Preservation Magazine

Betting on Saratoga's Future

Posted on: September 20th, 2007 by Preservation magazine


Saratoga Springs FoundationThe racehorses may be finished for the season at Saratoga Race Course, but the ordeal regarding the future of the famous racetrack is far from over.

The Saratoga Race Course, which opened in the city of Saratoga Springs in 1863, is the oldest organized sporting venue in the United States, and track attendance and profits increase each season. Will its good fortune last?

Although the state owns the buildings and tracks, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) currently owns the franchise to run thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course. Because that contract ends in December, many wonder what will happen to the 350-acre racing complex. With talk of possible renovation and modernization, Saratoga residents fear the racecourse is in danger of losing its historical charm.

For the past two years, an extensive proposal and bidding process has gone on between NYRA and other contenders in anticipation of NYRA's soon-to-expire contract, and after reviewing all proposals, Gov. Spitzer decided to recommend that NYRA receive the franchise for the next 30 years. The final decision, expected in December, is in the hands of state legislators, who must determine whether to take the governor's recommendation or choose a different company.

Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Supervisor Joanne Yepsen thinks the state and its legislators should consider residents during the decision-making process, as the upcoming year could mean big changes.

"We don't want to see the relationship between the residents and NYRA deteriorate due to lack of zoning or planning. There needs to be a partnership, as opposed to the residents just taking what they can get."

- Jeesoo Park

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.

Miss. Says No to Condos on Natchez Bluff

Posted on: September 19th, 2007 by Margaret Foster


Natchez, Miss.The town of Natchez, Miss., is on shaky ground. Its historic district was built on a water-soluble bluff, and over the years, sinkholes have devoured entire streets.

For the last two years, the town has been debating a five-building condominium complex on the site of a 1946 pecan factory, which town officials tore down last year to clear for a private developer.

Last week, however, a state body put its foot down and denied developer Worley-Brown a construction permit. Citing safety reasons, on Sept. 6 the board of trustees of the state's department of archives and history voted unanimously against the permit.

"In the final analysis, I think it came down to the uncertainty of the site and whether the load of the new construction would endanger that landmark [Natchez Bluff] property," says former Mississippi Gov. William Winter, chairman of the board.... 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.

S.C. Foundation Donates Marshland to Drayton Hall

Posted on: September 18th, 2007 by Margaret Foster


Drayton Hall At a time when development is encroaching on the former plantations of South Carolina's Ashley River corridor, just outside Charleston, a donation of marshland is a silver lining.

At a ceremony tomorrow, the Historic Ricefields Association will present the deed to marshland to Drayton Hall, a National Trust Historic Site built in 1738.

"For more than a decade, we have been fighting inappropriate development that would ruin the vistas from Middleton Place, Drayton Hall, and other historic sites along the river," George McDaniel, executive director of Drayton Hall, said in a statement.

The S.C.-based association bought the 43.8 acres from Plum Creek, a timber-management company, for $21,900.

Because of development pressure, in 1994 the National Trust named the Ashley River Corridor one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Read more about preserving Middleton Place on Preservation Online >>

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.

Dairy Farmer Backs Off California State Park

Posted on: September 17th, 2007 by Margaret Foster


Colonel Allensworth State Historic ParkA California state park will remain odor-free for now, thanks to a deal between the state and a farmer who planned a 12,000-head dairy farm near Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, a town African Americans founded a century ago.

The state agreed on Sept. 11 to pay Samuel Etchegaray $3.5 million for his promise to back off on a dairy farm in Earlimart, Calif., north of Bakersfield.

“I am encouraged by the [Gov. Schwartzenegger] Administration’s full-court press this past week to have a tentative agreement signed; however, I have long stated that the negotiations for the purchase of the development rights and my legislation were separate,” Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), who wrote a bill to create a 2.5-mile buffer zone around the park, said in a statement. “Now that the immediate threat of the mega dairies next to the park is no longer imminent, I will hold off sending the bill to the Governor’s desk, which will allow time for us to work together to reach a permanent solution for the entire park.”

Former Kentucky slave Allen Allensworth (1842-1914), the U.S. military’s highest-ranking African American, founded the town in 1908, but lack of water emptied most of its buildings in the 1920s. The 1,000-acre state park opened in 1976 and receives more than 10,000 visitors each year.

“This was just a first step in a move to protect the park,” says Victor Carter, president of the nonprofit Friends of Allensworth. “I applaud them for what they did, but I still have hopes that the bill will be signed.”

Meanwhile, in Idaho, Jerome County commissioners will soon vote on a proposal to build a massive feedlot downwind of Minidoka Internment Camp, a former Japanese-American internment camp that is now a National Park.

“The powerful odors created by thousands of animals, plus the dust, pests and potential airborne pathogens, will severely degrade the visitor experience at Minidoka and rob us of the opportunity to explore an important piece of our shared American heritage,” wrote Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in an Aug. 16 editorial in the Idaho Statesman.

Because of the proposed concentrated animal feeding operation, in June the National Trust named Minidoka one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

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.


Brooklyn’s view (Municipal Art Society of New York)"To get a true feeling of New York's industrial, 19th-century waterfront, you really have to go out to Brooklyn —specifically, Red Hook. … One is privileged to see the little canal, the fishing boats, the warehouses, all as it must have been forever, or at least the past hundred years. The factories and warehouses on the canal have that brilliantly additive, piece-by-piece, higgledy-piggledy look of tropical green stucco alongside corrugated aluminum that Frank Gehry works so hard to achieve." —Phillip Lopate, Waterfront


It wasn't long ago that Brooklyn's East River coastline, from the Newtown Creek on the Queens border to Red Hook, was considered no-man's land, with aging infrastructure and unsightly power stations marring its shores. After their heyday during the early 20th century as the nucleus of the manufacturing and shipping industries in New York City, these riverside areas were largely ignored by developers and city officials. The seven-mile sliver, just a stone's throw from Manhattan, became home to artists and a handful of intrepid, out-of-the-box thinkers.


Then, in the 1990s, real-estate prices in the borough climbed to mesmerizing heights and a debate ensued, no longer over whether the area had potential, but how to extract the most bang for the buck. All along the waterfront, it now feels as if a ship is setting sail and no one wants to be left behind.


"We're headed toward a rapid takeover by everyone who wants a piece [of land] for themselves," says David Sharps, owner of the Waterfront Museum since 1994, housed on a historic barge docked in Red Hook.


Should the historic warehouses and docks, many of which date back to the Civil War, make way for big-box stores (a relatively new trend in Brooklyn), high-rise housing or parks? Should they be repurposed or preserved? The city's answer is a complicated balancing act between the needs for jobs, housing, and preservation.


"There has been a failure to protect the maritime infrastructure," says Lisa Kersavage, historic preservation fellow at the Municipal Art Society of New York. "So much development is happening; historic resources need to be considered." Because of these changes, the National Trust for Historic Preservation in June named Brooklyn's industrial waterfront one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America.... 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.