Author Archive

Heart Bombs at National Trust Historic Sites: Staff and Visitors Feel the Love

Posted on: February 13th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

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Last month, we on the National Trust editorial team sent an impassioned plea to our Historic Sites department: "Buy glitter. Make hearts. Show us the love."

And boy, did our sites deliver! Twelve of our National Trust Historic Sites across the country coordinated love-filled heart bombs to show the world why they love their historic place so much. We've gathered some of our favorite photos from their events -- complete with heartfelt quotes about each site from its staff, supporters, and visitors -- and shared them with you here. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

P.S. Interested in hosting your own heart bomb for a place you love? Here's how you can make a heart bomb happen.... 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.

[VIDEO] Why Shockoe Bottom is Relevant Today

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

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Between 1830 and 1865, Richmond, Virginia's Shockoe Bottom was the second-busiest hub of the American slave trade. The creek bottom that now sits near I-95 hosted auction houses, offices, and slave jails. Solomon Northup, whose memoir inspired the 2013 Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave, was held in Shockoe Bottom in 1841.

Since then, much of what was Shockoe Bottom has been lost to time, but the site still stands as a reminder of the suffering and injustice that took place there. It is also a symbol of endurance and resistance.

Today, the site is also threatened by the proposed construction of a minor league baseball stadium and other development.

In September 2014, the National Trust and Preservation Virginia convened local leaders and historians at President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington to discuss the future of Shockoe Bottom. They were asked why Shockoe Bottom is still relevant today, and what they would like to tell the mayor of Richmond about the development plans for the site. Here is what they said.

... 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.

[VIDEO] Why Shockoe Bottom Matters

Posted on: January 21st, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

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Between 1830 and 1865, the slave trade of Richmond, Virginia's Shockoe Bottom was second in importance only to that of New Orleans. Auction houses, offices, and slave jails, like the one that held Solomon Northup, whose memoir was the basis for the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, were scattered across a creek bottom that flowed to the James River.

Much of the site has been lost to time, but the place remains a reminder of the suffering and injustice that took place there. It also stands as a symbol of endurance and resistance.

But beyond the passage of time, the site is also threatened by the proposed construction of a minor league baseball stadium and other development.

In September 2014, the National Trust and Preservation Virginia convened local leaders and historians at President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington to discuss the future of Shockoe Bottom. They were asked why Shockoe Bottom matters to them, and how they would like to see the site used. Here is what they said.

... 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.

Historic Places as Sites of Conscience: Shockoe Bottom’s Potential to Change Society

Posted on: January 19th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 5 Comments

 

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By Rob Nieweg, Field Director, and Brent Leggs, Senior Field Officer

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Virginia convened local leaders and historians at a retreat to weigh in on why Shockoe Bottom matters as a Site of Conscience.

On the third Monday of each January, Americans are called to reflect on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. On this national day of service, we also are encouraged by President Obama to take action to make our nation a better place to live.

The stewards of historic places take action, of course, to document and conserve evidence of the past. They inform and engage visitors, and preserve our shared heritage for future generations. At their best, however, the historic places we work so hard to protect -- places like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Dr. King’s birthplace, and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis -- can serve as Sites of Conscience that raise hard questions, spark discussion of contemporary social problems, and inspire us to change society for the better.

Now, we are focusing on another historic and equally worthy place to join the ranks of these nationally significant Sites of Conscience: Shockoe Bottom.... 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.

A Letter from Lupita: Why Shockoe Bottom Deserves — and Demands — Protection

Posted on: January 15th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 4 Comments

 

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Written by Erica Stewart, Manager, Public Affairs

Shockoe Bottom in downtown Richmond, Virginia, was once the second-largest slave trading site in the country. Today, it is mostly a patchwork of vacant lots and surface parking.

This is no way to treat the land on which men, women and children were bought, sold, and tortured. Neither is building a major league ballpark upon it, which is exactly what Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones is proposing in his “Revitalize RVA” plan.

This threat prompted us to list Shockoe Bottom to 2014’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and also to name it to our portfolio of National Treasures. We are now working with Preservation Virginia, local leaders, and national experts to shape an alternative development plan that would excavate the archeological remains that lie beneath the ballpark site and uplift Shockoe Bottom as a place for reflection, healing, and learning. (Read more about the project in this previous post.)

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Our work caught the attention of actress Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Patsey in the film “12 Years a Slave,” based on the memoir of free man-turned-slave Solomon Northrup. She was moved to write a passionate hand-written letter to the mayor, expressing her desire to see Shockoe Bottom preserved as a site of conscience. Here’s what she had to say.... 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.

All in the Family: What Oatlands Means to the People Who Grew Up There

Posted on: January 13th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

By Katherine Malone-France, Vice President for Historic Sites

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A snapshot of Oatlands Plantation after a winter snowfall

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to visit with several of the families who gave their properties to the National Trust to become historic sites. These families, who owned our sites before they were open to the public and made the choice to donate them to the National Trust, have a unique perspective on these places and our work.

One such site is Oatlands, a National Historic Landmark in Leesburg, Virginia, that was donated to the National Trust in 1964 by the Eustis family, who had owned the property since the early 20th century. However, the connection between the Eustis family and the National Trust runs even deeper; Margaret Eustis, one of the final generation of the family to own the property, was the wife of David Finley, the founding chairman of the National Trust and an important figure in American cultural life in the 20th century.

David Finley served as the first director of the National Gallery of Art and the founding chairman of the White House Historical Association. He’s also credited for much of the success of the Roberts Commission, of which he served as vice chairman, in saving great works of art in Europe during WWII. (Here’s a great post on Finley’s role in the Roberts Commission, whose story was told in the recent film “Monuments Men.”)

For the first post in a series of Q&As with some of the families connected to homes that have become National Trust Historic Sites, David Finley Williams, a retired attorney and the grandson of David Finley, was kind enough to answer a few questions about his family’s connections to Oatlands and to the National Trust.... 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.