Author Archive

Kansas Mall To Replace Last House on the Block

Posted on: October 1st, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Strasser HouseIn Manhattan, Kan., the fight to save the last house in a neighborhood lost to a shopping center soon may lose its footing.

Built in 1874, the limestone Phillipena J. Strasser House is the last in a residential area that consisted of late 19th- to mid-20th-century limestone abodes.

Last year, Omaha-based developer Dial Realty purchased the property, adjacent to Manhattan's original downtown area, and began construction on a shopping center and senior living community. Dial has leveled everything except for the Strasser House. Recently, Dial announced plans to move the house down the block.

"The Strasser House is in poor repair," says Rick Kiolbasa, partner at Dial Realty, who notes that fire and termite damage have led to the house's deteriorated condition. Kiolbasa says Dial never planned to demolish the Strasser House. "We'd always wanted to save the house in some form, but we never knew exactly what the shopping center would look like and where it could fit in." Kiolbasa adds that Dial plans on rehabilitating the house, possibly for use as office space.... 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.

High-Voltage Debate

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Virginia power linesThe Northeast's longest free-flowing river, the Upper Delaware River, meanders from Hancock, N.Y., to Matamoras, Pa. Bald eagles make this a popular bird-watching spot. Abundant fish lure fly fishermen, and Class II and III rapids attract kayakers. Congress, recognizing the natural beauty of this area, set aside the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River for protection under the National Parks System in 1978. The area, 90 minutes from New York City, "is pristine and gorgeous," says Michael Schmidt, a kayaker and regular park visitor. "It is one of the most tranquil parts of the country I have ever been to."

But the area is just one of the many historic and scenic places that may soon have a new neighbor: a 500-kilovolt transmission line some 160 feet overhead. New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. has proposed a 190-mile line from central New York to the lower Hudson Valley to alleviate energy congestion in the Northeast. The preferred route in some sections follows a gas pipeline—a right of way that predates the park—and passes through four miles of ridge top along the river and a mile-long section of the canal.

Not surprisingly, local and national organizations have been actively opposing the line. "If someone was fly fishing on the river or recreating on the park site, they will look up and shadows will be cast down on the river and in the valley by these 160-foot towers," says Bryan Faehner, legislative representative at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Similar battles are taking place in eight eastern states. ... 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.

Back to School for Green Preservationists

Posted on: September 21st, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Walk into any super-mart today, and you'll find a "green" option for every item on your list, from energy-efficient light bulbs to seeded stationary to Low-E windows. Green is on everyone's mind these days. As green building and historic preservation overlap, university students across the country are forging new majors that reflect the times, which could mean revolutionary changes for both fields.

"The first day of class, out of the 11 people who introduced themselves, I think five people identified sustainability as a reason why they chose to go into historic preservation," says Jennifer Flathman, who is pursuing her master's degree in historic preservation at the University of Oregon in Portland.

"Students, because of their age and generation, are very much in tune with these issues [the connection between green building and preservation]," says Ken Guzowski, former professor of historic preservation at the University of Oregon and the current senior planner for the city of Eugene.... 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.

Tomb Remains Threatened

Posted on: September 20th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 5 Comments

 

Truman at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Harry S. Truman Library & Museum)The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier remains at serious risk and, unfortunately, the Army is rushing to finalize its agreement to replace the historic monument by September 30th.

On September 13th, however, we understand that staff to the Senate Armed Services Committee met with Mary Oehrlein, a preservation expert and author of the Cemetery’s 1990 study of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument.

Ms. Oehrlein told congressional staffers:

  • “Although there is separation in the stone along the naturally occurring fault lines of the stone … i.e. the cracks ... the monument is in no danger of falling apart and poses no danger to the public or cemetery personnel. A very significant external force, similar to an earthquake, would be required to cause the stone to slide apart.”
  • “The existing monument can easily be repaired, as was done 17 years ago, using conventional conservation methods to re-grout the cracks. Once repaired, the fault lines would be virtually invisible from the public viewing areas.”
  • “There is no way to stop the deterioration of the surface of the existing stone or any newly quarried and carved piece of stone, unless it is placed out of the weather in a controlled environment.”
  • “The idea that a new piece of stone can be quarried that will not contain faults is unrealistic. The chance of quarrying three flawless pieces of stone is zero. It really is a question of how quickly the faults will appear when the replacement stone is quarried, carved or as the stone weathers.”

Contributed by Robert Nieweg, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Southern 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.

Home Again: Audrey Smith is Back in her Shotgun

Posted on: July 27th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Special for the National Trust for Historic Preservation by Alex Lemann

Mrs. Smith remains bullish about her street’s prospects for recovery. (Photo by Alex Lemann)When Audrey Smith first made contact with the National Trust Emergency Assistance Team in the spring of 2006, she had already been working on her house for months. Although she was living in Gretna and her neighborhood was still closed to permanent residents, Mrs. Smith began work on her house only a month after the storm, making the trip to Holy Cross on weekends with her son to clear out waterlogged furniture, gut the house, and do whatever they could to help her get home. After Kevin Mercadel, program officer for the National Trust’s New Orleans Field Office, conducted a site visit for Mrs. Smith in May and helped draw up a scope of work for her house, she quickly took over, hiring a contractor and putting her scanty insurance and FEMA money to work. “We were really impressed by her drive,” Kevin says. “She used our report with the limited funds she had, and she took charge of the project herself.”

... 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.