Author Archive

Casablanca Hangar Facade Moved to Safety

Posted on: February 6th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

casablanca posterOf all the hangars in all the towns in all the world, they bulldozed this one.

But the facade of Hollywood's most famous hangar—if such a thing exists—was saved in December, when a hotel bought the 1928 structure that appeared in the final scene of "Casablanca."

On Jan. 29, the hangar, which almost completely demolished last month to make way for development, was moved to another site at California's Van Nuys Airport.

"It's a twofer: It's a victory for preservation of the original hangar at Van Nuys Airport. And it's a tribute to the movie industry of Southern California," Airtel Plaza Hotel CEO Jim Dunn told the Daily News.... 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.

Leavenworth Debates 1930s Jail, High School

Posted on: February 5th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Leavenworth County JailLeavenworth, Kan., is perhaps best known for its penitentiary, but it's also the state's oldest town, founded in 1854. This month, locals are trying to save two of Leavenworth's buildings: a former high school and a jail.

Yesterday the city's preservation commission conducted a tour of the 1933 school and 1939 jail, closed eight years ago.

"This is the time to get the discussion going," says Sally Hatcher, chairman of the commission. "I realize that it's the responsibility of the owner of the building to justify demolition, but you need to help them see the light." ... 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.

Wal-Mart Pays to Move 1922 Barn

Posted on: January 29th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Benedict Barn, MichiganAs much a landmark in Ionia, Mich., as the Statue of Liberty, a 1922 barn seemed doomed to fall for a Wal-Mart. Now a nearby YMCA is reconstructing the red barn to use as a living classroom.

Four years ago, Michigan farmer Keith Benedict sold 35 acres and the barn his father had built to Wal-Mart. Developers tore down the farm's main house, two machine sheds, and a corn crib to make way for a Wal-Mart and Taco Bell, built in 2005.

When locals—led by self-described "Barn Lady" Jan Corey Arnett—heard about the barn's potential demolition, they bought the structure from Wal-Mart, promising to move it. The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Midwest Office, along with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, encouraged the company to save the building. ... 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.

Hidden on a Military Base, a Mid-Century Modern Gem May Be Lost

Posted on: January 25th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Gunner’s Mate SchoolAt 90,000 square feet, a solid, shimmering glass-and-steel cube on the Illinois landscape would seem hard to miss. But few have seen the Gunner's Mate School, designed by the famed firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, since it was built in 1954 on a military base.

Now, because of the federal government's pledge to purge military bases of 50 million unused square feet in the next five years, the mid-century-modern building may be demolished this year. The Department of Defense's edict has put pressure on many of the country's military bases—including the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor—to tear down rather than reuse their historic buildings like the Gunner's Mate School, also known as Building 521, located on Naval Station Great Lakes in Lake County, Ill.

Despite the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's pro bono study of reuses for Building 521, the Navy is proceeding with plans to demolish the building. A public meeting is scheduled for next week.

"The Navy feels like a wide range of options have been brought up, and none have been shown to be feasible reuses," says Bill Couch, spokesman for the Midwest's Naval Facilities Engineering Command. "None of those ideas are feasible for that building, mostly because of the building's size and because the building is deep inside the base; it's not accessible to the public."

Because the building, located outside of the base's historic district, is eligible for the National Register, the Navy was required to start the Section 106 process before rolling out the bulldozers.

Two years ago, when Landmarks Illinois, a partner in the Section 106 process, contacted Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), even the firm had forgotten about the project. "We had to check to see if we did it," says Jason Stanley, associate director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Chicago office. With a little research, Stanley found that "521" was the office's first "curtain wall" structure. It didn't take much research to confirm that the building was pivotal. "When you walk into that building, you know it's an SOM building."... 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.

National Park Service Moves Toward Nominating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Posted on: January 23rd, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

The United States has 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and that number hasn't increased in 13 years. But that's about to change, thanks to the National Park Service, which yesterday announced the formation of a "tentative list" of 14 sites it wants to nominate as World Heritage Sites, the world's highest distinction.

"It's kind of like the Nobel Prize," says Stephen Morris, National Park Service spokesman. "It's huge."

Although UNESCO designated Waterton Glacier International Peace Park in 1995, the park service hasn't compiled a list like this in nearly three decades. Places must be on a "tentative list" for at least a year before countries can nominate them—but only two per year—to the international list, which provides prestige but little protection. (Current sites include Mesa Verde, Yellowstone National Park, and Independence Hall.)... 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.

Wall of Roosevelt Island's Smallpox Hospital Collapses

Posted on: January 22nd, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Smallpox HospitalAbandoned since the 1950s, a hospital built on New York City's Roosevelt Island in 1856 is falling apart.

Last month, the north wall of the smallpox hospital partially collapsed, forcing groups that are trying to create a park on the island to come up with an emergency plan to stabilize the building.

"It's really in bad shape," says Judith Berdy, president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society, "The brick interior walls are coming away from the stone. If nothing is done in the next few months, that whole wing will just come down."

All of Roosevelt Island's six historic buildings have been restored except the hospital, designed by James Renwick Jr., the architect of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The collapsed wall is located in a wing that was built in 1905. ... 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.