Local Preservationists

[Interview] Zach Schonfeld: "I Visit Presidential Birthplaces"

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 by Aria Danaparamita 3 Comments

 

Zach Schonfeld's project: he visits presidential birthplaces. Credit: Rachel Pincus.
“I wanted to pursue something absurd before succumbing to adulthood,” says Zach Schonfeld of his project on historical tourism and presidential history.

While in college, Zach Schonfeld had a quarter-life crisis. So, the 22-year-old decided to roadtrip across the country and see where U.S. presidents were born.

In the summer of 2011, he set off to blog about the local stories behind the national myths, from Jimmy Carter to Andrew Jackson to Ronald Reagan. The result: I Visit Presidential Birthplaces, a project funded by The History Channel and Wesleyan University, where Schonfeld studied English.

This past spring Schonfeld finished the project as his undergraduate thesis. Now, he’s here to share with us some of his presidential adventures.... 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.

Silver Birches: Polishing a Jewel at Michigan's Mackinac Island

Posted on: July 29th, 2013 by Paulina Tam

 

Silver Birches ready for the 2013 July 4th festivities. Credit: Silver Birches.
Silver Birches ready for the 2013 July 4th festivities.

"They say Mackinac Island is the crown jewel of Michigan," says Liz Ware, a Chicago native who is spearheading the renovation of Silver Birches, one of the many historic buildings at the popular Mackinac Island summer colony at Lake Huron, Michigan.

Built in 1906, Silver Birches alternated between use as a private rental property and a public resort, lodge, and girls' camp. Its pristine Adirondack style signified health and wellness, drawing generations of visitors to its dock, pool, and cottages.

"I saw the property last summer for the first time when I was on a boat going around the island," says Ware. "I saw it from the water and I thought, 'What is that place?' Afterwards, I got on my bicycle and rode out to the property. I walked to the back of it and I saw its architectural style and the view of the lake. Then I just cried because it was just so beautiful."... 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.

Paulina Tam

Paulina Tam

Paulina Tam is an intern at Preservation magazine as well as the Features Co-Editor of The Observer at Fordham University. A WWII and aviation fanatic, she maintains a growing collection of WWII model airplanes that accompanies her hometown writing station.

 

East Hall, the first building completed in Western Michigan University’s East Campus. Credit: Roger Parzyck.
East Hall, the first building completed in Western Michigan University’s East Campus.

Perched high on a hilltop surverying the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is Western Michigan University's East Campus.

Completed in 1905, East Campus -- the first at WMU -- was purchased by the citizens of Kalamazoo and donated to the state with the stipulation that a university was to be built with the acquired land. As several years passed, buildings and halls such as East Hall, West Hall, North Hall, and the Speech and Hearing Building were created.

Then, in December 2012, the University issued a plan to tear down all but East Hall, which it plans to convert into the WMU Alumni Center for $15 million.... 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.

Paulina Tam

Paulina Tam

Paulina Tam is an intern at Preservation magazine as well as the Features Co-Editor of The Observer at Fordham University. A WWII and aviation fanatic, she maintains a growing collection of WWII model airplanes that accompanies her hometown writing station.

 

San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district was site of the Summer of Love, center of the sixties counterculture momentum. Credit: David Yu Photography.
San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood was site of the Summer of Love, center of the '60s counterculture movement.

"Turn on, tune in, drop out." It was the 1967 Summer of Love in San Francisco, and the Haight-Ashbury district was lighting up in psychedelic color.

In the '60s, Haight-Ashbury, now called the Upper Haight, was a haven for cultural revolutionaries: hippies, artists, and psychedelic rock musicians from Jefferson Airplane to Grateful Dead.

But not all of its hippie history has vaporized disillusioned down the rabbit hole, thanks to local preservationist Norman Larson.... 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.

 


Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, Kentucky was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Seven of these roadside motels once stood in Kentucky, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Florida, and California.

In the old days before the interstate, you would take the Dixie Highway, one of the first north-south, cross-country roads in the U.S. Driving with the windows down in a vintage car, you'd see these curious structures emerge on the roadside, beckoning in a retro sign: "Sleep in a Wigwam!"

No, they’re not actually wigwams; in fact, they're formed like tipis. And yes, it may have been one man’s misguided cultural appropriation. But "Wigwam Villages" are an iconic -- if controversial -- piece of American road-travel culture and history.... 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.