Travel

A Look Inside Yosemite's Historic Ahwahnee Hotel

Posted on: December 27th, 2012 by David Robert Weible

 

Ahwahnee Great Lounge. Credit: DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite.
The Great Lounge at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel.

Diane Cole’s “Grand Spans” in the upcoming Preservation’s "Outside the Box" department details the controversy over saving three of Yosemite National Park’s historic bridges, and highlights the struggle to balance cultural and land preservation within the National Park System. But despite an uncertain future for these bridges, our national parks are an incredible repository for historically significant structures of all kinds, and Yosemite is no exception.

Most of the historic structures under the charge of the Park Service are NPS Rustic Style -- an architectural concept that uses wood shingle roofs, log framing, stone foundations, exposed rafter rails, and dark stained siding, when applicable, to blend each structure into the surrounding natural landscape.... 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.

[SLIDESHOW] Dispatches from a Cross-Country Road Trip

Posted on: December 27th, 2012 by Lauren Walser 2 Comments

 

I had my camera at the ready when I and my partner, Blaise, moved from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles this past summer -- and drove the entire way. (Remember when I blogged about it?)

You can read more about my adventure in our upcoming Winter 2013 issue of Preservation magazine issue, but for now, explore some additional behind-the-scenes photos of my journey.

Do you have cool road trip pictures to share? Head over to our Facebook page and show us what you've got!

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.

Preservation Vacation: What's Next for Idlewild, Michigan's "Black Eden"?

Posted on: December 20th, 2012 by David Robert Weible 3 Comments

 

Idlewild Michigan Historical Markers Dedication, Yates Township, Lake County. Credit: MI SHPO, Flickr
Idlewild Michigan Historical Markers Dedication, Yates Township, Lake County.

It was known as the Black Eden, and at its height in the 1950s and ‘60s, more than 25,000 African-Americans would travel from Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis each summer to visit its 2,700 acres of lakes and western Michigan wilderness for intellectual stimulation, partying, and a sense of community. This was Idlewild.

“If you were a doctor, a lawyer, an entrepreneur, an educator, and you had the income to travel either by train or auto, [Idlewild] was a place that you wanted to be,” says Dr. Ronald Stephens, a professor of 20th-century African-American history and culture at Ohio University and author of the forthcoming book, Idlewild: The Rise, Decline and Rebirth of a Unique African-American Resort Town. “The idea of having that sense of community, independence, and ownership was a really big deal in black 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.

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.

Putting the Puzzle Together: Reflections on Travel in Seattle

Posted on: November 21st, 2012 by Priya Chhaya 1 Comment

 


Seen on the Seattle Underground tour.

A metaphor I often use when talking about the past is that of a puzzle. Getting to know the whole picture of place means fitting together a number of disparate pieces that when snapped together give you a single picture -- a snapshot in time that is one in a series that make up the past.

I also approach visiting new cities through this lens. A few weeks ago as a prelude to my visit to Spokane for the National Preservation Conference, I went to Seattle to visit with some friends and family. What I ended up doing was not just visiting to a popular tourist destination but also getting a sense of the place itself.

I started, in a sense, with the history. On the recommendation of many people, I took the Seattle Underground tour where I gained a sense of a city that changed after a disastrous fire. Following the fire, the city was raised about 15 feet, creating subterranean passages with skylights that filtered in light from the sidewalk above. Piece 1.


Exhibit at the Chihuly Gardens and Glass Exhibition.

Pushing forward in time, I spent a few hours at Seattle Center, home of the 1962 World's Fair. I took the obligatory ride up the Space Needle where, like at any high point in a city, I gained a visual sense of the city’s geography -- water and land, ships and sky. Piece 2.

The cool thing about Seattle Center is that it is also a mecca of museums. Science. Art. Music. Pop culture. There is something here to feed all matter of interests. Luckily, for a few extra bucks, my ticket up the Space Needle also came with entry into the Chihuly Gardens and Glass exhibition next door. Now for those of you who aren't familiar with Dale Chihuly's work, it’s … phenomenal. His work with glass is indescribable -- the shapes, the colors -- and you can tell that he takes some of his inspiration from Washington state itself, from sea life to Native American baskets. Piece 3.


Seattle EMP Museum.

After a tour of the Icons of Science Fiction exhibition at the EMP Museum (designed by Frank Gehry) I stepped into even more recent history -- a narrative about the band Nirvana. Amidst their story is a broader examination of the DIY music movement. Using its extensive collection of sound samples, the exhibition talks about the role of Seattle and Washington State in the alternative music scene -- letting visitors listen to a wide array of predecessors to Nirvana, other bands that were contemporary to the band, and those that Nirvana influenced. Piece 4.

I took a walk around the neighborhood wandering through Pike Place Market, the Seattle Public Library, and Pioneer Square. The library alone intimated a city filled with creativity; the Market and Pioneer Square were fixtures of a community. Piece 5.

And finally, by staying in the suburbs I got an idea of the role Microsoft and Boeing play in the region’s economy. Seeing the planes being put together -- wing, engine, tail, body -- provided one more example about how pieces come together into a cohesive whole. Piece 6.

As I rode the train to Spokane, I thought about the city I experienced and saw each of these six pieces came together into a single snapshot. As visitors to a city, our visions of what that place is and what's important in that space depends on the connections we forge. Being able to see the magic of Chihuly next to the vibrations of Smells Like Teen Spirit while smelling the fish and eating doughnuts in the market gave me a picture of a place that I won't forget. This was my Seattle.

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.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.

Spokane by Candlelight

Posted on: November 14th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern

 


The Leuthold House, built in 1925. (Photo courtesy Sarah M. Heffern)

If there's one thing I have learned over the years, it's that I am not alone when I say I like having a chance to peek into other people's homes. Not in the creepy, hiding-in-the-bushes sort of way, of course, but in the much more socially acceptable manner of dropping in at open houses and taking home tours.

I think this impulse to look behind closed doors is what makes the Candlelight House Tour at the National Preservation Conference a success year after year -- and never more so  than in Spokane a couple of weeks back, when preservationists and city residents alike wandered through homes in the ritzy Cliff Park neighborhood.

Cliff Park  -- according to the brochure we received -- dates back to the early 20th century, and features custom-built homes that rejected "tall, linear Queen Anne designs in favor of European-inspired Tudors, French and Spanish eclectics as well as American Colonials, Story Book, and Craftsman styles..." and "even a few homes... that represent mid-20th century modernism."


A family heirloom dress on display at the Richard & Jessie Nuzum House. (Photo courtesy Sarah M. Heffern)

Each of the homes I visited on the tour had its own unique appeal, but I'll admit I was most charmed by the Senator Dill Mansion, known as Cliff Aerie. "Charm" and "mansion" rarely go together as far as houses are concerned (charming is Realtor code for "really, really tiny" in my experience) but for all its imposing size, Cliff Aerie was laid out in such a way that all of the spaces seemed intimate and cozy, rather than impossibly grand. The views it commands, however -- including one from an observation tower used in World War II -- are as grand as can be.


Cliff Aerie - the Senator Dill Mansion - sports panoramic views of the city of Spokane. (Photo courtesy Sarah M. Heffern)

Though no other home on the tour could match the views at Cliff Aerie, and though the homes represented a wide range of architectural styles, they all did share one thing in common -- amazing stewardship. It was readily apparent that each house was beloved and well-preserved by its owners, who all seemed to take great pride in sharing their work with conference attendees and their fellow Spokanites alike.

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.