Local Preservationists

 

St. Louis’ contributions to American music reveal a legacy greater and more significant than previously understood, and the Palladium is a central part of this story. Credit: Paul Sableman
St. Louis’ contributions to American music reveal a legacy greater and more significant than previously understood, and the Palladium is a central part of this story.

"There are only three things America will be remembered for 2,000 years from now -- the Constitution, jazz music, and baseball," said renowned essayist and American culture critic Gerald Early in the 1994 Ken Burns documentary Baseball. "Those are the three most beautiful things this culture’s ever created."

If his belief proves true, it’ll be an excellent legacy. And if we take the Washington University in St. Louis faculty member’s adopted hometown as an example -- with the Constitution in relative safety and the hometown Cardinals a perennial World Series contender -- it seems we’d do well by our stars to focus on jazz a little bit.

Enter the St. Louis Palladium Building.... 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 Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

 

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Liz Maillie, Philadelphia. Credit: Liz Maillie

As part of the CityLove blog series, we wanted to highlight a local leader -- someone who is living the preservation-minded life in the city. For the City of Brotherly Love, we spoke with Liz Maillie about all things Philly.

For historic preservation/placemaking/urban planning fans, what are the must-see places in Philadelphia for a first-time visitor?

I could name dozens, but a few that really stand out include:

  • Race Street Pier: A tastefully designed park on the Delaware River with a fantastic view of the underbelly of the Ben Franklin Bridge.
  • Top of the Tower Tour of City Hall: The best views of center city and beyond, and Greta Greenberger is a gem of a tour guide. If you're not able to make it during visitors hours, check out the views from the top floor of the PSFS Building, the first modern skyscraper in the U.S.
  • Paine's Skatepark: Located on the banks of the Schuylkill River adjacent to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this park is teeming with life at all hours of the day.

Another of Liz’s must-see places is Bartram's Gardens,  Located on the banks of Schuykill River, ehe gardens are home to the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America.
Another of Liz’s must-see places is Bartram's Gardens. Located on the banks of the Schuykill River, the gardens are home to the oldest surviving botanic garden in North America.

We are big fans of Smith Magazine’s Six Word Memoir Project. What are your six words about Philadelphia?

Our uncoolness will always be cooler.

Where is your favorite place in Philadelphia?

The old Reading Viaduct is an unquestionably special place for me. This now abandoned rail line that Friends of the Rail Park has been working to transform into a public park is near and dear to me for many reasons that go beyond our attempts to re-imagine and re-create this infrastructure.

Currently the space is filled with perennial grasses and a variety of invasive plants that are common to the area. These ecologies are usually banished to residual urban spaces -- an abandoned lot here, a roadside there -- and there is a certain magic to seeing them flourish in a sustained way for 50 city blocks.

The landscape feels honest and ordinary in terms of vegetation and the post-industrial backdrop, but it also feels enchanted as humdrum plants over flow their usual fragmented distribution and spring into an untamed green expanse that moves from meadow to forest to wetland. Of course, some of this very charm, its feeling of privacy, and its true wildness will be reduced when our dreams for the rail park come to fruition. But the joy of traversing three urban miles without having to encounter traffic will of course remain an enduring luxury of the space.

The present state of the elevated section of the Reading Viaduct.  Credit: Liz Maillie
The present state of the elevated section of the Reading Viaduct. 

Your passion for the Reading Viaduct extends to your role as Vice President of Friends of the Rail Park. Tell us a little bit about the organization.

Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia's own elevated park more than a decade ago. Building on the vision which originated with Sarah McEneaney and John Struble, I co-founded in 2010 the organization which is today known as the Friends of the Rail Park.

Friends was founded to advocate and cultivate visions for a three-mile continuous and connective linear park along both abandoned rail lines, connecting many neighborhoods and cultural institutions to Fairmount Park along the historic elevated Reading Viaduct and City Branch rail cut of the former Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. Spanning more than fifty blocks above and below street level, the three-mile Rail Park corridor traverses several diverse neighborhoods, links some of the City’s most celebrated arts and cultural institutions, and connects to Fairmount Park.

Phase 1 is now slated to break ground within the next year, and the organization is preparing to expand its role beyond advocacy and awareness to include maintenance and programming of Phase 1 of the Rail Park.

A rendering of a completed section of the elevated  Rail Park as it crosses 13th St. Credit: Liz Maillie
A rendering of a completed section of the elevated  Rail Park as it crosses 13th St. 

What other upcoming projects in Philadelphia are you most excited about?

Philadelphia will soon have its very own Bike Share program, slated to launch in 2015. The bike share system will span from the Navy Yard north to Temple University and from the Delaware River to 52nd Street, including approximately 20 stations in low-income neighborhoods. The implementation of this program is just another example of the city's commitment to making Philadelphia one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country.

What can the preservation field do to attract more people like yourself (folks who probably would not self-identify as preservationists)?

Grow the understanding of the multiplicity of occupations that play a role in stewardship of the built environment.

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.

Ben Folds Leads Charge to Save RCA Studio A on Nashville’s Music Row

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Written by Carolyn Brackett, Senior Field Officer

Credit: Ben Folds, Facebook
Ben Folds posted an infographic on his personal Facebook page detailing the importance of fighting for the future of RCA Studio A.

Musician Ben Folds is leading the charge to save one of the country’s most significant music sites: the RCA Studio A on Nashville’s famed Music Row. But Folds is not alone; he’s rallying support and building a coalition to help him do it.... 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.

Uptop, Colorado: A Ghost Town With a Beating Heart

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by Steven Piccione 1 Comment

 

Credit: Larry Lamsa, Flickr
Uptop, Colorado, was settled in 1877, but remains a ghost town outside La Veta.

When you hear the term “ghost town,” you probably imagine a diminishing population, failing industries, and bleak economic fortunes. That’s why the story of Uptop, Colorado -- a 40-acre settlement, established in 1877, near the town of La Veta -- paves the way for a newer understanding of what it means to be a ghost 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.

Steven Piccione

Steven Piccione

Steven Piccione is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. He enjoys carbonated water, all things British, and living in a city warmer than Chicago. Follow him on Instagram at @stebbsjp.

 

You might not know it, but preservation has a party side -- and it's on full display at legacy bars across the country. In our new Historic Bars series, we'll belly up to the places that only locals usually know about and introduce their favorite haunts to all our readers.

Look for a different theme each month, and don't forget to tell us about your preferred watering hole. Now, without further adieu, let's kick off our first theme: neighborhood and dive bars!

Credit: SF A Gogo, Flickr
Bartender Ed is known for his personable and easygoing attitude, not to mention his strong drinks and the occasional free shot of Jaeger.

It’s hard not to notice the Gangway. Just walk down Larkin Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, and look for the big white ship projecting from a storefront.

Behind that ship is one of the city’s oldest gay bars with a rich history of activism -- and, as regulars attest, a laid-back, home-away-from-home atmosphere with stiff drinks, to boot.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.