Author Archive

Young Preservationist Sara Delgadillo on Why Preservation Needs Diversity

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Aria Danaparamita

 

Preservationists from different backgrounds gather for the National Preservation Conference Diversity Scholars program. (L. to r.: Rosalind Sagara, Sara Delgadillo, Manuel Huerta.) Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation
Preservationists from different backgrounds gather for the National Preservation Conference Diversity Scholars program. (L. to r.: Rosalind Sagara, Sara Delgadillo, Manuel Huerta.)

Preservation can mean a lot of different things to different folks. For Sara Delgadillo, it’s about authenticity, community, and inclusivity. The 28-year-old San Fernando Valley native is a graduate student at the University of Southern California’s Heritage Conservation program, but she’s excited about what potential preservation has for her predominantly Latino community and for America’s diverse communities at large.

We met Sara at the 2013 National Preservation Conference that she attended as a Diversity Scholar, a program that seeks to support community leaders in preserving diverse historic sites and heritage. We asked Sara what she thought about being a young preservationist and where she thinks preservation is going. Here’s what she said.... 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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

 

Daniel Ronan graduated from the University of Oregon Planning and Public Policy program and is now based in Chicago. Credit: Daniel Ronan
Daniel Ronan graduated from the University of Oregon Planning and Public Policy program and is now based in Chicago.

As a young person in preservation, Daniel Ronan has heard laments of how the field struggles with meeting modern demands. But he sees it differently.

The 24-years-old Portland, Ore., native was a Diversity Scholar at the 2013 National Preservation Conference and a planning and public policy graduate of University of Oregon. Now pursuing his path as an emerging preservation professional, he sees a bright potential, an energetic momentum for preservation. Millennials, he thinks, have the opportunity and ingenuity to bring the past forward. The key? Thinking of it in multifaceted terms, being open to innovative approaches, and refocusing on saving the local, community places that matter.

We caught him in the conference afterglow and got inspired by his excitement. Here’s what he had to say.... 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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

Young Preservationist Graham Coreil-Allen on Art, Place, and the "Urban Sublime"

Posted on: December 12th, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita

 

Graham Coreil-Allen. Credit: Graham Coreil-Allen.
Through his project New Public Sites, Coreil-Allen invites participants to experience what he calls the urban sublime: "the aesthetic and profound sense of place in an urban space otherwise so often neglected."

Many complain that preservation is growing old and outdated. Graham Coreil-Allen is here to break that misperception. Age 31, born in Galveston, Texas before moving to Tampa, Fla., Graham is an artist currently based in Baltimore, Md. His mission: creative placemaking.

His method may not be the traditional kind of professional preservation. Beyond the bureaucracies of landmarking or heritage listing, Graham has a more underground approach: art and social engagement. He works primarily on interactive, community-based projects that seek to “activate” public spaces, like walking tours of urban spaces, where participants engage with the built environment and reflect on issues like urban planning, development, and -- of course -- preservation.

We chatted with him to learn more about his avant-garde style of preserving collective heritage.... 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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

A Bittersweet Future for Hawaii's Threatened Sugar Mills

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita

 

Sugar cane fields stretch across the Hawaiian landscape. Credit: McCready, Flickr.
Sugar cane fields stretch across the Hawaiian landscape.

“Sugar formed the landscape in Hawaii,” Harrison Yamamoto says. “From the mountains to the beach, it was all fields.”

Hawaii’s history -- and Yamamoto’s family history -- is steeped in sugar. The islands’ sugar industry dates back to 1835 when the first successful sugar plantation was established on the island of Kaua’i. Today, only one operating sugar mill remains -- the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company-operated Alexander & Baldwin mill in Pu’unene, Maui, built in 1901.

Yamamoto, 25, is now a Silman Fellow for Preservation Engineering at the National Trust, and a fourth-generation American of Japanese descent. His great-great-grandfather came to Hawaii in 1885 to work the sugar fields. His grandparents still live in the old plantation workers camp on Kaua’i.

“I’m not sure if my great-great-great grandmother came with him or if they were married later,” Yamamoto recalls. “But my family has worked at the mills for generations.”

A group of Japanese immigrant labor in Hawaii. Credit: hawaiihistory.org
A group of Japanese immigrant laborers in Hawaii.

The sugar mills attracted labor immigration that lasted through the 1920s and 1930s. The largest immigrant group was Japanese, followed by Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and Portuguese. Yamamoto’s family worked and lived at the Gay & Robinson mill, where his grandfather was a mechanic.

The workers lived in multicultural clusters of around a dozen houses -- wooden, single-storied structures, usually painted earthy tones.

“It was a small community,” he says. “At first it was segregated by ethnic groups and sometimes there were tensions, but over time, when you’re working together and living together, everyone learned to get along.”

Portuguese immigrant families came to work at the Hawaiian sugar plantations. Credit: hawaiihistory.org
Portuguese immigrant families came to work at the Hawaiian sugar plantations.

The communities were also culturally vibrant homes for the diaspora. Yamamoto recalls the neighborhood hongwanji, a Buddhist temple, cultural center, and mission school. Children would go to the hongwanji to learn Japanese language, religion, and cultural values, Yamamoto says. (Today, the hongwanjis also host the Obon festivals that light the islands in celebration, as well as support the local Boy Scouts chapter.)

But times have changed in the sugar fields. Sugar remained Hawaii's leading industry until the 1960s when tourism took over as the state's number one income. Then bigger producers like Brazil began to overtake the world market.

As sugar production slowed, the mills began to fall -- first abandoned, then later demolished. Several plantation owner homes and estates have been preserved. And some worker camps, like Yamamoto’s grandparents’, still live on as communities.

Yet Yamamoto has noticed most structures crumble to dust -- and with them a tangible sense of Hawaii's past.

The now abandoned Koloa mill on Kaua'i. Credit: chuck55, Flickr.
The now-abandoned Koloa mill on Kaua'i.

“The mills are sometimes the tallest structures in the area,” Yamamoto describes. “You would drive through the island and look out and see the fields and then you’d see the mill and that’s when you know you’re entering a town.”

While preserving plantation estates is a great step, Yamamoto argues that it’s not enough.

“The house served maybe twenty people, but there were hundreds and thousands of workers who lived in the camps,” Yamamoto says. “In terms of the collective history, there is more weight on the mills and the fields.”

When the Gay & Robinson mill on Kaua’i shut down in 2009, it left Alexander & Baldwin the lone sugar producing outpost in the state. Today, that last working sugar mill employs about 800 people and cultivates some 36,000 acres of cane. In 2011, the mill produced over 182,000 tons of raw sugar.

The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company mill in Pu'unene, Mauai. Credit: Joanna Orpia, Wikimedia.
The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company mill in Pu'unene, Mauai.

Next door to the mill is the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, one of the rare efforts to preserving the taste and heritage of Maui's sugar industry.

“When I went to school we would drive in the car and I’d look out the back seat and see the fields,” Yamamoto says. “But now, my children or my grandchildren would look out the back seat and I don’t know what they’ll see.”

“My father’s generation has a much closer connection to the land,” he continues. “It’s important to reflect on the land and what the land can provide you. Everyone wants to move forward, but we should ask how should we move forward.

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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

It Takes a Village: How Boise, Idaho is Celebrating its Sesquicentennial

Posted on: September 23rd, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita

 

The BOISE 150 SESQUI-PARTY on July 7, 2013 commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first platting of Boise. An estimated 16,000-20,000 people attended and were treated to performances at four different staging areas by local musicians, cultural groups, dancers, storytellers, and more -- it was a great party!
The BOISE 150 SESQUI-PARTY on July 7, 2013 commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first platting of Boise. An estimated 16,000-20,000 people attended and were treated to performances at four different staging areas by local musicians, cultural groups, dancers, storytellers, and more.

This year, Boise, the capital city of Idaho, celebrates its 150th anniversary. Explorers and missionaries began arriving in the Boise River's fertile valley in the early 1800s. The U.S. military established Fort Boise on July 4, 1863. By 1867, the town consisted of 140 blocks and its population almost tripled between 1900 and 1910.

Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, Boise grew in population, economy, and culture. Hewlett-Packard and Micron Technology led the city in technological advancements, while the environment -- the Boise Foothills, River, and surrounding desert -- enjoys preservation. Today, Boise’s creative energy and artistic entrepreneurship continues to move the city forward.

The Boise City Department of Arts & History led the effort to commemorate Boise’s 150th anniversary -- or sesquicentennial -- in 2013, which evolved into a wide-scale initiative: BOISE 150. With support from the mayor and city council members, a small but passionate crew comprised of city staff, contractors, volunteers, and grantees developed an array of programs to celebrate Boise’s past, present, and collective future.

Want to see how the whole city is in on the act? Check out the BOISE 150 slideshow after the jump.... 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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.