Author Archive

[Photos] Roadside Rest Shelters

Posted on: June 11th, 2015 by Lauren Walser 1 Comment

 

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This rest area stands against the desert backdrop near Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Think back to your last road trip. Where did you stop for a bite to eat? What scenery did you study when you paused to stretch your legs?

Before options like drive-thrus and commercial travel centers made road travel a little more convenient, small roadside rest areas, many of which were built as part of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, were a driver’s only option.

On a drive from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas, in 2007, photographer Ryann Ford took notice of these rest shelters. “As a photographer, it’s hard not to notice them,” she says. “They’re perfect minimalist structures set on a perfect landscape. And they’re each different in their own way.”

For the last six years, Ford has traveled the country documenting rest shelters along highways and in state and national parks.

“I think they tell the story of a different time,” she says. “Now, we’re so rushed with our travel. We just want to get from point A to point B really quickly, whether it’s by plane or jumping on the fastest highway and getting there as fast as possible. If you eat, it’s through a drive-thru. [These rest shelters] tell the story of a different era in travel, when it was about the journey.”

You can explore Ford’s full collection of photographs in her book, The Last Stop: Vanishing Relics of the American Roadside, due out from powerHouse Books next spring. Until then, you can see a sampling of her photos in the Summer 2015 issue of Preservation.

We’ve also shared a few more of her images here. And we’d love to hear from you. Share your memories of roadside rest areas below.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

Four Ghost Towns You Should Visit in the West

Posted on: May 7th, 2015 by Lauren Walser

 

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Restored and recreated 19th-century structures await visitors at Calico, California.

We’ve had ghost towns on the brain lately. If our stories about Animas Forks, Colorado, or Bodie, California, haven’t convinced you to spend your summer vacation at a deserted mining town, maybe we can convince you with this round-up of ghost towns that are worth the trip.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

[Photos] Animas Forks, Colorado: A Tour of a Ghost Town

Posted on: April 21st, 2015 by Lauren Walser

 

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Looking south across the ghost town of Animas Forks, Colorado, in the San Juan Mountains.

We took you to the long-abandoned mining town of Animas Forks, Colorado, in the Spring 2015 issue of Preservation magazine. A hub for hard-rock gold and silver mining, the town was established in 1874 and abandoned just a short while later.

Today, it attracts the most intrepid of visitors, as well as a handful of dedicated preservationists who are determined to keep it alive. Here, we take you on another tour of the town, with more photos from our feature story.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

[Photos] Wilshire Boulevard Temple: Restoring a 1929 Landmark

Posted on: March 30th, 2015 by Lauren Walser

 

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The restored and renovated Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles was on display in the Spring 2015 issue of Preservation magazine. Dedicated in 1929 and named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1973, the temple had never undergone a major restoration until recently. Here, we take you on a deeper look inside this iconic house of worship.


Wilshire Boulevard Temple by National Trust for Historic Preservation on Exposure

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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

Preserving Decay: Exploring the Ghost Town of Bodie, California

Posted on: March 24th, 2015 by Lauren Walser

 

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Bodie is preserved in a state of "arrested decay" -- meaning everything stays just as it was when the abandoned town was acquired by the state parks department in 1962.

No one comes to Bodie, California, for the gold anymore.

That kind of traffic peaked in the late-19th century, after a mine cave-in in 1875 revealed vast quantities of gold ore. People from all over the world rushed to the high desert town, hoping to strike it rich. And with nearly 10,000 tons of ore extracted from the mine, it was one of the richest gold strikes in California.

By 1879, there were nearly 10,000 people living in Bodie. More than 2,000 buildings dotted the rolling hills: as many as 70 saloons, a bowling alley, dance halls, gambling halls, general stores, hotels, churches, and about 200 restaurants.

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At its peak circa 1879, Bodie, California, had a population of nearly 10,000 people and more than 2,000 buildings.

But its heyday didn’t last long. By 1881, the mines were depleted, miners left for new areas, mining companies went bankrupt. There was a boost in production again in the 1890s, a few years after a fire ravaged much of the town. But in 1932, another fire burned all but 10 percent of Bodie, and by the 1940s, it was essentially abandoned. In 1962, what remained of Bodie after that 1932 conflagration was declared a State Historic Park and a National Historic Landmark.

Today, decades later, crowds still flock this remote region of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, northeast of Yosemite, to visit Bodie. But it’s not gold they seek -- it’s a genuine ghost town experience.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

[Historic Bars] San Francisco’s Vesuvio Cafe

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by Lauren Walser

 

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. Next up: Vesuvio Café in San Francisco.

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Vesuvio Café was founded in 1948.

Writer Henry Miller once wrote to Jack Kerouac, saying that he enjoyed The Dharma Bums and would like to meet the younger author in person. Kerouac agreed, and they arranged to meet one night in 1960 in Big Sur, along California’s central coast.

But the night of the meeting, Kerouac never made it out of San Francisco. Instead, he spent his evening at Vesuvio Café.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.