Revitalization

Preservation in Progress: Main Street Revitalizes Conrad, Iowa

Posted on: May 29th, 2014 by Grant Stevens

 

Credit: Conrad Chamber, MainStreet
The Record building in Conrad, Iowa, seen before its renovation in winter 2013

Though I now live in Washington, D.C., my home will always be Conrad, Iowa -- population 1,108 and Black Dirt Capital of the World. Conrad was actually how I first heard about the National Main Street Center, which is now a subsidiary of the National Trust. My town boasted one of Main Street Iowa’s original Rural Main Streets (populations less than 5,000) and I have fond memories of when my mom had a business in Conrad and was involved with Main Street.

Each time I go home, I notice small differences, but when I was home during Christmas this past year, major changes were underway. As Darla Ubben, the Conrad Chamber-Main Street Program Director, explains in this more in-depth Preservation Leadership Forum blog post, Conrad received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to carry out a facade improvement program on 22 storefronts and four rear facades.

I snapped some photos last winter while work was underway, and convinced my younger brother Clark to get some as well in early May when the work was nearly complete. I hope you enjoy seeing some of these great preservation-in-progress photos!

... 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.

Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens

Grant is the Manager of Community Outreach at the National Trust. He's proud to be from a Main Street Community and the Black Dirt Capitol of the World – Conrad, Iowa! Growing up on a farm, he always loved going to town and looking at the historic buildings. Now a resident of DC, Grant enjoys reading, running, and anything rural.

Why More People Should Know About Tacoma, Washington (And Not Just from 10 Things I Hate About You)

Posted on: May 27th, 2014 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Sara Stiltner, Senior Project Manager, Preservation Green Lab

Credit: Sara Stiltner/National Trust for Historic Preservation
Old City Hall, which was built 1882, was the first building to be added to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. 

Thanks to Tacoma’s Old City Hall, I finally got someone to laugh at my favorite joke, the only joke I’ve bothered to memorize.

The first time my husband Ryan visited Tacoma, Wash., we meandered through my hometown’s historic district. I showed off my favorite spots, rattling off both the histories and my memories of various buildings. Inspiration struck when we passed Old City Hall’s clock tower.... 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.

 

President Stephanie K. Meeks speaks at the Detroit Economic Club in May, 2014. Credit: Jeff Kowlasky
Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust, stresses the importance of preservation and its vital role in active and sustainable cities during a speech at the Detroit Economic Club in May 2014.

An occupational hazard of my job is that I tend to fall in love with every place I visit -- and I visit a lot of places! Granted, they’re generally among the most special places in the country, all living examples of how preservation contributes to dynamic, attractive cites.

Increasingly, the role of preservation in creating just these kinds of experiences is a topic of conversation that comes up again and again. And the National Trust is doing its part to respond. In fact, this post will be the first of many on this subject in the months ahead.... 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.

Stephanie Meeks

Stephanie K. Meeks

Stephanie K. Meeks is president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, written in 1961, Jane Jacobs observed, “Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them.”

Older, Smaller, Better: Measuring How the Character of Buildings and Blocks Influences Urban Vitality, a new report from Preservation Green Lab, validates Jacobs' long-respected, but largely untested hypothesis -- that neighborhoods containing a mix of older, smaller buildings of different ages support greater levels of positive economic and social activity than areas dominated by newer, larger buildings.

The three study cities -- San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. -- all have extensive older building stock and strong real estate markets. In this toolkit, we share the highlights from the research as well as the steps your community can take to realize similar benefits. (See the full report and methodology here.)... 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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

CityLove: Chattanooga Edition

Posted on: May 7th, 2014 by Grant Stevens 2 Comments

 

CityLove Header: Learn More!

Credit: chattanoogafun.com
Chattanooga, Tenn., looking toward Lookout Mountain (center left). From left to right, the bridges are: the Walnut Street Bridge (with the Hunter Museum of American Art at its base), the Market Street Bridge (officially called the the Chief John Ross Bridge), and the P.R. Oligati Bridge. 

Last week, National Trust staff members attended the annual Vanguard gathering hosted by Next City in Chattanooga, Tenn., which is where we are headed for our next edition of CityLove!

While Vanguard attendees and the National Trust staff worked to “collectively learn and think about how to tackle the challenges our cities face," they also spent some time exploring the city.

Chattanooga hasn’t always been so beautiful. In 1969, the federal government declared that Chattanooga had the dirtiest air in the nation, and since then, the city has been on a mission to clean up its image. The road to recovery hasn't been easy (the city lost 10 percent of its population in the 1980s), but substantial private and public investment has turned Chattanooga around, earning it a new nickname -- "The Scenic City."

Now known for its many outdoor attractions like Lookout Mountain (not to mention its Incline Railway), the Raccoon Mountain Caverns, and Reflection Riding Arboretum and Botanical Garden, historic preservation is certainly part of the scenery as well.... 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.

Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens

Grant is the Manager of Community Outreach at the National Trust. He's proud to be from a Main Street Community and the Black Dirt Capitol of the World – Conrad, Iowa! Growing up on a farm, he always loved going to town and looking at the historic buildings. Now a resident of DC, Grant enjoys reading, running, and anything rural.