Author Archive

Radical Expansion of Limestone Quarry Threatens National Historical Park and Civil War Heritage

Posted on: December 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to closely scrutinize plans for destructive quarry expansion

Over the strong objections of local residents and preservationists, Carmeuse Lime & Stone, a Belgium-based mining conglomerate, plans to radically expand its industrial mining operation on battlefield land and immediately adjacent to the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Although experts agree that the expanded quarry will devastate the historic landscape, Civil War battlefield, National Park, and historic Middletown, the Frederick County (VA) Board of Supervisors voted in May 2008 to rezone the agricultural landscape and double the size of the extractive mining operation. (Frederick County’s historic preservation commission and planning board opposed the quarry expansion.) Carmeuse Lime & Stone is proceeding without protecting its neighbors or historic resources.

The quarry expansion will require approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On December 18, 2008, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers to:

  • Inform the Army Corps of Engineers that the quarry expansion threatens potential harm the National Park, National Historic Landmark, Civil War battlefield, and historic Middletown -- from intensive visual pollution, blasting, dust, and quarry truck traffic.
  • Warn that 60 percent of the unspoiled agricultural land which Carmeuse Lime & Stone plans to blast and bulldoze actually is “core battlefield” according to the authoritative 1992 National Park Service Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Recommend that the Army Corps of Engineers now initiate the mandatory federal review to protect historic resources pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This review and consultation affords the quarry owner, government agencies, concerned members of the public, and the quarry’s embattled neighbors a critical opportunity to find creative ways to avoid or reduce harm to historic resources from the quarry expansion.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation owns Belle Grove Plantation, a National Historical Landmark and the heart of the National Historical Park. U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf and Senator John Warner were early and steady champions for establishment in 2002 of the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park.

An active coalition of preservation groups continues to fight the unnecessary destruction of historic resources and Civil War battlefield by Carmeuse Lime & Stone, including: Belle Grove, Inc., Preserve Frederick, Civil War Preservation Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, APVA Preservation Virginia, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

We remain very grateful for the strong support of the National Park Service, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

-- Robert Nieweg

Robert Nieweg is the Director of the Southern Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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 Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Spicing Up a Stately Mansion: New Life for a Forgotten Estate

Posted on: December 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 3 Comments

 

Photo: Mario Quiroz

Groundbreaking at the mansion. (Photo: Mario Quiroz)

Our colleagues at the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) are celebrating an important milestone in a fantastic project that brings historic preservation, green building and community development together under one roof. For the past years we’ve counseled nonprofit organization CASA de Maryland on how to finance and structure their rehabilitation of a neglected Georgian Revival mansion in Langley Park into a multicultural center for Latino and immigrant populations. Bank of America and Enterprise Community Investment recently closed on a $4 million historic and New Markets Tax Credit equity investment in the project, thanks in large part to the legal and accounting groundwork laid by our tax credit experts.

We have good reason to be a proud partner on this project. Built in 1924, the mansion was originally the centerpiece of a vast estate owned by the family known for McCormick Spices. Decades later, the McCormick-Goodhart Mansion is now at the heart of a bustling community where one hundred languages are spoken at its elementary school and per capita income is just $11,300. CASA de Maryland has already begun work to transform the dilapidated mansion into a vibrant multicultural center that caters to the vast and growing needs of the immigrant and minority communities that surround it.

From its strategic location, CASA will offer skills training, education, and leadership development to increase the self-sufficiency, competency and financial capacity of low-wage Latino and immigrant families locally and statewide. The relocation to the mansion allows CASA to expand its size at a time when demand for its services is at an all-time high. The nonprofit anticipates serving 6,000 to 10,000 individuals and families per year from its new address. The Multicultural Center will also act as an incubator for small nonprofits that support populations not typically served by CASA, including African and Asian immigrants.

We also appreciate CASA’s pursuit of LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Plans include several green roofs, controllable lighting and heating systems, low-emitting materials, water-efficient landscaping and a geothermal HVAC system. CASA plans to expand its community education work to focus on respect for and protection of the environment as well.

Construction is projected to last 12-14 months and CASA anticipates calling the McCormick-Goodhart Mansion home by early 2010.

-- Erica Stewart

Erica Stewart is the outreach coordinator for the Community Revitalization department at the National Trust for Historic Preservation

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 Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

As BLM Lease Sale Looms, Advocates Press to Save Nine Mile Canyon and Other Public Lands from Drilling

Posted on: December 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

An example of the Native American rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

An example of the Native American rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

Yesterday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a coalition of environmental groups joined actor Robert Redford and Congressman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) in a press conference organized by environmental, historic preservation and business groups who oppose a controversial oil and gas lease sale set for December 19th. Several parcels included in this sale are on relatively pristine lands near Nine Mile Canyon, which the Bureau of Land Management acknowledges has the highest concentration of Native American rock art in the United States.

Dave Albersworth (The Wilderness Society), Pat Mitchell (Grand Canyon Trust), and Ti Hays (National Trust for Historic Preservation) listen to Robert Redford speak.

Dave Albersworth (The Wilderness Society), Pat Mitchell (Grand Canyon Trust), and Ti Hays (National Trust for Historic Preservation) listen to Robert Redford.

Redford spoke reverently of the Utah wild lands endangered by the proposed leasing and sharply rebuked BLM’s decision to go forward with the sale. He at one point referred to the decision makers with BLM as “morally criminal.” Rep. Baird, who grew up in Fruita, Colorado, just a few miles from the Utah border, also spoke fondly of his time among the canyons for which so many cherish the Utah public lands. He rightly reminded the audience that although the lease sale involves land within the State of Utah, the land is owned and managed by the federal government on behalf of the American people. In light of the national interest in protecting the cultural and natural resources affected by the proposed leases, he called on BLM to cancel the sale.

Also yesterday, the National Trust -- along with many of the groups that held the press conference -- filed a complaint in federal court challenging the lease sale scheduled for December 19th. The complaint claims that, in deciding to sell additional leases near Nine Mile Canyon, BLM has failed to consult and adequately assess effects on historic properties under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The complaint also alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

... 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 Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Holiday Cheer — with a Side of History

Posted on: December 15th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Every year, our National Trust Historic Sites put on a variety of events during the holiday season. The types of offerings vary widely, but they always share one important common thread -- they all draw upon the rich, diverse history of the site itself. A selection of this year's offerings is below.

Please note: Times, prices, and availability for these events should be verified by visiting the website provided and following any instructions found there.

 	  Home and Studio living room.  (Photographer: Hedrich-Blessing. Collection of FLWPT.)

Home and Studio living room. (Photographer: Hedrich-Blessing. Collection of FLWPT.)

Chicago, Illinois
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
Family Fun Days featuring Victorian Christmas Tours
Saturday, December 20, 2008

For kids, by kids. Free tours of Wright’s Oak Park home decorated for the holidays. Led by Junior Interpreters, specially trained 5th through 10th grade students, the tours focus on Wright family celebrations of the Christmas holidays. An adult must accompany children under 8.

Click here for more information (last tour on the page).

Can’t make it? Try some holiday shopping at their online museum store.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Brucemore
Douglas Family Christmas
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This specialty holiday tour features interpreters portraying the Douglas family and staff as they prepare for Christmas. Visitors will meet the Douglas family and their house staff circa 1911, in period attire, as they explain their respective roles in the Christmas celebration. Each family and staff member has a unique story to tell, from the cook, Johanna, planning the Christmas meal to special house guests, Walter and Mahala Douglas, sharing their excitement for their upcoming voyage aboard the Titanic. Visitors will delight in the family’s holiday traditions and surprises.

Click here for more information, including reservations number (final listing).

... 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 Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Notes from New Orleans: Making a "Moral Investment" in the Lower 9th Ward

Posted on: December 15th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

We've spent a lot of time lately talking about the threat to lower Mid-City, but not everything in New Orleans is so grim. The story below is an example of the ongoing good work happening there.

I want to introduce you to Anne Van Ingen, Wes Haynes, Joe Loya and their web site: www.5516dauphine.com.

Wes Haynes (right) chatting with Calvin Alexander, a Holy Cross resident who is helping with the project.

Wes Haynes (right) chatting with Calvin Alexander, a Holy Cross resident who is helping with the project.

In January of this year, Ann, a National Trust for Historic Preservation advisor from New York, and Wes attended a meeting of the National Trust’s Trustees and Advisors in New Orleans. During the meeting they participated in a tour of historic neighborhoods where our New Orleans Field Office and our local partner, the Preservation Resource Center, have been actively working to restore homes and aid families in returning through the HOME AGAIN! New Orleans program.

Moved by what they saw and learned, they decided to use their experience as historic preservation professionals to contribute to the recovery and rebuilding of New Orleans. The method by which they are making this contribution is as exciting and non-traditional as the city of New Orleans.

They have purchased a Katrina-damaged single family shotgun house in the Holy Cross Historic District, part of the Lower 9th Ward. They are renovating it with their own labor and that of their friends. The New Orleans Field Office of the National Trust will provide on-the-ground assistance and local contacts as Holy Cross is a neighborhood where we have been concentrating our efforts. Then, they will sell it to a former resident of the neighborhood for only the costs that they have incurred, no profit. They call it their “moral investment” in the city.

Cleaning salvaged barge board from a house slated for demolition.

Cleaning salvaged barge board from a house slated for demolition.

To me, it is yet another remarkable example of the heroic commitment of the hundreds and thousands of preservation volunteers that have been coming to the city since the levees broke; giving their time, their labor, and their financial support. New Orleans is in your debt. Please visit their web site and read the truly exciting story of Ann, Wes and Joe and their adventure in a flood damaged historic neighborhood of New Orleans post-Katrina. If it moves you as I think it will, Ann and Wes tell me that there’s room for more volunteer workers during their December-January build.

-- Kevin Mercadel

Kevin Mercadel is a program officer in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's New Orleans Field Office.

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 Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.