Author Archive

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.

Soft Economy Creates Hard Challenges for Some Communities

Posted on: December 12th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

In November, the National Trust Main Street Center took the pulse of communities to gauge the economic health of commercial districts throughout the nation. We asked how the downturn of the national economy is affecting Main Street and what, if anything, is being done to counter negative impacts.

First, the good news. In a survey of 261 individuals in Main Street communities, 21 percent have not seen any significant business closures, reduction in sales, or stoppage of major development projects; seven percent even reported a thriving business district. On the other end of the spectrum, however, 33 percent of the survey respondents reported lower sales than this time last year, 27 percent have seen new and current development projects stall, and 24 percent have seen one or more businesses close.

While many survey participants have felt insulated from the nose dive in the stock market, they aren’t confident that their good fortune will last. The National Trust Main Street Center is compiling tips and resources for retailers and economic development organizations -- check back on Wednesday to take a look at this valuable information.

And in the meantime, when you're doing your holiday shopping, think local. Click here to find the closest Main Street district to you, or visit www.shopmainstreet.org to find specific Main Street retailers, whether you're heading down the block or shopping from the comfort of your living room. (Yes, Main Streets are in cyberspace.)

-- Andrea Dono

Andrea Dono is Associate Editor for the National Trust Main Street Center.

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.

Newsweek Learns that Preservation is Green

Posted on: December 5th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Newsweek magazine recently published a letter from our Local Partner the Landmark Society of Western New York defending the case for sustainability when paired with responsible preservation practices. The letter was in response to an earlier Newsweek article, The Bad News About Green Architecture by Cathleen McGuigan, which focused on the negative impacts of the growing "fad" of building new sustainable buildings, but failed to identify the benefits of adaptive reuse to the sustainability movement.

"Our goal was to hopefully offer an alternative perspective (to which some people likely hadn’t been previously exposed) as they consider the issues of 'green building/construction' raised in the article," said Director of Marketing, Laura Zavala. The Landmark Society initially commented on the Newsweek article on their blog, but thought it important to voice their opinion on the article to the editors of Newsweek, as well. "Although they edited our letter for length, they successfully preserved the main points we were attempting to communicate. As we look for alternatives and focus on sustainable living as a nation, our talking points will have hopefully resonated strongly enough to stick with some folks."

And they did so quite well. In less than 500 words, the Landmark Society was able to put front and center in a reader’s mind the fact that new construction -- no matter how green or cutting edge -- uses new resources and energy, and creates waste. As we continue to make the case for preservation in sustainable development, we must all take every opportunity to impart this simple fact: preservation has been, and always will be, green.

-- Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is the program assistant for the Statewide & Local Partners office at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

***

Learn more about:

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.

BREAKING NEWS: Charity Hospital Announcement

Posted on: November 25th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 3 Comments

 

BREAKING NEWS: On November 25th, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University announced the selection of the Mid-City neighborhood for the site of their new hospitals. The new hospitals would needlessly destroy the historic neighborhood around Charity Hospital where residents have been rebuilding and restoring their community since Hurricane Katrina.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation views this decision as a serious error, as better alternatives that would save the neighborhood around the hospital are available.

"In selecting these sites, the VA and LSU have made a serious error. They chose the alternatives that will not only be the most time-consuming, costly, and complex, to implement, but will needlessly destroy a historic neighborhood where residents are struggling to rebuild their community in the wake of Hurricane Katrina" said Richard Moe president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The VA and LSU had other options, yet they chose the most difficult and destructive route to delivering health care to the region's veterans and a medical teaching facility to the community. We strongly urge the VA and LSU to reconsider, and take another look at other less harmful alternatives on the table."

While the decision has come down today, five important questions remain unanswered as to why this particular site has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Louisiana State University. "The sites selected by the VA and LSU would demolish fifteen square blocks within the Mid-City National Register Historic District, including some 165 historic structures, most of them homes, to make way for the new hospitals," said Walter Gallas, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's New Orleans Field Office. "This is a lose-lose situation all around."

More to come...

Read more about the threat to Charity Hospital and the surrounding issues.

Read the Full Press Release.

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.