Local Preservationists

 

Independence, Texas, was founded in 1835, and was the original site of Baylor University. Credit: The Texas Collection, Baylor University
Independence, Texas, was founded in 1835, and was the original site of Baylor University.

For the past 40 years, David and Mary Wolff have spent long weekends leaving their home in Houston, Texas, and driving 83 miles northwest, crossing the Brazos River and watching as hay bales replace skyscrapers, until they pulled into the driveway of their ranch home in Independence, Texas.

An unincorporated village in Texas’ Washington County, Independence was founded in 1835 and 10 years later was the chosen site of Baylor University. Sam Houston once called Independence home, as did a number of European immigrants, and during the 1850s, the village was the wealthiest community in the state.

But after the Civil War, Independence’s economy changed. The railroad bypassed the town, and Baylor relocated to Waco. The farmland remained active, though, and the town carried on.

When the Wolffs bought their Independence ranch in 1973, they didn’t know much about the village, beyond its unparalleled natural beauty.... 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.

Marcus Books: Oldest African-American Bookstore Fights to Stay Open

Posted on: August 13th, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita 6 Comments

 

Marcus Bookstores has a second branch in Oakland, California. The bookstores are named after Marcus Garvey, author of Philosophy and Opinions. Credit: Steve Rhodes, Flickr.
Marcus Books: San Franciscans hope landmark designation and city resolution will save the oldest African-American-owned bookstore in the country.

“The African-American experience has always been told,” says Reverend Arnold Townsend, vice president of the NAACP San Francisco chapter. “In the bookstore, it never dies because it’s in print.”

Marcus Books opened in 1960 in San Francisco’s historically black Fillmore district. Now, the country’s oldest African-American-owned bookstore is at risk of closure.... 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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

How New Mexico Is Saving Its Historic Movie Theaters

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by Guest Writer 2 Comments

 

Written by Elmo Baca, New Mexico MainStreet Program Associate, Economic Development Department

Luna Theater's winking moon marquee. Credit. New Mexico Economic Development Department
Luna Theater's winking moon marquee

A tiny prairie town of 3,200 on the state line in northeastern New Mexico, Clayton welcomes many Texas snowbirds in the winters en route to the New Mexico and Colorado mountains. Long before, Santa Fe Trail wagon caravans rumbled westward near here, and the vast buffalo plains surrounding Clayton nurtured great herds of cattle.

In town, meanwhile, sits the nearly 100-year-old Luna Theater, which operates today as one of New Mexico’s oldest movie houses, and the state’s best preserved from the silent movie era. The reason for its success: New Mexico’s MainStreet Historic Theater Initiative, the only program of its kind in the nation to actively invest in rural downtown theaters to keep them as economic anchors for their communities.
... 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.

Houston Astrodome: Iconic Stadium Awaits "New Dome Experience"

Posted on: August 9th, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita

 

The Houston Astrodome. Credit: Ed Schipul, Flickr.
The Houston Astrodome: The world’s first dome stadium brought the future for professional sports to Houston, Texas.

The Houston Astrodome opened in 1965 with an exhibition game: Houston Astros versus New York Yankees. The crowd surely went wild. Houstonians claimed the ballpark the “eighth wonder of the world.”

And was it ever. The world’s first indoor domed stadium became the home of the Houston Astros (Major League Baseball), Houston Oilers (National Football League), and the world-famous Houston Rodeo.

Yet decades later, the seats are empty. No crowds. No sports. The Astrodome, named on our 2013 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, faces potential demolition. But there’s new hope for one of the nation’s most spectacular ballparks.... 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.

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita

Aria Danaparamita, or Mita, is a contributor to the PreservationNation blog and recent graduate of Wesleyan University. She enjoys walks, coffee, and short stories. Follow her odd adventures on Twitter at @mitatweets.

Oregon’s Civic Stadium: "We Don't Want to Hear Strike Three"

Posted on: August 8th, 2013 by Sarah Heffern 2 Comments

 

The last Eugene Emeralds opening day at Civic Stadium, in 2009. Photo courtesy Tom Clifton, Flickr.
The last Eugene Emeralds opening day at Civic Stadium in 2009.

It's one of only a dozen wooden ballparks still standing in the United States, and one of only five remaining built by the Works Progress Administration.

In its last season in use, it was the 9th oldest minor league ballpark in the country, and 3rd oldest west of the Rockies.

Eugene, Oregon's Civic Stadium has historic chops galore -- and yet, it sits unoccupied, slowly deteriorating. It is not, however, unloved or forgotten. The work of the Friends of Civic Stadium (FOCS) sees to that. The avid group of local preservationists have been working tirelessly to convince the stadium's owners, Eugene's School District 4J, to find a solution that will provide the historic stadium a new lease on life.... 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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.