Trust News

High-Voltage Debate

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


Virginia power linesThe Northeast's longest free-flowing river, the Upper Delaware River, meanders from Hancock, N.Y., to Matamoras, Pa. Bald eagles make this a popular bird-watching spot. Abundant fish lure fly fishermen, and Class II and III rapids attract kayakers. Congress, recognizing the natural beauty of this area, set aside the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River for protection under the National Parks System in 1978. The area, 90 minutes from New York City, "is pristine and gorgeous," says Michael Schmidt, a kayaker and regular park visitor. "It is one of the most tranquil parts of the country I have ever been to."

But the area is just one of the many historic and scenic places that may soon have a new neighbor: a 500-kilovolt transmission line some 160 feet overhead. New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. has proposed a 190-mile line from central New York to the lower Hudson Valley to alleviate energy congestion in the Northeast. The preferred route in some sections follows a gas pipeline—a right of way that predates the park—and passes through four miles of ridge top along the river and a mile-long section of the canal.

Not surprisingly, local and national organizations have been actively opposing the line. "If someone was fly fishing on the river or recreating on the park site, they will look up and shadows will be cast down on the river and in the valley by these 160-foot towers," says Bryan Faehner, legislative representative at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Similar battles are taking place in eight eastern states. ... 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.

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.

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.

Vermont Church Falls

Posted on: July 23rd, 2007 by Margaret Foster


The original church, built in 1876, was razed for a new parish hall. (Holy Trinity Episcopal Church)The first Episcopal church in Swanton, Vt., was demolished this month.

Built in 1876, the American Gothic church was in they way of a new parish hall.

The congregation voted to tear down the building for a new one adjacent to the 1909 marble church used for services.

A local inn keeper wanted to move the building to save it, but church officials wanted to stay on schedule to complete the building by next summer.

The National Trust twice named the State of Vermont to its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, in 1993 and 2004.

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.