Author Archive

Museum of the Confederacy Unveils New Plan

Posted on: October 19th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Museum of the Confederacy, RichmondAlmost broke and very controversial, Virginia's Museum of the Confederacy announced a new battle plan last month for staying relevant—and in business. Formed in the 1890s, in the last decade the Richmond-based museum has teetered toward financial collapse, endangering its research archive, artifact collection, and its home, the 1818 mansion known as the White House of the Confederacy. With an emergency room as a next-door neighbor, the museum, claiming that the downtown medical complex had made its location untenable for visitors, has begun floating a plan to build a satellite system of museums at the battlegrounds of Appomattox, Chancellorsville, Fort Monroe, and a fourth naval site near Hampton, Va.

"Moving some of the museum's collection—for example, [Robert E.] Lee's boots, tent, and sword—to Appomattox, there they would be appropriate and well displayed," says Nicholas Muller, former National Trust trustee. "This may be a clever plan." Muller led a review that told the beleaguered organization it had little time and room to maneuver if it wanted to survive.

What the museum's new plan fails to address is whether its continued existence will generate controversy. ... 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.

Hip Hop History

Posted on: October 12th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Harlem YMCAIf a party in Woodstock, N.Y., defined an era, another party in the Bronx four years later planted the seeds of a new one. On Aug. 11, 1973, Clive Campbell and his sister, Cindy, hosted a party in their high-rise at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. Clive, also known as DJ Kool Herc, mixed and matched records on turn tables as guests in a cramped community room danced the night away. The party swelled, moved into the street, and lasted well into the next morning. That evening, the art form of hip hop, the cultural and musical phenomenon that has permeated virtually every corner of the world, was born.

"It was just a party, intended to be something positive in the community," says Cindy Campbell.

Now the tenants of the 100-unit apartment building where it all began are calling upon this unique history to keep the owner from selling the low-income housing unit to a private investor. The complex was built in 1969 as part of the state-funded Mitchell-Lama program, which created 115,000 units of affordable housing in New York City. But after 20 years in the program, BSR Management, the current owner, is allowed to opt out of the subsidy program and raise rental fees.

The tenants argue that if the building is recognized as a significant historical landmark, its affordable housing status should be preserved. ... 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.

Endangered Site Closer to Being Saved

Posted on: October 10th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Flags at the Minidoka Internment Camp, Hunt, Idaho. Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation Western Regional OfficePreservationists, National Park supporters, local residents, and members of the Japanese American community scored a major victory yesterday in their efforts to halt a 13,000-head concentrated animal feeding operation (or factory farm) just over one mile from the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho. The Jerome County Commissioners voted 2-1 to deny the application for the facility, which threatened to affect the National Monument with intense odor, dust, pests, and airborne pathogens.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation called attention to the plight of Minidoka earlier this year when we listed the Monument as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The National Trust staff at the Western Regional Office and in Washington, DC, along with the National Park Service, Preservation Idaho, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Japanese American Citizens League, and local residents, advocated for months to urge the Jerome County Commissioners to deny the feedlot application and protect the Monument. The feedlot applicant will file an appeal of the decision, and the National Trust and its partners will continue to work to preserve the integrity of the Minidoka Internment National Monument.

To learn more about the effects of factory farming on our nation’s heritage, and what you can do to help, please visit the Rural Heritage section of the National Trust website.

For more coverage of the threats facing the Minidoka Internment National Monument and the Jerome County Commissioners’ decision, please visit: http://www.magicvalley.com.

-- Elaine Stiles

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.

Rooted in Preservation

Posted on: October 10th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

St. Paul, fading into darkness. (Warren Shaver)(This post was written as part of PreservationNation’s coverage of the National Preservation Conference, October 2-6, 2007.)

From "Root Shock" to root vegetables, the two keynote speeches of the 2007 National Preservation Conference's Closing Plenary differed in their respective topics, but at root (do you get the theme here?), Dr. Mindy Fullilove and Arlin Wasserman shared a key value that is also near and dear to the preservationists sitting in the audience: the critical importance of place.

As we filed in to the Orpheum Theater in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday morning (past many of our familiar colleagues clad in some very unfamiliar attire: straw hats and bandannas. Hmmm, could all of these people have lost a bet, or was it a collective overreaction to Garrison Keillor's admonition that preservationists need to lighten up? More on this mystery in a minute), we were looking forward to an interesting double-bill.

Dr. Fullilove is a social psychologist who focuses on the psychological harm done to individuals when their community is dispersed and their social networks are disrupted. Wasserman, whose work focuses on "terroir"—French for "the taste of place"—is a self-described "foodie" who travels the globe tasting some of the world's greatest food. Wasserman's work forces him to drink Champagne in France, sample arugula in Cuba, and seek out iced cider in Quebec.

... 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.

Edith Wharton's Prize

Posted on: October 9th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The MountOne of the National Preservation Honor Awards, announced last week, went to The Mount, American author Edith Wharton's estate in Lenox, Mass. Since its reopening in 2002, it has become one of the most renowned literary landmarks in the country, drawing 30,000 visitors annually.

Wharton purchased the property in 1902 and renovated it according to her own design. "This place, every line of which is my own work, far surpasses The House of Mirth," Wharton once wrote in a letter. At The Mount, Wharton wrote The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome and entertained fellow literary stars such as Henry James. After a scandalous divorce in 1911, she left The Mount and moved to France, where she lived until her death in 1937.

The year after Wharton left The Mount, her ex-husband sold the property. After several other owners, a brief stint as a school, and a long period of neglect, the nonprofit group Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc. purchased The Mount in 1980 to restore the property.... 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.