes. Martinis that are shaken, not stirred.

If this all sounds like your idea of a fun Saturday night, head for Milwaukee’s Safe House -- but cover your tracks. The concealed bar and restaurant has been fulfilling patrons’ undercover dreams and serving up Wisconsin favorites like batter-dipped cheese curds since 1966, all under the guise of International Exports, Ltd. Ask a local for the password (you’ll need it after 8 p.m.) and go down an alley and through a nondescript door for a clandestine dining experience.

Once you’ve given the correct password and gained entrance through a secret passage, you'll be met in the Interpol Bar by a truly impressive collection of authentic spy memorabilia gathered by owner, David J. Baldwin over the years. A cell door from an actual KGB prison, a booth that hides diners from sight, and the Unique Martini -- a drink which is shaken (not stirred) by traveling 600 feet around the bar through a pneumatic tube -- are just a few of the distinctive features waiting to be discovered.

Visitors can explore the oak-paneled British Intelligence room and a red Hong Kong-themed section, with bamboo-hung booths modeled on fixtures that Baldwin saw at the Hong Kong Hilton Hotel. Framed James Bond posters line the walls, and signs that point toward “Agent Debriefing,” “CIA Cover Phone,” and other mysterious locations appear around every corner.... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

The Houses of Louis Kahn: Where Are They Now?

Posted on: January 6th, 2015 by Katherine Flynn 15 Comments

 

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The Esherick House in Philadelphia

In our Winter 2015 issue of Preservation magazine, Modernism-loving managing editor Meghan Drueding brings us the story of Bianca Sforni and Charles Firmin-Didot, a European couple who were so entranced by the Louis Kahn-designed Fisher House in suburban Pennsylvania that they recently decided to make it their home.

Dr. Norman Fisher and his wife Doris, who commissioned the house in 1960, weren’t the only people to seek Kahn’s renowned expertise in designing a relatively affordable, at the time, Midcentury Modern home. The Estonian-born Kahn designed an estimated two dozen houses during his lifetime, nine of which were built in the Philadelphia area for private clients.

Of these nine, all are still standing today, some still owned by the original families. We wanted to get the lowdown on each of these houses, so we did some digging. We hope our findings are as interesting to you as they were to us.

For more information (and beautiful photos,) check out The Houses of Louis Kahn by George H. Marcus and William Whitaker. ... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

[Interview] Q&A with Little Bighorn Archaeologist Douglas Scott

Posted on: December 24th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn 2 Comments

 

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A metal detecting team of National Park rangers and volunteers working near the Little Bighorn River in 2010, the last time Douglas Scott participated in a survey at the site.

In the Winter 2015 issue of Preservation magazine, Logan Ward's story “Common Ground” takes a closer look at an innovative partnership at James Madison’s Montpelier: metal detectorists and archaeologists working side by side to unearth artifacts and dig more deeply into the rich history of our fourth president’s estate.

While this new program is certainly groundbreaking, it’s not without precedent. In 1984, archaeologist Douglas Scott, now retired from the National Park Service, used metal detectors in a large-scale survey of the site of the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn in eastern Montana. The conflict was a historic showdown between General George Custer’s 7th Calvary Regiment and members of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, with the Native American warriors emerging victorious. An estimated 268 U.S. soldiers were killed in the conflict, including General Custer.

With help from more than 30 machine-swinging volunteers, Scott and his partner, Richard Fox, were able to locate more than 5,000 artifacts and accurately map the action of Custer’s Last Stand for the first time ever. Their work at the battleground was one of the first archaeological surveys to employ metal detectors in an organized, systematic way.

I chatted with Scott about the survey, the use of metal detectors as an archaeological tool, and the mystery of the battlefield's Deep Ravine.... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

[PHOTOS] Travel in Historic St. Croix

Posted on: December 16th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn 1 Comment

 

In the Winter 2015 issue of Preservation magazine, writer Scott Elder takes readers on a journey to the sun-drenched, story-rich shores of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here, we showcase more of Raymond Patrick’s exceptional photography from that story, giving you a further glimpse into the centuries of history that have shaped the island’s one-of-a-kind culture.... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

[Historic Bars] The Tonga Room in San Francisco

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn

 

Aloha, historic bar lovers! It's time to escape chilly winter temps and enjoy warmer climes inside historic tiki bars, those Polynesian-inspired spots known for their island flair and exotic cocktails. Next up: the Tonga Room in San Francisco.

A floating barge in the middle of the Tonga Room’s “lagoon” frequently features live performers.
A floating barge in the middle of the Tonga Room’s “lagoon” frequently features live performers.

San Franciscans adore the Tonga Room. Situated in the basement of the swanky and storied Fairmont Hotel, the renowned restaurant and tiki bar is, for some of the city’s residents, woven just as deeply into the urban fabric as cable cars and the Coit Tower.

So when Mai Tai fans in the Bay Area first got wind of the possibility of their favorite historic watering hole becoming a casualty of redevelopment at the Fairmont in 2009, they did what any bar preservationists in their right mind would do -- they went to happy hour.... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.