Interviews

 

As fantastic as it is, the National Register of Historic Places can get a little confusing -- even for a seasoned pro. But fear not, because the PreservationNation blog has teamed up with Jim Gabbert, a historian with the National Park Service, to create our National Register Guide.

Webers Root Beer Drive In Pennsauken NJ Exterior Retro Roadmap. Credit: Beth Lennon
Assessing historic integrity is all about connecting a site's current characteristics to the its historic importance. The more evidence there is of the past, the more integrity a property has.

Episode Eight of our National Register of Historic Places Guide identified the different criteria and "areas of significance" that are important for National Register listing. Episode Nine goes one step further by explaining how to evaluate the historic integrity of a site as it relates to its significance.... 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.

David Weible

David Weible

David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

 

As fantastic as it is, the National Register of Historic Places can get a little confusing -- even for a seasoned pro. But fear not, because the PreservationNation blog has teamed up with Jim Gabbert, a historian with the National Park Service, to create our National Register Guide.

Melissa Jest in front of the John Coltrane House. Credit: Melissa Jest
The former house of a celebrity would likely qualify for Criterion B of the National Register, but could also qualify for other criteria. Here, National Trust staffer Melissa Jest visits the John Coltrane House.

Episode Seven of our National Register of Historic Places Guide demonstrated how to establish a property's historic significance. Episode Eight identifies the different criteria and "areas of significance" that are important for National Register listing.... 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.

David Weible

David Weible

David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

[Interview] Asma Jaber: PIVOTing the World of Preservation

Posted on: August 17th, 2015 by Jamesha Gibson 1 Comment

 

150811_blog-photo_Asma-and-Sami-in-Jerusalem
Asma Jaber (left) and Sami Jitan (right) are the co-founders of the PIVOT app.

Preservationists know how difficult it is not only to protect, but also interpret cultural landscapes that are in highly vulnerable or frequently transitioning circumstances.

Asma Jaber and her fiancé Sami Jitan saw the extent of this dilemma as they witnessed the endangerment of many historic sites while studying in Palestine. In response, the couple created an app called PIVOT.

Using a high-quality, open-sourced platform, PIVOT (which launches in November) will give users access to streamlined digital cultural preservation in places where cultural heritage and history are at risk and in places that have suffered a decline in tourism and/or have rich tourism potential.

Recently, we got the opportunity to talk with Asma Jaber about what inspired PIVOT's creation, how the app will work, and what could be its overall impact on the preservation world.... 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.

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.

[Interview] All in the Family: Walter Nold Mathis, Villa Finale, and the Preservation Legacy

Posted on: August 17th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation No Comments

 

By Jane Lewis, Executive Director, Villa Finale


After purchasing what is now known as Villa Finale, Walter Nold Mathis (left) lovingly restored both the exterior and interior (right) of the Italiante-style home.

In 1967, San Antonio civic leader Walter Nold Mathis was looking to purchase another home after discovering his house in the Monte Vista Historic District of San Antonio was in the path of new US Highway 281. His friend, well-known preservation architect O’Neil Ford, told him about “the finest house in Texas” located in historic King William, a once-grand neighborhood founded by German immigrants that had fallen on hard times. Mathis toured the 1876 Italianate mansion located on the San Antonio River, now known as Villa Finale, and immediately fell in love with its many fireplaces, high ceilings and overall charm.

After purchasing the home and restoring it to a single-family dwelling -- it had been subdivided into affordable apartments since the late 1920s --Mathis realized the three homes across the street from Villa Finale were in a state of serious neglect.  So, he purchased those three properties plus a dozen more over the next few years.

Mathis completed some if not all of the restoration work on the properties before selling them to mostly young couples who were not only interested in historic preservation but who also had the energy to complete the work themselves.  Many times he would fund the mortgages himself in order to get the most historic home enthusiasts into the neighborhood, who otherwise might have been turned down by their financial institutions.

Throughout the nearly forty years Mathis lived in Villa Finale -- the name given by him in honor of it being his last home -- the King William Historic District went from being a run-down urban neighborhood to one of the most desirable places to live in the entire city. Walter Mathis was indeed the catalyst that spurred the revitalization of King William, an undertaking that earned him the Louise E. duPont Crowninshield Award in 2003, the highest honor awarded to an individual by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Upon his death in December 2005, Mathis bequeathed his entire estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Today, Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens is the only National Trust Historic Site in Texas, delighting visitors with its vast collections of fine and decorative arts, right in the heart of a vibrant historic neighborhood.

We asked three of Mathis’ family members, Josie Bain Fauerso (niece), Elizabeth Fauerso (great-niece), and Clark Kardys (great-nephew), to share their memories of this preservation advocate and explain his contribution of Villa Finale to the legacy of preservation.... 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.

 

150812_blog-photo_Tiya-Miles
Tiya Miles is the author of two books, a monograph called The House on Diamond Hill and a novel called The Cherokee Rose.

“Whenever I visit antebellum homes in the South, with their spacious rooms, their grand staircases, their shaded back windows that, without the thickly planted trees, would look out onto the now vanished slave quarters in the back, this is invariably my thought. I stand in the backyard gazing up at the windows, then stand at the windows inside looking down into the backyard, and between the me that is on the ground and the me that is at the windows, History is caught.” -- Alice Walker, quoted in The House on Diamond Hill

In 2011, Tiya Miles was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for her work connecting the histories of African and Cherokee people in Colonial America. I heard Miles speak this past spring at the National Council on Public History annual meeting in Nashville where she described the challenges of translating her historical monograph (a book that is based on a single subject) on the Chief Vann House into a fictional novel.

The monograph, The House on Diamond Hill, examines the racial and social complexities of Cherokee Chief James Vann’s plantation in Diamond Hill, Georgia, from its construction in the 19th century, through Cherokee removal in the 1830s, and  up to its transformation into a historic site in the 1950s. The second book, The Cherokee Rose, is a fictional account of a similar house.

The novel uses the home and its history to make connections between individual’s different interpretations of the past. Both books serve as a means to emphasize that history is not linear or finite. That multiple perspectives shift the way race, gender, and politics interact with one another on the ground.

In both books, “history is caught” and translated deftly by Miles in a way that is at times both recognizable and strange -- but also important to telling the whole story of this period in American history. I recently interviewed her to learn more about her work and her process in writing The Cherokee Rose.... 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.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

 

As fantastic as it is, the National Register of Historic Places can get a little confusing -- even for a seasoned pro. But fear not, because the PreservationNation blog has teamed up with Jim Gabbert, a historian with the National Park Service, to create our National Register Guide.

141030_blog-photo_hampton_reading-sign
Field Director Rob Nieweg, Vice President of Public Affairs Germonique Ulmer, and National Trust President Stephanie K. Meeks learn about the signficance of Hampton University.

Episode Six of our National Register of Historic Places Guide explored the formula for creating a narrative statement of significance that will give your property the best chance of being listed on the National Register. Episode Seven of our guide explains how to actually establish a property's historic significance.... 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.

David Weible

David Weible

David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.