Restoration

"Oregon Trail" Comes to Life at the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin

Posted on: March 21st, 2013 by David Robert Weible 5 Comments

 

A school group gathers in front of the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin. Credit: Volunteers of the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin
A school group gathers in front of the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin.

If you spent any portion of your childhood in the 1980s or '90s, then invariably your favorite part of the school day was bucking the lesson plan in computer class and rabidly killing bison, fording rivers, and visiting Chimney Rock in the Oregon Trail video game. If you were unfortunate enough to have missed this phenomenon of modern pedagogy, then suffice it to say that the game, in which the player acted as the wagon master for a family that set out on the Oregon Trail from Missouri, was the greatest video game of all time.

In the video game, once you made it to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where many who traveled the actual Oregon Trail between the 1840s and 1860s settled, you were safe from the dangers of the trail and your educational experience ended. But in the case of the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Cabin, located about 40 minutes southwest of downtown Portland on the banks of the Willamette River, the education and the danger (albeit not from raiding parties or diphtheria), continue today.... 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.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

 

Redevelopment plans for the furnaces include a possible sound stage or concert hall.

Redevelopment plans for the furnaces include a possible sound stage or concert hall.

What happens when you try to save something that was never meant to be preserved?

This is a question that August Carlino, president and CEO of the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area in Pennsylvania, is trying to answer. He’s searching for the best way to transform the Carrie Furnaces, two blast furnaces built in 1907 as part of the Carnegie Steel Company’s Homestead Works, into something that the post-industrial Pittsburgh region can be proud of.

“These things were never meant to be saved the way they were built,” Carlino says of the two remaining 92-foot-tall blast furnaces, which once produced about 1,250 tons of “pig iron,” used in the production of steel, a day. “They were meant to be put to some use and torn down, and for something else to be built there.”... 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.

 

Dekalb's Egyptian Theatre in 1938 and restored. Credit: Egyptian Theatre
(l.) Dekalb's Egyptian Theatre in 1938; (r.) its restored facade today.

For decades, when the people of DeKalb, Ill., have spent an evening out at the movies, or attended a concert or other event, they’ve done so under the watchful eye of Ramses II.

The Egyptian pharaoh, who reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC, served as inspiration to architect Elmer F. Behrns when he designed the northern Illinois community’s downtown landmark, the historic Egyptian Theatre, in 1929. Behrns channeled the ancient ruler as he envisioned a temple-like entrance flanked by two pharaoh sculptures, an elaborate sacred scarab beetle-centered stained glass window, and a colorful tiled lobby floor.

At the time, Egyptian architecture was a nationwide craze set off by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. Today, DeKalb’s Egyptian is one of few left standing. But standing it is, and even 84 years after it was built, the regal structure is still drawing loyal crowds.... 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.

Peery's Egyptian Theater: A Utah Theater Goes From Shutdown to Sundance

Posted on: March 11th, 2013 by David Robert Weible 6 Comments

 

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

Opening of the movie "Duel In the Sun," 1946, at Peery's Egyptian Theater. Credit: Van Summerill Collection
Opening of the movie "Duel In the Sun," 1946, at Peery's Egyptian Theater.

From small towns on the plains, to inner-city neighborhoods on the coasts, theaters used to be at the center of nearly every American community, right along with the local hardware store and maybe a deli or family-owned grocery. But as indoor shopping malls and multiplexes grew in popularity from the 1970s on, traditional central business districts lost their luster and their patrons.

The script is the same nearly everywhere, and for a while, it looked like Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden, Utah was going to play its part.... 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.

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible

David Robert Weible is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. He came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

 

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.