Author Archive

Four More California Wineries With Rich Histories

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by Katherine Flynn

 

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Wine being barrel-aged at the Gundlach Bundschu winery.

In the Spring 2015 issue of Preservation magazine, we feature the stories of three well-aged and much-loved Northern California wineries that have weathered historical calamities to continue producing award-winning libations into the present day. There are so many others whose stories we didn’t get the chance to tell, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to do so.

Gundlach Bundschu, Freemark Abbey, Inglenook and Beringer Vineyards are all known for their rich viticultural history. Sit back, pour a glass of your favorite vintage, and read on to find out more about how each vineyard got its start and endured setbacks such as Prohibition and the 2014 Napa Valley Earthquake.... 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.

Bells, Banjos, and Bullets at the Appomattox Sesquicentennial

Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by Katherine Flynn 2 Comments

 

Generals Grant and Lee signed surrender documents in the parlor of Wilmer McLean’s brick house (reconstructed by the Park Service in the 1940s). (credit: Jim Bowen)
Generals Grant and Lee signed surrender documents in the parlor of Wilmer McLean’s brick house (reconstructed by the Park Service in the 1940s).

On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, decked out in full dress attire, signed surrender documents in the parlor of the modest brick house of Wilmer McLean in Appomattox Court House, Virginia. They were accepted by a muddy and threadbare Ulysses S. Grant, and the Civil War was effectively over, after four bloody years.

Fast-forward to today, and the village of Appomattox Court House, including the brick home where the historic meeting between Lee and Grant took place, has become a National Historical Park, meticulously preserved by the National Park Service to bring visitors closer to this pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Starting on April 8, that history will come alive during a sesquicentennial celebration and commemoration.

NPS and the village have been preparing for this event for two years, and they’re expecting 1,100 re-enactors, as well as thousands of visitors, during the five-day event. (The Appomattox County Historical Society, which is holding a separate reenactment outside the park, is expecting about 3,600 re-enactors.) Music, reenactments and historian talks are all on the agenda, and none of the on-site events require advance reservations or tickets.

We've rounded up a few highlights below, but you can find the full list (and a map of the festivities) here. Also, don’t forget to use the hashtag #APX150th on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for all of your Appomattox-related posts.... 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.

 

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Post-earthquake, the first floor of the 1886 winery building leans about four feet to the west.

At 3:20 a.m. on August 24, 2014, the ground in Napa, California started shaking, heralding a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. It was the region's largest seismic activity since 1989's Loma Prieta quake, and although it only lasted about 10 to 20 seconds, varying by location, that was more than enough time for the temblor to tear buildings apart, spark fires, and send hundreds to area hospitals with injuries. It also caused millions of dollars worth of damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure, and especially the region's famous wineries.

One of the hardest hit wineries was Trefethen Family Vineyards, an operation known throughout the valley for its unique wooden production building dating from 1886. I spoke with Hailey Trefethen, a third-generation vintner who works with her family’s winemaking and viticulture operations, about the damage sustained to Trefethen’s iconic National Register-listed building and the rehabilitation efforts than are underway.

Now propped up on steel buttresses, the building is estimated to take about one to two years to restore, and the total cost of the overhaul is not yet known. The Trefethen family, however, hasn’t let the damage to its beloved building crush its spirits.... 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] New York City’s White Horse Tavern

Posted on: March 6th, 2015 by Katherine Flynn

 

In our next round of historic bars, let's sidestep reality and look at those establishments reflected in some way through the lens of pop culture. Last one up: White Horse Tavern in New York City.

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The White Horse Tavern has hosted dozens of literary luminaries over the years.

After Welsh poet Dylan Thomas downed an alleged eighteen shots of the last whiskey of his life at Greenwich Village’s White Horse Tavern on November 3, 1953, legend has it that he immediately stumbled outside and collapsed on the sidewalk. He was taken back to his room at the Chelsea Hotel, and died at New York’s St. Vincent Hospital a few days later of complications from pneumonia and other ailments.

Thomas’s legacy, however, is still alive and well at the last drinking establishment he patronized.... 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.

 

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Paul Robeson spent the last decade of his life in this West Philadelphia house after retiring from his show business career.

Scholar, athlete, singer, actor, civil rights activist. Paul Robeson, born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898, was a man who played many roles throughout his long life, gaining fame and recognition for his deep baritone voice and passionate acting in film and on stage. As a young man, he was only the third African-American student ever admitted to Rutgers University, earning a full academic scholarship and All-American recognition for his prowess on the football field. Later, his stage roles included Othello, both on Broadway and in a Royal Shakespeare Company production, and he starred in films like “The Emperor Jones,” “Proud Valley” and “Jericho.”

Robeson's strong support of anti-lynching legislation and stance against McCarthyism, as well as his affiliation with Communism, got him blacklisted in the 1950s. His career stalled after his passport was revoked and he could no longer travel abroad, and he spent the last decade of his life living with his sister and her husband in a modest house in West Philadelphia. He passed away in 1976, at the age of 77.

Thanks to the work of one woman, that house is now a vibrant community arts center. Frances Aulston has been working with the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, which owns and operates the house, since 1984. In recognition of her decades of service to the community and work with the Paul Robeson House, Aulston was recently honored by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. I spoke with her about her passion for Paul Robeson's house and legacy, and the neighborhood that he called home.... 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.

#SaveTacoBell: America’s First Taco Bell Is Threatened

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by Katherine Flynn

 

Taco Bell was founded by fast food entrepreneur Glen Bell in Downey, California in 1962.
Taco Bell was founded by fast food entrepreneur Glen Bell in Downey, California, in 1962.

It started with some hard-shell tacos and a dream.

Glen Bell, founder of the international fast food chain Taco Bell, opened his very first restaurant of that name in a modest 20-by-20 foot Mission-style building in Downey, California, in 1962. He thought that crunchy taco shells would make the traditional Mexican fare more fast food friendly, and that the American public would eat it up.

He was right. Fifty-three years later, there are roughly 6,000 Taco Bell restaurants in the U.S. The small cinderblock building in Downey where mass-market Mexican food arguably began, though, faces an uncertain future.... 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.