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Since it opened as a Sunday School in 1875, the Chautauqua Institution has helped spark and sustain a broader movement in education, culture, and spirituality in communities throughout the country. Today, this 750-acre education center on the shores of western New York’s Lake Chautauqua continues to serve as a summertime retreat and intellectual, spiritual, and cultural wellspring.

At the institution’s center is the 1893 Chautauqua Amphitheater, a 4,000-seat, roofed, open air structure internationally recognized as a forum for American culture and history. Its wooden stage has hosted Franklin D. Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Thurgood Marshall, Bobby Kennedy, Ella Fitzgerald, Amelia Earhart, Booker T. Washington, Bill and Hilary Clinton, and Sandra Day O’Connor, to name just a few.

But the building is in jeopardy. Despite a recent delay in the Chautauqua Institution’s decision-making process, there is a chance “the Amp” -- as it’s affectionately known -- may be replaced by a replica structure. In an effort to save the Amp, the National Trust has chosen it as our newest National Treasure.

To get a better sense of just how important the Chautauqua Amphitheater’s survival is, I spoke with Vanity Fair architecture critic and National Trust board member, Paul Goldberger.... 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 a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.

Historic Places as Sites of Conscience: Shockoe Bottom’s Potential to Change Society

Posted on: January 19th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 5 Comments

 

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By Rob Nieweg, Field Director, and Brent Leggs, Senior Field Officer

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Preservation Virginia convened local leaders and historians at a retreat to weigh in on why Shockoe Bottom matters as a Site of Conscience.

On the third Monday of each January, Americans are called to reflect on the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. On this national day of service, we also are encouraged by President Obama to take action to make our nation a better place to live.

The stewards of historic places take action, of course, to document and conserve evidence of the past. They inform and engage visitors, and preserve our shared heritage for future generations. At their best, however, the historic places we work so hard to protect -- places like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Dr. King’s birthplace, and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis -- can serve as Sites of Conscience that raise hard questions, spark discussion of contemporary social problems, and inspire us to change society for the better.

Now, we are focusing on another historic and equally worthy place to join the ranks of these nationally significant Sites of Conscience: Shockoe Bottom.... 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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

A Letter from Lupita: Why Shockoe Bottom Deserves — and Demands — Protection

Posted on: January 15th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 4 Comments

 

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Written by Erica Stewart, Manager, Public Affairs

Shockoe Bottom in downtown Richmond, Virginia, was once the second-largest slave trading site in the country. Today, it is mostly a patchwork of vacant lots and surface parking.

This is no way to treat the land on which men, women and children were bought, sold, and tortured. Neither is building a major league ballpark upon it, which is exactly what Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones is proposing in his “Revitalize RVA” plan.

This threat prompted us to list Shockoe Bottom to 2014’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and also to name it to our portfolio of National Treasures. We are now working with Preservation Virginia, local leaders, and national experts to shape an alternative development plan that would excavate the archeological remains that lie beneath the ballpark site and uplift Shockoe Bottom as a place for reflection, healing, and learning. (Read more about the project in this previous post.)

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Our work caught the attention of actress Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Patsey in the film “12 Years a Slave,” based on the memoir of free man-turned-slave Solomon Northrup. She was moved to write a passionate hand-written letter to the mayor, expressing her desire to see Shockoe Bottom preserved as a site of conscience. Here’s what she had to say.... 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.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour Shows Critical Needs at Union Terminal

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by Sarah Heffern 3 Comments

 

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On my first-ever visit to Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, I found it impossible not to be impressed from the moment it came into view. The enormous half-dome shape, stunning Art Deco details, and striking resemblance to the Super Friends’ Hall of Justice (readily obvious to someone like me who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s and '80s) combined to wow me before I even walked in the front door.

Upon entering the building, though, it continued to amaze. I hardly knew where to look first. The massive, arched ceiling sports possibly the boldest paint job I’ve ever seen -- arcs of bright yellows, oranges, and greens that somehow work together to be gorgeous, rather than garish. The glass-tile murals along the back walls are beautiful and clearly tell a story about the city. And every door (and there are many) is labeled in a cool Art Deco font, which made my inner design nerd very happy.

But, because my reason for coming to Union Terminal was as part of our National Treasures efforts to help local preservation advocates to pass a small sales tax increase dedicated to raising funds to save it, my attention quickly focused on one thing: It didn’t look threatened. At all.... 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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

This Labor Day, Celebrate Chicago’s Pullman Historic District

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Katherine Flynn 3 Comments

 

Founded in 1880, Pullman was America’s first planned community. Credit: Cynthia Lynn
Founded in 1880, Pullman was America’s first planned model industrial community.

Labor Day: one last chance for beach vacations, barbecues, and making the most of summer’s warm weather before the autumn chill sets in. What many Americans probably don’t realize, however, is that the origins of this holiday weren’t nearly as idyllic.

As it so happens, the roots of Labor Day are closely tied to one of our National Treasures, Chicago’s Pullman National Historic District.... 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.