Restoration

 

The Brooklyn Public Library was designed to look like an open book. Credit: Roberta Lane
The library's central branch is a striking building combining Art Deco and Scandanavian Modernist elements, completed in 1941 on Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The design was meant to evoke an open book.

Last week, the Brooklyn Public Library central branch celebrated the completion of restoration of their entrance doors, made possible by the Partners in Preservation program, a partnership between the National Trust and American Express.

In 2012, Partners in Preservation chose 40 diverse historic places all over New York City to compete for $3 million in preservation funding by appealing to the public for votes. The Brooklyn Public Library won the popular vote, and with it, $250,000 for their preservation project.

Now, a year later, you can see the fruits of the partnership in completed projects such as these doors. Here's my take on the Brooklyn Public Library's milestone, filtered through Instagram.

The newly restored doors at Brooklyn Public Library. The Brooklyn Public Library was designed to look like an open book. Credit: Roberta Lane

The people who created this library system understood that providing beautiful, inspiring public buildings was as important to the community as it was to build robust library collections. The library's entryway is framed with glowing, gilded figures from history and lore. To enter a great library is to pass into other, bigger worlds, and the Brooklyn Public Library's fine entryway draws patrons into that elevated experience like nothing else could.

Working on the Brooklyn Public Library's doors. The Brooklyn Public Library was designed to look like an open book. Credit: Roberta Lane

The library's users are among the most diverse in the country, and it serves as a vibrant center of community. A huge range of places in all five NYC boroughs competed for Partners in Preservation funding, from the Guggenheim and the Apollo, to a small church in Staten Island and a stately historic house museum in the Bronx. But the Brooklyn Public Library won the public vote by appealing to Brooklynites' love for their iconic library.

Interior of the Brooklyn Public Library. The Brooklyn Public Library was designed to look like an open book. Credit: Roberta Lane

With Partners in Preservation, the National Trust and American Express sought to help historic places to meet their immediate restoration needs. But by driving them to ask the public for votes, we also wanted to help them build their visibility and base of support, and to engage with people about the importance and relevance of NYC's multifaceted history.

Roberta Lane speaks at the celebration of the Brooklyn Public Library's door restoration. The Brooklyn Public Library was designed to look like an open book. Credit: Roberta Lane

I just moved to Brooklyn in March to staff the National Trust's new New York Field Office. Before speaking at the ribbon-cutting, I snuck away to spend some time in the local history part of the library, poring over historic images of the Brooklyn streets I've been exploring. As a preservationist, I was happy to be part of this celebration of the Brooklyn Public Library's restoration success. As a new resident of Brooklyn, I was particularly glad for the chance to thank the library for caring for this place we all value, and ensuring that it will endure.

Find Roberta on Instagram at robertal7, and the National Trust at presnation.

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.

Roberta Lane

Roberta Lane

Roberta Lane is the Senior Field Officer and Attorney for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s New York City Field Office. She has been with the National Trust since 2006, delivering preservation technical assistance and legal guidance in the field.

The Art Deco Treatment: Stanford Restores Hospital in Palo Alto

Posted on: September 4th, 2013 by Lauren Walser 1 Comment

 

The Stanford Medical Center gleams after the renovation. Credit: Bruce Damonte.
The Hoover Pavilion gleams after the renovation.

No major medical breakthroughs happened at the original Palo Alto Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., and no scientific discoveries were made there. But the hospital, which treated thousands of patients in the decades after it opened in 1931, holds one important distinction: it’s a stunning example of pre-World War II hospital architecture. And the Art Deco building recently returned to its original glory after an extensive restoration.... 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.

 

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.

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.

 

The Abigail Adams Birthplace’s Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on June 29, 2013. Credit: Michelle McGrath
The Abigail Adams Birthplace’s Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on June 29, 2013.

“Abigail Adams is most commonly known for being the wife of one president and the mother of another,” says Cathy Torrey, President Emeritus of Abigail Adams Historical Society, an organization dedicated to the conservation and educational upkeep of Abigail Adams Birthplace in North Weymouth, Massachusetts. “She is also known for her letter writing and most commonly, her letters between herself and John [Adams, the 2nd President of the United States]. Abigail is also a letter writer to her friends, family, and notable historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and Mercy Otis Warren.”

The second first lady lived in her birthplace for the first 20 years of her life. Education was important to her and her father, Reverend Smith, who regularly taught boys who were going to attend Harvard University subjects like law, ministry, and medicine at the home. Her mother taught Abigail how to read and write, and Abigail would later read from her father’s many books in the study’s library. She and President John Adams left to make a life of their own after exchanging vows at the home in 1764.

Such an early introduction to the world of learning would follow her for the rest of her life, manifesting in the famous correspondence between her and her husband that started while she was still living at the house. The letters provided a descriptive picture of what the era looked like through the eyes of a woman, says Torrey.... 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.