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Impressions on Galveston after Hurricane Ike

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

 

In a modest response effort to assist the Galveston Historical Foundation with recovery efforts post-Hurricane Ike, I traveled to the area to lend a hand to our Local Partner. I wanted to see the damage firsthand and better understand the situation—both in terms of the state of historic resources and the condition of our Local Partner. By now, many images of Ike have been shared and several reports have come in from visitors. These are brief notes and observation from my trip on October 2-3.

Moving salvaged doors.

Moving salvaged doors.

My senses were a little on-edge as I drove to Galveston after flying into Houston Hobby Airport. It had been a couple of years since Hurricane Rita ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast, but it seemed so recent that my memory was spewing out fresh images of that storm. The first thing that struck me as I grew closer to the Island was the traffic. This was Houston-like traffic, but it was in the wrong direction and 35 miles south of Houston! It felt as if I’d been dropped into a huge contractors’ convention. Once I waded through the traffic and landed on Broadway, the next assault on my senses was the smell…like a big garbage dump. That’s understandable, though, because that’s what much of the Island is right now -- a big pile of fetid debris removed from the first floors of buildings after a thorough soaking by Hurricane Ike’s storm surge. What Ike didn’t blow away, he saturated with several feet of sea water and mud. The locals refer to it as “the nasty.” And it is. Finally, my eyes saw the true wrath of Ike -- block after block of historic resources were open to the elements -- trying to dry out. With carpet, drywall, furniture, appliances and memories all piled up on the street waiting their turn to add to the garbage pile. Galveston Island had turned into a big garbage scow.

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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.

Virtual Roadtrip

Posted on: October 14th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

The National Preservation Conference is just around the corner -- next week, in fact.  Join Jeff and Kelly of Vintage Roadside on Route 66 as they make their way to their exhibit booth at the conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma - they'll drive from Topock, Arizona to Tulsa in five days, blogging about their experiences en route. Their posts will appear in the sidebar of this blog all week as they travel across the Southwest.

Vintage Roadside produces screen printed t-shirts featuring authentic advertising images from mom-and-pop roadside businesses of the 1930s through early 1960s, and donates a portion of their sales to our work here at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where, in 2007, we listed the motels of Route 66 on our annual list of 11 Most Endangered Places.

-- Susan Neumann & Lori Feinman

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.

Partners in Preservation Grant Aids in Stabilization of Viking Ship

Posted on: October 10th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 4 Comments

 

The Viking Ship sailed from Norway to Chicago in 1892 for the World's Columbian Exposition.

The Viking Ship sailed from Norway to Chicago in 1892 for the World's Columbian Exposition.

I traveled to Geneva, Illinois, last week to see the results of our Chicagoland Partners in Preservation grant on the Viking Ship. Constructed in 1892 as an exact replica of a 9th century vessel, the Viking Ship sailed from Norway to Chicago for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 in an attempt to prove that Leif Ericksson and Viking sailors could have reached North America before Columbus.

For much of the twentieth century the ship remained in Chicago as part of the Chicago Park District, until a local volunteer group in Geneva offered to take it and raise funds for a restoration. Unfortunately, those plans never came to fruition. The ship sat neglected and open to the elements under a tarp in Good Templar Park for several years. With no plan for its stabilization, and no funding available for repairs or relocation, Landmarks Illinois placed the Viking Ship on their 2007 statewide endangered list to draw attention to its plight.

A system of cables was installed to realign the hull.

A system of cables was installed to realign the hull.

But the Viking Ship has come a long way in the past 12 months, thanks in large part to the hard work and dedication of Liz Safanda, the Preservation Partners of Fox Valley (PPFV), and many others. With assistance from a Partners in Preservation grant and local fundraising, the ship has undergone a remarkable transformation. The steel cradle carrying the ship was modified with several new supports, a system of cables and turnbuckles was installed to carefully return the ship to its proper position, the sternpost was straightened, and over a dozen frames were added to reduce stress from the many split and cracked planks.

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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.

Coming to you live from Oklahoma this is Oklahoma City!

Posted on: October 3rd, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

To be perfectly honest I really wasn’t sure what to expect for this marathon field session heading to Oklahoma City. I knew of the rivalry between Tulsa and OK City, and that OK City is the state capital but not much else. Farin and I headed out early one morning (after stopping at Topéca for our road-trip coffee –- make sure you don’t miss this fantastic local coffeehouse).

It is a two-hour drive to Oklahoma City from Tulsa. And what a gorgeous drive it is! Now, I have driven through rural landscapes before, but what strikes me as unique and oddly beautiful are the oil derricks lazily pumping oil -- many of them were just off the interstate.

A painting by Sandzen that captures the blues of the Oklahoma sky.

A painting by Birger Sandzen that captures the blues of the Oklahoma sky.

I have been told that Montana and the Dakotas are big sky country and since I have never been to any of those places I don’t have a comparison -– but to me Oklahoma would rank as one of the top when it comes to big sky country. The sky seems to go on forever. This was particularly evident during our drive back to Tulsa. I kept thinking that I needed to pull over and try to snap a few shots of the sky. However, I have learned that my memory is far better than any picture I could take, so I quickly talked myself out of stopping -– besides we were on I-44 and I wasn’t too keen about pulling off the highway onto the shoulder. What I will share is a painting by Birger Sandzen. For those of you going to Ponca City with Ponca City: Where the 20s Still Roar field session, you might have an opportunity to see this painting in the Public Library. Somehow Sandzen captures the colors we saw in the afternoon sky that day.

So back to Oklahoma City -- Dr. Bob Blackburn and his fabulous team were our guides for the day. Dr. Blackburn will be leading two of the three field sessions heading out to Oklahoma City. For those of you in the know Dr. Blackburn is the featured speaker in Tuesday’s Special Lecture.

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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.

Preservation + Direct Democracy = San Francisco's Prop J

Posted on: October 1st, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

No doubt some of you live in states that still embrace old-fashioned notions of representative democracy: you know, that’s where citizens elect officials to represent their interests when making public policy decisions. Then there are the rest of us. We live in states, mostly in the West, where we figure, hey, why not cut out the middleman and legislate ourselves?

Before I venture too far afield (I feel a rant coming on), allow me to state for the record, loud and clear: “People of San Francisco, vote ‘Yes’ on J!” More on that below.

Funny thing: direct democracy turns out to be pretty hard work. Take San Francisco, where I live. In 2004 -- we tend to get especially animated about propositions in presidential election years -- California voters were asked to consider 17 measures. The California Official Voter Information Guide ran 168 pages (so much for our carbon emission goals). As if that wasn’t enough paper to chew through, that year there was also a Supplemental Voter Information Guide for two measures that were placed on the ballot too late for the regular Voter Information Guide (that was pretty slim volume -- just 24 pages).

That’s just the state. San Franciscans voted on an additional 28 measures. The City of San Francisco’s Official VoterPamphlet,” weighed in at 196 pages (pity the postal person). Nothing like tucking into 388 pages of electoral prose before pulling the metaphorical lever.

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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.