Author Archive

Give Lincoln a Lincoln

Posted on: November 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

First Lady Laura Bush listens to Frank Milligan, executive director of President Lincoln's Cottage, on her 2007 tour of the house.

First Lady Laura Bush listens to Frank Milligan, executive director of President Lincoln's Cottage, on her 2007 tour of the house.

On this chilly November morning, a white yellow sunlight raked the farmland and light industrial parks that skirt Hodgenville, Kentucky, a small town one hour south of Louisville and the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Everyone was abuzz because First Lady Laura Bush was visiting to kick-off the "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" program, developed by the History Channel to benefit six sites associated with the 16th president. "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" permits people around the country to donate "Lincolns" (pennies and five dollars bills) to help preserve the sites, which includes President Lincoln's Cottage, the National Trust Historic Site in Washington, D.C.

As state and local officials, preservationists and citizens, and dozens of students from nearby Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, gathered at the birthplace, National Park Service employees with leafblowers battled wind gusts as they tried to clear the parking lot, sidewalks and lawn of leaves. In the visitors center, some students colored "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" collection boxes, while others heard about the president's life from a Lincoln reenactor. Mrs. Bush and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, arrived at 10:30 in a grey Suburban, and spent the next thirty minutes getting demonstrations on wood splitting, flax spinning, and touring the visitors center. Shortly after 11AM, Mrs. Bush, Secretary Kempthorne, Libby O'Connell, and Park Service officials descended the steep staircase from the Greco-Roman Memorial Building, adjacent to the visitors center, that houses what may be Lincoln's boyhood home, and individually addressed the crowd about Lincoln's importance, the need to preserve sites associates with the former president, and how every "Give a Lincoln for Lincoln" donation will assist in that goal. By 11:45 the event was over -- the First Lady was headed for Fort Knox and her flight back to Washington, and the remaining guests headed for the visitors center to thaw. The atmosphere in the room was celebratory. Now it was time, some said, to get some biscuits and gravy.

-Nord Wennerstrom, Director of Communications, 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.

Restored Homan Square Chimney to Empower Students

Posted on: November 14th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

In 2007, the Homan Square Power House in Chicago was selected as a grant recipient of the Partners in Preservation program.

Great care was taken to preserve pieces of the historic machinery throughout the building that were so integral to the Power House’s function. For instance, the massive overhead crane will serve as the platform for a large, mobile screen.

Care was taken to preserve pieces of the machinery that were integral to the Power House’s function -- this massive overhead crane will be the platform for a large, mobile screen.

The Power House was constructed in 1905 in the Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago as part of the Sears, Roebuck & Company complex designed by Chicago architectural firm of Nimmons & Fel­lows. It served as the heating and cooling plant for the massive Sears complex until it was decommissioned in 2004.  Now it is part of the $35 million, award-winning Homan Square redevelopment project, undergoing restoration for use as Henry Ford Power House High, which will answer a deep community need for high-quality schools.

The lower levels of the chimney will remain open and surrounded by a new internal staircase that will allow student to see its features up close.

The lower levels of the chimney will remain open and surrounded by a new internal staircase.

One of the most iconic exterior features of the building is the 185 foot tall, 14 foot wide, radial brick chimney, which will be preserved as a neighborhood landmark, but also as an educational tool to facilitate student experimentation with the dynamics of heat, airflow and energy generation. To stabilize the chimney and preserve its structural integrity, a portion of the top was removed and all of the brick masonry is being repointed. Once this step is complete, a chimney liner will be installed and a transparent chimney cap placed on top, to allowing daylight into the heart of the building while also giving students access to the structure of the chimney.

The Power House is expected to be complete in time for Power House High to accept students in the fall of 2009, but they are still seeking additional funds to support the retention and restoration of historic mechanical elements in the building, such as the “Link-Belt” coal bucket system that carried coal to the furnaces in the basement.

– Christina Morris

Christina Morris is a program officer in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Midwest Office.

Learn more about the Partners in Preservation program here.

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.

Veterans Day 2008: They're Also Heroes on the Homefront (Video)

Posted on: November 11th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The second in a series of videos highlighting the winners of the 2008 National Preservation Awards.


 

In towns all over the Sunflower State, the National Guard Armory is a prominent landmark and a symbol of local pride. Because of the Kansas Army National Guard’s commitment to good stewardship over the past decade, these historic structures can continue to play a vital role in community life.

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.

Veterans Day 2008: Update on the Historic Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Posted on: November 11th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington Cemetery

On this day when we honor the sacrifice of the men and women of our military, there now is hope that the authentic Tomb of the Unknowns will be restored rather than discarded and replaced -- thanks to the intervention of Congress, historic preservationists, and the American public.

Marble conservation experts agree that the monument’s cracks are cosmetic, nonstructural, and – most important – can be repaired to be virtually invisible to the millions of annual visitors to the Tomb of the Unknowns.

On November 7, 2008, Arlington National Cemetery convened a meeting, pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, to begin planning for what Cemetery officials call the “possible repair” of the 1932 Tomb Monument. Following this meeting, the National Trust for Historic Preservation can report that:

  • Arlington National Cemetery has agreed to consider conducting the high-tech tests and analysis necessary to understand the cause of the cracks and to design the most effective restoration techniques.
  • The Cemetery has agreed to invite a blue-ribbon panel of marble conservation experts to help select the marble conservator, if the repair project moves forward.
  • If the Cemetery agrees to repair the marble monument, the conservation work likely would be conducted in late Spring or early Summer 2009.
  • Cemetery officials expressed concerns on November 7th that the repair project would disrupt the visitor’s experience of the Tomb of the Unknowns. (On the contrary, preservationists believe the repair project would present an opportunity to educate visitors about the historic significance and proper treatment of the monument.)
  • Replacement of the Tomb Monument with a replica would cost $2.2 million, while preservation-based repair would cost $65,000.
  • Finally, Arlington National Cemetery has not committed to repair the marble monument and has not abandoned the Cemetery’s long-term plan to discard and replace the authentic monument with a replica.

Government agencies participating in the November 7th meeting included the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Arlington County Historic Preservation Office, Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, National Center for Preservation Technology & Training, and U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

The nonprofit historic preservation community was represented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Institute for Conservation.

-- Rob Nieweg

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

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Learn more about our ongiong efforts to save the authentic Tomb of the Unknowns.

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.

Abraham Lincoln — and His Horse — Arrive in Washington, DC

Posted on: November 10th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Abraham Lincoln and his horse.

Abraham Lincoln and his horse arrived at President Lincoln’s Cottage today—in bronze form, that is. The 2500 pound sculpture, commissioned through the generosity of Robert H. Smith, commemorates Lincoln's bicentennial and will be dedicated in February 2009.

Lincoln and his family lived at the Cottage for one quarter of his presidency -- it was the place where Lincoln plotted Union wartime strategies, worked on the emancipation proclamation and determined to include the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the Republican platform of 1864.

The sculpture, designed by StudioEIS in New York, took one year to create from sketches to final cast. To render an historically accurate likeness of the 16th president and his horse, StudioEIS conducted extensive research, including: examination all of the known photos of Lincoln, plus the lifecasts of his face and hands; taking measurements of his top hat and coat at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History; and, working with equine experts and photos of the president's favorite horse, "Old Bob."

Overall, the sculpture measures 84 inches tall and 88 inches long. Unlike the many formal depictions of Lincoln, this one is informal and highlights a moment at either the beginning or the end of Lincoln’s daily commute from the Cottage to the White House.

The Cottage opened to the public February 19, 2008, following a 7-year, $15 million restoration. To find out more and to reserve space on one of its multimedia, state-of-the-art tours, visit: www.lincolnscottage.org.

-Caroline Barker
-Video by Matt Ringelstetter

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.