Local Preservationists

 

Second in our series on Egyptian movie theaters around the country.

The exterior of Boise’s Egyptian Theatre, which has been restored and maintained to look the same as when it was built in 1927. Credit: Sheri Freemuth
The exterior of Boise’s Egyptian Theatre, which has been restored and maintained to look similar to when it was built in 1927.

After Earl Hardy signed the contract to purchase the Egyptian Theatre in Boise, Idaho in 1977, his daughter Kay reports that the first thing he did was return to the office the two shared and say, “I must be crazy.”

The movie theater, built in 1927 in the Egyptian Revival architectural style popularized by the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb, had long been a mainstay of downtown Boise. In 1974 the theater, which was owned by the Oppenheimer-Falk Realty Company at the time, was sold to the Boise Redevelopment Agency. The agency, backed by money from federally-funded urban renewal programs, was pushing to develop an eight-block space in the heart of downtown into an inward-facing shopping mall.

“Four blocks of downtown Boise had been completely leveled,” recalls Kay Hardy, who was working with her father at the time. “We had an urban renewal agency, and a mayor who wanted this downtown mall built. The cost was leveling the town I grew up in.”... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

A Modern Take On Serving Veterans At Leavenworth Building 19

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by Katherine Flynn

 

The exterior of the new medical records facility at night. Credit: Rick Kready/The Pioneer Group
The exterior of the renovated building, now a VA medical records facility.

Leavenworth Building 19 in Leavenworth, Kansas doesn’t look much different on the outside from when it was built in 1886, but that’s the idea. It has the same Romanesque Revival architecture, the same charming red brick exterior, and the same row of dormer windows lining the slanted roof.

On the inside, though, Building 19 is every inch a state-of-the-art office building, chock full of modern amenities and bright white lights. It’s come a long way since its days as the dining hall of the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, a campus built in the 1880s to house Civil War veterans. In 2012, the repurposed building was recognized with a Preservation Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

A Love Letter to the Wilson County Courthouse

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by Jason Clement

 

The Huffington Post is currently hosting The Love Letters Project, an anthology of reflections on American places by the local people that define them. Our very own Jason Lloyd Clement made the cut with this letter of love and admiration for the Wilson County Courthouse in Floresville, Texas. Reposted here for your enjoyment!

Jason Clement takes pictures at Wilson County Courthouse during the I Love Texas Courthouse campaign. Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation
Jason Clement takes pictures at Wilson County Courthouse during the I Love Texas Courthouses campaign.
... 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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

 

The Soo Line ore dock in 2009. Credit: chief_huddleston, flickr
The Soo Line ore dock in 2009

As a young boy, John Chapple would clamber out onto the old ore dock stretching 1,800 feet from the shores of his hometown of Ashland, Wis., into Lake Superior, where he would join his siblings and cousins for an afternoon of fishing, swimming, and jumping off the dock’s lower levels.

“And sometimes, when we got reckless, the higher levels,” Chapple says with a laugh.

Chapple, like many Ashland residents, holds a vast collection of memories of this massive, 80-foot-tall structure, a local landmark since it was built in 1916. But today, as it is slowly being demolished by its current owners, Canadian National Railway, Chapple worries the ore dock will remain just that -- a memory.... 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.

 

Bishop Frederick C. James (screenshot). Credit: Tracy Hayes
Bishop Frederick C. James

How's this for a vision? "The rehabilitation [of] Howard Junior High school and its transformation from a ruin into a modern learning center for the community."

That's what Bishop Frederick C. James wants to achieve with the Rosenwald School in rural Prosperity, SC, where he attended Howard Junior High School from the first through tenth grades. As we shared with Mabel Dickey's podcast earlier this month, the Rosenwald School Building Program began in 1912 and was called the "most influential philanthropic force that came to the aid of Negroes at that time." It eventually provided seed grants for the construction of more than 5,300 buildings in 15 states, including schools, shops, and teachers' houses which were built by and for African-Americans.

The African-Methodist Episcopal Bishop (now retired) calls those the “greatest days of his life” and credits Howard Junior High with giving him his start in everything he ever attained. He counts among his friends many of the well-known civil rights activists of the 1960s and 70s along with other world leaders, including a former United States president.

Now, as Chairman of the Board for the Howard Junior High School Center project, he's leading the fight to restore this historic, humble building and make it a pillar of the community once more. In this Voices of Rosenwald Schools podcast, hear Bishop James speak firsthand about his formative years at the school -- and maybe even recite a poem or two.

Howard Junior High School. Credit: jimmywayne, flickr
Howard Junior High School

What’s your dream for the Howard Junior High building?

[My dream is] to fulfill its stated mission: “to activate and utilize the historic school as a community center for Rosenwald School appreciation with updated focus upon youth development, African American art and Culture, tutorial education, teacher and student achievement, and other forms of community uplift, accommodation, and service.”

What’s the biggest personal lesson you’ve learned through your work with the Rosenwald School?

I’ve met wonderful folks in preservation; it’s been a very special asset to my life to know and be aware of people in this business. It has kept my hopes alive, and my expectation is to finish this job in my lifetime.

If somebody came to you and said, “I want to save a Rosenwald School,” what’s the first thing you’d say to them?

I would say by all means organize and make contact with the very best possible people that you can. Don’t let anything deter you from your dream and your goal. Get as many people as you can who have that same dream. We need more people who have the ability, contacts, and commitment to the mission.

I’ve been busy [since retirement] because of two things I’m unable to do: say no to something that’s on my heart, and give up!

Listen to the full podcast:

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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.