Author Archive

 

The library and accompanying saucer were built in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy, Jr. Credit: Michael Gannon, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System
The library and accompanying saucer were built in 1964 and dedicated to the memory of President John F. Kennedy, Jr.

The flying saucer hovering above the doorway of the public library in Hyattsville, Md., is meant to look futuristic, a poured-concrete ode to the Space Race and America’s midcentury fascination with all things extraterrestrial.

Inside, though, the 1964 building is notably dated. “There’s no technology infrastructure,” explains Michael Gannon, associate director for support services at the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. “There are very few electrical outlets, and it’s also barely ADA compliant.” He adds that the windows in the building had to be bolted shut after they frequently slid open by themselves.

Although plans to replace the low-slung, brick modernist building with a brand-new structure are underway, a small but vocal Hyattsville group has spoken out in favor of preserving the approximately 20-foot tall glass and concrete saucer, as well as the library as a whole. The “Save Our Saucer” campaign has garnered more than 500 Facebook “likes,” and while the tone on the page is humorous and lighthearted, giving “Saucer” a personality (a post from last August features the cover of “The Flying Saucer Mystery,” a Nancy Drew novel, while the caption reads “What Saucer read over the weekend”), it’s clear that the space-age relic holds a cherished place in the hearts of longtime Hyattsville residents.... 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 Touro Synagogue Celebrates 250 Years of Religious Freedom

Posted on: January 22nd, 2014 by Katherine Flynn 2 Comments

 

Touro Synagogue was originally built in 1763. Credit: dbking, Flickr
Touro Synagogue was originally built in 1763.

Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the country, celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2013. Festivities included the reading of a letter written to the synagogue’s original congregation by George Washington and a visit from Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.... 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.

Meet Phoenix's Modern Maven: Aspire Award Winner Alison King

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn

 

Alison King, 2013 Aspire Award Winner, in action in Phoenix. Credit: Alison King
Alison King, 2013 Aspire Award Winner, in action in Phoenix.

When asked how she got involved in preservation in Phoenix, Ariz., Alison King laughs and says, “Well, not on purpose.”

King, the winner of the 2013 American Express Aspire Award for her work with the Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network and ModernPhoenix.net, has spent much of the last decade documenting and building a network around modern architecture in the city.

“When I moved back to Phoenix after being away for 10 years, I was interested in finding out what my lifestyle would be like,” King, who was born in nearby Scottsdale, says. As she and her husband explored the city and surrounding neighborhoods, King’s background in design and art history drew her attention to the unique design of many of the structures. As she started to delve deeper into Phoenix’s architectural back story, she realized that most of the buildings that had captured her interest had no historic preservation protections.... 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 Olga Strawberry Plant was originally built as a strawberry barreling facility in 1937. (Photo taken before fire.)  Credit: Patsy Stephens, Olga Strawberry Council
The Olga Strawberry Plant was originally built as a strawberry barreling facility in 1937. (Photo taken before fire.)

Patsy Stephens describes Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state, as a place where no one locks their front door. That’s why, when the historic Orcas Island Artworks caught fire as a result of suspected arson in July 2013, it sent shock waves through the small, tight-knit Orcas Island community of Olga.... 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.

An Extended Stay for Los Angeles' Century Plaza Hotel

Posted on: December 19th, 2013 by Katherine Flynn

 

Century Plaza Hotel. Credit: Andrew Hara
Exterior of the celebrated Century Plaza Hotel

Los Angeles' sweeping, 19-story Century Plaza Hotel hails from a era of Golden Age Hollywood luxury, when Elizabeth Taylor was paid the modern equivalent of $53 million to appear in the title role of the 1963 film Cleopatra.

While the film was a box-office hit, its gigantic budget nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox, prompting them to sell a 180-acre backlot to a developer to make some fast cash. That land is now Century City, home to the lavish headquarters of entertainment companies and A-list law firms, as well as the Century Plaza Hotel.... 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.

Beloved WPA-Built Public Pool at the University of New Hampshire is Threatened

Posted on: December 16th, 2013 by Katherine Flynn

 

The pool has provided a place for community members to cool off for 75 years. Credit: Kenny Rotner, FUNHOP
The pool has provided a place for community members to cool off for 75 years.

“Magical” is how Kenny Rotner, a Durham, N.H. resident for 27 years, describes the outdoor pool at the University of New Hampshire. Built in 1938 by Civilian Conservation Corps workers and funded by the WPA, the roughly 44,000-square-foot body of water is one of the oldest public pools in the nation. With a floor of quarried local granite flecked with green and silver, the space has served as a one-of-a-kind spot for swimming lessons, socializing and summer fun for generations.

Recent concerns about whether the pool adheres to modern safety standards, however, have caused the University of New Hampshire to announce possible plans to dismantle it, pitting preservationists and community members against the UNH administration.... 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.