Author Archive

Lustrons: Building an American Dream House

Posted on: July 29th, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita 29 Comments

 

Lustrons were an ingenious 1940s invention: modern homes made of prefabricated steel. Credit: Library of Congress.
Lustrons were an ingenious 1940s invention: modern homes made of prefabricated steel sheets. Located in Chesterton, Indiana, this Lustron home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

They were literally building the American dream.

In the late 1940s, soldiers returning from World War II dreamed of the idyllic life: a happy family, a lovely suburban home. But the post-war period instead brought a housing crisis. In response, Lustron promised a dream house -- signed, sealed, delivered.

An innovative solution by Chicago industrialist Carl Strandlund, the Lustron house is made of prefabricated porcelain enameled steel, shipped and put together wherever you wanted -- an IKEA home, if you will. Inside, families could sit around a built-in, glossy-surfaced table, eating home-cooked dinners in cozy domestic bliss.

As Strandlund advertised, “What Lustron offers is a new way of life.”... 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.

 

San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district was site of the Summer of Love, center of the sixties counterculture momentum. Credit: David Yu Photography.
San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood was site of the Summer of Love, center of the '60s counterculture movement.

"Turn on, tune in, drop out." It was the 1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco, and the Haight-Ashbury district was lighting up in psychedelic color.

In the '60s, Haight-Ashbury, now called the Upper Haight, was a haven for cultural revolutionaries: hippies, artists, and psychedelic rock musicians from Jefferson Airplane to Grateful Dead.

But not all of its hippie history has vaporized disillusioned down the rabbit hole, thanks to local preservationist Norman Larson.... 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.

Coming to Drayton Hall: Historic Preservation in 3D

Posted on: July 22nd, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita

 

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Welcome to history's future. Drayton Hall, a National Trust site in Charleston, South Carolina, follows Colonial Williamsburg in going digital.

Unpack your bag, because you won’t need one for this virtual adventure. Introducing the latest in preservation technology: 3D imaging.

Now, you might be thinking, 3D has been around forever. Visualization software is now common for architects and designers. But for preservation and public history, it means something more: the magic of recreating lost space and time.... 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.

 


Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, Kentucky was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Seven of these roadside motels once stood in Kentucky, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, and California.

In the old days before the interstate, you would take the Dixie Highway, one of the first north-south, cross-country roads in the U.S. Driving with the windows down in a vintage car, you'd see these curious structures emerge on the roadside, beckoning in a retro sign: "Sleep in a Wigwam!"

No, they’re not actually wigwams; in fact, they're formed like tipis. And yes, it may have been one man’s misguided cultural appropriation. But "Wigwam Villages" are an iconic -- if controversial -- piece of American road-travel culture and history.... 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.

 

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The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, was demolished in 2006. After 68 tells the story to save it.

It was the hangout for the rich, famous, and politically powerful -- but there’s more to this Hollywood story. The Ambassador Hotel opened in Los Angeles on New Year's Day 1921 and has since hosted six Academy Award ceremonies, Winston Churchill, Salvador Dali, Frank Sinatra, and every U.S. president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. At the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, Nat King Cole and The Supremes performed to an audience of stars.

Then came the beginning of the end.... 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.

 

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Beacon Towers. "And as the moon rose higher, the inessential houses began to melt away."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

In the afterglow of Baz Luhrmann’s summer adaptation of The Great Gatsby, we looked at some inspirations for the novel's Long Island palaces. Yet many of these grand Gilded Age sites now lie in ruin, while others have been demolished. Here is a look at some of Long Island's lost treasures.... 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.