Local Preservationists

[In Transition] Pilgrim Baptist Church: Chicago, Illinois

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by Gwendolyn Purdom No Comments

 

Our In Transition series digs back in and brings you up to speed on the current status of historic places previously featured in Preservation magazine or the PreservationNation blog.

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The original Kehilath Anshe Ma'ariv Synagogue, later the Pilgrim Baptist Church.

When Preservation featured Chicago’s Pilgrim Baptist Church in its May/June 2008 issue, the striking 19th-century house of worship had already suffered the blows of a devastating fire and trouble moving restoration efforts beyond the planning stages in the years immediately afterward. Nearly a decade later, those efforts remain stunted. But as neighbors have grown weary of the obtrusive scaffolding that still supports the church’s limestone walls, at least one group has other plans for the embattled structure: turning it into a park.... 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.

Gwendolyn Purdom

Gwendolyn Purdom

Gwendolyn Purdom is a former Preservation magazine editor and currently a writer, producer, and host at TouchVision TV in Chicago.

 

By Amy Elliott Bragg

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Beulah Groehn Croxford (left), a native of Detroit, was a catalyst for the campaign to create a historic designation ordinance in Detroit. When she returned to Detroit years later, Croxford bought the house at 627 Canfield St. (right).

"There's a newness in Detroit," said Mayor Jerome Cavanagh in the introduction to a 1965 film, "Detroit: City on the Move." Made to promote the city’s bid to host the 1968 Olympics, the film shows off Detroit as gleaming, modernist, and promising. The camera takes in the city's newness in generous sweeps: the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Cobo Hall, Ford Auditorium, Lafayette Park. “New buildings put solid roots in the ground and stretch toward the sky," the narrator intones. "New office buildings alter the landscape, each in turn becoming a bright landmark of progress."

That same year, an antiques collector and retired executive secretary named Beulah Groehn drove into the city from Franklin to shop at an estate sale. The house, at 627 Canfield, was a beautiful but decrepit Victorian in the gritty Cass Corridor. The neighborhood was built for well-heeled Detroiters of the late 19th century, but over the course of 90-some years, the mansions of Canfield Street had become boarding houses, bohemian crash-pads, and drug dens.

There was no newness on West Canfield. But Beulah Groehn had discovered something she loved. Instead of buying antiques at that estate sale, she bought the house.... 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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

[Interview] Asma Jaber: PIVOTing the World of Preservation

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

 

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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.

 

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Wildwood’s iconic and photogenic Caribbean Motel was the perfect location to host a gathering of vintage-loving guests.

Retro Roadmap hosted the first of what is hoped to be more Vintage Weekends, showcasing the mid-century motels and more of the shore town of Wildwood, New Jersey with a sold-out crowd attending from up and down the East Coast.

From the base camp at the iconic Caribbean Motel (built in 1957 by Lou Morey and listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the tiki-themed event combined vintage-inspired activities with modern social media sharing to increase awareness of and interest in the many facets of 1950s and ‘60s culture that still exist in this popular beach town.... 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.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

After Remarkable Relocation, Historic Gay Head Lighthouse Shines Again

Posted on: August 12th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

By Jenna Sauber

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The Gay Head Lighthouse was triumphantly reopened on August 11, 2015.

After 160 years of sea cliff erosion, the Gay Head Lighthouse in the town of Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard was literally a few dozen feet away from being lost forever to the Atlantic Ocean.

Two years of planning, paperwork, heavy labor, and $3.5 million later, island residents and visitors alike can sleep easily again under the sweep of the familiar Gay Head light. After an extensive relocation campaign this spring, the lighthouse reopened on August 11, a safe 130 feet farther inland where its red and white beacon is shining brightly once again.

A journey of 130 feet, however, required the help of an entire community. Here are just a few of the local preservationists who made this vision a reality.... 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.

 

By Sophia Dembling

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Esther Gordy Edwards established the Motown Museum in 1985.

Berry Gordy, founder of Motown, has called his big sister, Esther Gordy Edwards, “bossy” and he knew in 1958 that borrowing money from the family savings club she had established wouldn’t be easy.

“She had power and influence,” Gordy wrote in his autobiography, To Be Loved. “She was a strong businesswoman, and very careful with money. The family depended on Esther to keep these things together.”

Gordy got the fight and the words he’d expected to hear from his sister -- If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich? And, she continued, “You’re 29 years old and what have you done so far in your life?” In the end, though, Edwards approved an $800 loan -- provided Gordy sign a contract with future royalties as security.

The rest, of course, is music history -- still preserved in Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit. The museum founded by Edwards in the modest house where some of the greatest hits of the 1960s were recorded by some of the era’s most iconic acts: the Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and a who’s-who of others.... 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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.