Community Revitalization

These Walls Talk: The Role of Urban Murals and Graffiti in Historic Preservation

Historic Latino neighborhoods in Chicago are calling on the transformative power of street art through new programs. Read More »

Introducing the National Trust's First Pop-Up: Cincinnati's Yes on 8 Action Center

The Yes on 8 Action Center in Cincinnati -- our first pop-up venue -- is part of the effort to save Union Terminal.Read More »

ISO: America’s Next Top Main Street

An accredited Main Street is has won Parade magazine's "America's Best Main Street" contest. But who?Read More »

Come High Water: Preservation and Resilience in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Record-breaking floods in 2008 almost wiped out Cedar Rapids' history. But preservation is helping it spring back.Read More »

Uptop, Colorado: A Ghost Town With a Beating Heart

Uptop, Colorado, has a transformative history that brings a new meaning to the term "ghost town."Read More »

Building the Brew: Historic Preservation & Breweries in Cincinnati

Historic breweries in Cincinnati are helping to power the city's recovery, one pint (and building) at a time.Read More »

Powerhouse Project Re-energizes Beloit College Campus

Beloit College's "Powerhouse project" will bring a defunct facility back to life as a state-of-the-art student center.Read More »

Preservation in Progress: Main Street Revitalizes Conrad, Iowa

Credit: Conrad Chamber, MainStreetBig changes are underway in Conrad, Iowa, which recently completed a facade renovation program. Check out the photos!Read More »

Why More People Should Know About Tacoma, Washington (And Not Just from 10 Things I Hate About You)

Credit: Sara Stiltner/National Trust for Historic PreservationTacoma, Wash., has found strength in the preservation and revitalization of historic buildings and neighborhoods.Read More »

Livable Cities: Stephanie Meeks on Preservation's Role in Urban Vitality

President Stephanie K. Meeks speaks at the Detroit Economic Club in May, 2014. Credit: Jeff KowlaskyNational Trust President Stephanie Meeks discusses the positive role preservation plays in urban economies and landscapes. Read More »

[Preservation Tips & Tools] Older, Smaller, Better: New Findings from Preservation Green Lab

"Language of the Birds," a site-specific sculptural installation by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn in San Francisco. Credit: Digital Archaeology, FlickrThis latest report shows how places with a mix of older, smaller buildings enhance the local economy and community.Read More »

CityLove: Chattanooga Edition

CityLove Header: Learn More!Up next in our CityLove series: Chattanooga, Tenn., where we learn how the city became "The Scenic City."Read More »

Northampton Native Breathes New Life into Horner Cemetery

Credit: Kelly Schindler/National Trust for Historic PreservationHorner Cemetery in Northampton, Pa., chronicles our nation's history, and this local woman is keeping its stories alive.Read More »

Millennials Take Cincy: Community Building Through Preservation

Credit: OTR A.D.O.P.T.Young preservationists are helping to lead the charge in Cincinnati's cultural revitalization.Read More »

"A Monument to Sports Enthusiam": Dr. Larry Hogan on Hinchliffe Stadium

Dr. Larry Hogan discusses Hinchliffe Stadium and Negro League Baseball with PreservationNation.Read More »

CityLove: Atlanta Edition

Up next in our CityLove series: Atlanta, a city with a rich history that is regularly reinventing itself.Read More »

CityLove: Little Rock According to Local Preservationist Jennifer Carman

Little Rock preservationist Jennifer Carman explains how preservation improves much more than just buildings.Read More »

[PHOTOS] An Artist's Touch Revitalizes a Mississippi Main Street

Artist and Water Valley, Miss., resident Bill Warren has contributed to his town's rebirth with his vibrant, hand-painted signs.Read More »

CityLove: Little Rock Edition

Part of the "Preservation" magazine series, CityLove, a closer look at the revitalization of Little Rock, Ark.Read More »

PHOTO TOUR: Revitalization Through Adaptive Reuse in Vallejo, Calif.

Artists' lofts and small businesses located in historic buildings are helping to remake the city of Vallejo, Calif.Read More »

What Main Street Can Teach Us About Sustainable Preservation

Main Streets are helping local economies and communities stay vibrant and grow, with an emphasis on sustainability.Read More »

Visions Become Reality at Paradise Garden in Georgia

Thanks to a full-scale restoration, the site where folk artist Howard Finster worked will delight visitors for years to come.Read More »

Heart Bombs 2014: Five Events that Showed Historic Places the Love

Heart-bombing the Sattler Theatre in Buffalo. Credit: Buffalo's Young PreservationistsThis February, groups around the country shared "heart bombs" to show the love for places that matter to them.Read More »

Colorado's 1911 Silverton School Hits Preservation High

Silverton’s 1911 school serves grades K-12 and sits at 9,305 feet above sea level. Credit: Scott SmithThe community of Silverton, Colo., has restored its 1911 schoolhouse to LEED Gold status.Read More »

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Steps for Restoring Historic Theaters

Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, Calif. Credit: Orpheum TheatreHistoric theaters are proven community revitalizers and economic drivers. Here are 10 tips for bringing them back to life.Read More »

10 Preservation Wins in 2013

Peavey Plaza. Credit: Alexandra EasterThough we did lose some irreplaceable historic places this past year, we also celebrated many wins. Here, the year in review.Read More »

Ponce City Market: Atlanta's History in the Making

Bird's eye view of Ponce City Market in Atlanta. Credit: Sarah DorioAtlanta's Ponce City Market will use history to catapult itself into the future.Read More »

Preservation on Full Display at the Old 280 Boogie in Waverly, Ala.

The crowd gathers for the Boogie in a open space ringed by historic buildings and pecan, oak, and sassafras trees. Credit: Katherine Malone-FranceThis outdoor concert -- and the historic town in east central Alabama -- enlivens and inspires attendees and residents alike.Read More »

Joining Personal History to City History: Family Restores Troy's Trojan Hotel

The c. 1829 building became known as the Trojan Hotel in 1915. Credit: Terry and Donald O'BrienVacant for a decade, a 184-year-old building in Troy, N.Y., is getting a full restoration, thanks to two intrepid small business owners.Read More »

It Takes a Village: How Boise, Idaho is Celebrating its Sesquicentennial

The BOISE 150 SESQUI-PARTY on July 7, 2013 commemorated the 150th anniversary of the first platting of Boise. An estimated 16,000-20,000 people attended and were treated to performances at four different staging areas by local musicians, cultural groups, dancers, storytellers, and more -- it was a great party! This year, Boise has its 150th anniversary -- and it's marking the occasion with a city-wide, year-long celebration.Read More »

Endangered Species: Chicago's Animal Court Playground Looks to Rebound

The concrete sculptures were designed for children to climb and play on. The largest of the Animal Court sculptures consists of a bison, and what appears to be a mountain lion and her cub. Credit: National Public Housing Museum, Chicago, IL.Though its famous statues were removed in the 2000s, this playground looks to return from the brink of extinction.Read More »

“The Effort Has Been Contagious": Restoring Independence, Texas

Independence, Texas, was founded in 1835, and was the original site of Baylor University. Credit: The Texas Collection, Baylor UniversityDavid and Mary Wolff helped create a preservation movement in the small village of Independence, Texas.Read More »

Marcus Books: Oldest African-American Bookstore Fights to Stay Open

Marcus Bookstores has a second branch in Oakland, California. The bookstores are named after Marcus Garvey, author of Philosophy and Opinions. Credit: Steve Rhodes, Flickr.Can landmark designation save the oldest African-American-owned bookstore in the country?Read More »

The House that Radio Built: NPR's New Headquarters Celebrates Preservation

NPR’s new headquarters building, where old effortlessly meets shiny and new.For National Public Radio, a recent relocation meant making something old new again. Tour the building with us!Read More »

Deer Lodge, Montana's Rialto Theater Rises from the Ashes

Historic Photo of the Rialto Theater in Deer Lodge, Mont., c. 1942. Credit: Rialto Community Theater, Inc.CcollectionAfter 18 years, two restorations, and overwhelming community support, Deer Lodge, Mont., can finally enjoy its Rialto Theater.Read More »

Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare Theaters Set Stage for World's Largest Theater Restoration Project

Ohio Auditorium restored. Credit: PlayhouseSquare ArchivesThanks to local preservationist Ray Shepardson, Cleveland turned its aging theaters into a world-class complex.Read More »

Announcing the Great American Main Street Award Winners for 2013

Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and Rochester, Michigan celebrate their Main Streets. Credits: Ben Muldrow; Steve KovacsThe National Main Street Center reveals its three GAMSA recipients for 2013, representing terrific work nationwide.Read More »

[Slideshow] Historic DC Church Gets a Mural Makeover

blog_photo_HENSE_studioA Georgia-based artist brings his talent to an abandoned DC church in a colorful step towards revitalizing the neighborhood.Read More »

[Slideshow] A Makeover for the Mayo Building

One of Tulsa, Oklahoma's oldest skyscrapers is thriving after a $30 million transformation.Read More »

[Slideshow] Philly Painting: One Community's Extreme Makeover

Check out these bold and bright examples from Philadelphia's innovative Philly Painting project.Read More »

Going Against the Grain: Historic Jail Becomes the Maine Grains Grist Mill

Lambke and her business partner, Michael Scholz, bought a 5,000-square-foot jail building in 2009 and turned it into a grist mill. Credit: Amber LambkeWith help from crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Maine Grains has become a hub for its community's revitalization.Read More »

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

Opening of the movie "Duel In the Sun," 1946, at Peery's Egyptian Theater. Credit: Van Summerill CollectionOnce a community staple, this Ogden, Utah theater underwent a meticulous renovation and was restored to its former glory.Read More »

Boise's Egyptian Theatre: An Updated Artifact Keeps Historic Downtown Vibrant

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 FreemuthThe Egyptian Theater in Boise, Idaho became a rallying point for the community to save their historic downtown.Read More »

From Questions to Action: How Sweet Auburn Is Reviving Its Historic Community

Streetscape in Sweet Auburn. Credit: Stan KaadyThe National Main Street Center is helping the historic Sweet Auburn community revitalize its once-thriving district.Read More »

[Video] Central Library in St. Louis, Renewed

Atrium at Central Library of the St. Louis Public Library. Credit: Jim Balogh, St. Louis Public LibraryAt 101 years young, St. Louis's Central Library is now enjoying a gorgeous restoration and renovation.Read More »

The Power Plant Renovation: Imagination Becomes Adaptation

Power Plant exterior after renovation. Credit: Climb So iLLRead part 4 of our guest series on the remarkable transformation of a hospital power plant in St. Louis.Read More »

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Ways to Keep the "Local" in a Local Historic District

Aiken, SC. Photo courtesy carlfbagge, Flickr.Historic districts don't have a "one size fits all" approach. Learn ways you can fit designation to your community.Read More »

In Limbo: City Hospital’s Closure and the Unrealized Plan for the Power Plant

The Power Plant’s windows were missing by 1994. Credit: Preservation Research OfficePart 3 of our guest series on the remarkable transformation of a hospital power plant in St. Louis.Read More »

Modernizing St. Louis' City Hospital and the Power Plant Building

The Power Plant in 2008. Credit: Preservation Research Office.Part 2 of our guest series on the remarkable transformation of a hospital power plant in St. Louis.Read More »

From Power Plant to Climbing Gym: Adaptive Reuse at St. Louis’ City Hospital

Postcard view showing the completed group of Georgian Revival hospital buildings designed by Albert B. Groves, sometime after 1912. Credit: Preservation Research Office.Part 1 of our new series on the remarkable transformation of a hospital power plant in St. Louis.Read More »

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Factors in Establishing Local Historic District Boundary Lines

blog_photo_Au KirkDelve deeper into local historic district designation with these 10 factors for establishing boundary lines.Read More »

Holiday Magic on Main Street: Highlights from 2012

Big Bright Light Show, Rochester, Michigan. Credit: Brad ZieglerRevisit some of our favorite Main Street holiday traditions from this past season, from New Hampshire to Oklahoma.Read More »

[SLIDESHOW] How Preservation Transformed Two Small Towns in Kansas

Entrepreneur Chuck Comeau has revitalized two towns to house his ventures. Check out these cool behind-the-scenes shots.Read More »

Reviving Lyth Cottage: How Historic Buffalo Is Making A Comeback, One House at a Time

Stephanie Barber, president of the Hamlin Park Taxpayers & Community Association, hands the keys to Lyth Cottage over to Matthew Newton. Credit: David Torke, fixBuffaloMatthew Newton's dream historic home cost $1. But its potential to help revitalize Buffalo's East Side? Priceless.Read More »

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

Idlewild Michigan Historical Markers Dedication, Yates Township, Lake County. Credit: MI SHPO, FlickrRead the first in our series on historic African-American vacation spots. First up: Idlewild, Michigan's storied "Black Eden."Read More »

The Historic Tax Credit Takes Center Stage at the Timmy Awards

Old Naval Hospital, Washington, DC. Credit: MacRostie Historic AdvisorsThis year’s winners take the practice of historic rehabilitation and community revitalization to new heights.Read More »

Open for Business Again at Pittsburgh's Market Square Place

Learn how this inventive urban reuse project transformed not one, not two, but an entire block of historic buildings.Read More »

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Steps to Establish a Local Historic District

Do you want to designate and protect your community? Follow this roadmap to create a local historic district.Read More »

An Eyesore No More: The Resurrection of LA's Boyle Hotel

In Los Angeles, a dilapidated 1889 hotel finds new life as an affordable housing complex.Read More »

From Main Street: Will Lifestyle Centers Replace Downtown?

Do lifestyle centers succeed in recreating a true downtown experience? Michael Stumpf examines the differences.Read More »

Balancing Preservation and Development in the Rapidly Growing Capital

At DC Preservation League's citywide conference, Trust staffer Ari Gefen learns how the capital is changing.Read More »

[10 on Tuesday] 10 Ways to Connect Main Street and Hispanic Communities

Want to revitalize your community while also honoring diverse heritages? This week's toolkit shows you how.Read More »

Burlington, Iowa’s Old-School Movie Theater Gets a New Lease on Life

Though I’m a child of the '90s, when megaplexes were popping up like Furbies and Pokemon in suburban neighborhoods, my friend Tim and I would spend rainy Saturday afternoons at the 1924 movie house my neighborhood struggled to keep open, watching and re-watching flicks like Men in Black and the Jurassic Park series. Though they weren’tRead More »

[Interview] Morgan Devlin, Preserve Rhode Island: Rhody Rules the Roost

Morgan Devlin's favorite new colleague is ... a rooster. As marketing manager for the Historic Sites Coalition of Rhode Island, Preserve Rhode Island, Devlin is part of the team behind a colorful, cartoon rooster named Rhody the Rambler, the mascot for the coalition's Rhody Ramble program. Rhody and a new friend participate in "Learning ColonialRead More »

How Architect Robert Verrier Saved More than 150 Places with Historic Tax Credits

Written by Robert Verrier, FAIA, NCARB For more than 30 years, historic preservation tax incentives have been helping architects, builders, and private citizens transform historic buildings for new uses, preserving architectural heritage, and benefiting communities all over the country.  I should know, because using tax credit incentives has been key to my business for justRead More »

Mumford on Main Street: How Music Helped a Community

Written by Brendan McCormick, Grants & Awards Assistant As I was driving down Route 26 towards downtown Dixon, Illinois, I got a little worried when one of the first stores I saw off of the highway was a massive Wal-Mart. However, upon closer inspection, I realized that the parking lot was sparsely populated.  As IRead More »

Motor City Masterpiece: Detroit’s Iconic Auto Repair Shop is Reborn a Restaurant

When I think about the Motor City area, I think rolled-up shirt sleeves, firm handshakes, and American-made. So, when two native sons told me over beers on a recent Saturday afternoon that greater Detroit’s most iconic auto repair garage had been converted into a popular new restaurant, I assumed the city had lost something special.Read More »

A Double Dose of Southern Comfort

By Susannah Ware “Darlin, have you ever been here before?” the Bristol Campground manager asked in his sweet country drawl. “No sir, I haven’t,” I replied, smiling through the phone and instinctually reverting to the Southern politeness I had grown up with. “Well, we’ve got 1,300 acres and y’all are welcome to sleep wherever youRead More »

Preservation in Action: North Amherst Residents Aim for Local Historic Designation

Written by Laura Wainman, Editorial Intern North Congregational Church in North Amherst, Mass. Here at the National Trust, we spend our days championing preservation movements and ensuring that the public is aware of historic places in need of saving. And across the country groups of dedicated citizens, like the people of North Amherst, Mass., areRead More »

What's Old Is New Again: Senior Citizens Calling Their High School Home

The Bastrop Historic High School ApartmentsFor nearly a dozen years -- ever since the Bastrop, Louisiana became a Main Street community in 2000 -- the goal of finding a new use for the one-time Bastrop High School building loomed. The 1927 building had seen its last students in 1998, but its location a couple of blocks from downtown made itRead More »

The Dupont Underground: A Grand Vision for DC's Abandoned Streetcar Tunnels

Last week, National Trust staffers took a field trip -- or, more accurately, a tunnel trip. We descended into the steamy underground for a little-seen glimpse of Washington’s past -- the 75,000 sq. ft. trolley station and one-time fallout station that served DC’s popular Dupont Circle neighborhood until it was closed in 1975. (More onRead More »

Where Are They Now? Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center

An example of the kind of urban industrial buildings that still line many of Brooklyn's neighborhood streets, and that manufacturer entrepreneurs are moving back into. We cover a lot of different buildings and stories here at the National Trust, and it gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever we can report back on a successfulRead More »

Main Streets Make for the Best Small Towns in America

Bardstown, Kentucky -- the newly crowned most beautiful small town in America. Those of us who are fans of historic preservation know that one of the things that make small towns great are the Main Streets that provide a vibrant -- and often historic -- backdrop for all manner of community activities. This summer, participantsRead More »

[Video] Gathering Space for the Creative Economy at Oakland, CA's Starline Social Club

"People need spaces. People need spaces that are well-intentioned and designed, and that think about people and how they interact in them. And I feel like as long as we do that on the inside of the space, people will need to keep coming back." -- Sam Strand, co-founder, Starline Social Club   The StarlineRead More »

[Slideshow] Detroit's Valentine Distilling Co.

Last week I spent a few days in the preservationist mecca of Detroit, Michigan. I'll touch on some of my other preservation-related visits on the blog next week, but first -- a photo tour of Valentine Distilling Co., a company we highlighted last year because of owner Rifino Valentine's decision to locate his business in anRead More »

Discovering Philadelphia's Favorite Places

If you haven't heard of them already, there's a great organization called Hidden City Philadelphia. Their goal is to highlight the city's unique and under-known special places by connecting them with resources in order to activate them in new and interesting ways. As self-described on their site, "Hidden City is about transforming that innate, childlikeRead More »

Frank Lloyd Wright’s First Prairie House in Need of Assistance

From a building preservation standpoint, the B. Harley Bradley House in Kankakee, Illinois, would seem to have it easy. The first of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style houses, it was most recently purchased by the Wright In Kankakee organization in order to establish an arts and education center and house museum that would be openRead More »

Grassroots Preservation Turning the Tide in Buffalo, New York

Written by Dana Saylor-Furman In July of 1900, architect Lansing Colton Holden submitted plans for a Beaux-Arts masterpiece structure to his client, Lackawanna Steel. It was to be the crowning jewel of the vast Lackawanna Steel grounds. Bethlehem Steel bought out Lackawanna Steel in 1922, and closed down in 1982 -- but the place still looms largeRead More »

Paintings, Peacocks, and Preservationists: Edenton, NC, Celebrates the National Trust

When I first learned that Annie Gray Dixon, a 17-year-old high school junior from Edenton, North Carolina, was hosting a "Paint for Preservation" art auction garden party to raise money and memberships for the National Trust, my initial thought was "Wow, what a great idea!" followed quickly by "Wait a second, I think I knowRead More »

Chicago Welcomes Mad Men Back in Style

After being off the air for a year and a half - during which time our attentions, rightfully, turned to Downton Abbey - Mad Men is back. AMC's iconic and more-popular-than-ever television drama is set in 1960s New York and revolves around the fashionable but unglorified daily existence of a Madison Avenue advertising agency. PartRead More »

Theaster Gates' Art & Revival on Chicago's Dorchester Avenue

The 6900 block of Dorchester Avenue in Chicago’s Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood easily could have been another casualty of the economic downturn, or another tale of a blighted neighborhood lost to neglect. But when Theaster Gates, Jr. rehabilitated an abandoned house there in 2006, he had a vision. "I thought if I could just takeRead More »

Block Club Revitalization in Chicago's K-Town Neighborhood

K-Town - so named because of a 1913 street-naming plan in which all north-south streets were named alphabetically in one-mile groups, starting at the Indiana border - is tucked in the far southwest corner of Chicago's North Lawndale neighborhood.Read More »

An Unexpected Find Along a Well-Worn Route

Place is just as important as the people you're with or the job you work in. So next time you’re walking along your well worn route, look to the left instead of the right or look up when you usually stare at the ground. Step over to another side of the street for a new perspective. You might just see something to remind you why this place, this city, this town is a part of your heart.Read More »

Interview: Sam & Chris of Raleigh's Videri Chocolate Factory

Owners Sam Ratto and Chris Heavener inside the factory. (Photo: Chase Heavener) Preservation is often defined as an action with an end date: the act of saving - through advocacy; policy; or blood, sweat, and tears restoration - places for future use, memory, and appreciation. But regardless of how it's typically regarded, a more holistic "preservation" doesn't endRead More »

Restoration Diary: Gutting and Exposing the Upstairs

It's the first week of official construction at Lionel Lofts and interior demolition is well underway. See what's been ripped out and what the raw spaces are starting to look like.Read More »

'Heart Bombs' and Love Stories: How Buffalo's Preservation Power Couple Celebrates Valentine's Day

Love stories start in the darnedest places. When the National Trust rolled into Buffalo this fall, Bernice Radle and Jason Wilson had never met, though both had long been preservation dynamos working overtime for the city they loved. It wasn’t until after the conference – and the individual preservation events they each planned for it – that their interest in all things old brought them together.Read More »

American Brewery: National Preservation Award Winner

Nominations are now open for the 2012 Richard H. Driehaus National Preservation Awards. We'll be highlighting a few of our favorites from last year here on the blog to give you a sense of what's won in the past, and hope to see some of your projects here when the winners are announced at the 2012 National Preservation Conference in Spokane, Washington, on November 2!Read More »

Restoration Diary: Asbestos Remediation. (But Look, Old Photos!)

Minus the addition of some plastic sheeting and removal of some floor tiles, not much has changed at ye olde Lionel Lofts since our last update. Turns out it's asbestos and lead paint remediation time. But don't click away thinking I've left you empty handed. Voila, a fascinating window (literally?) into the old Lionel Trains shop of the 1960s.Read More »

Our Fascination with Pretty Pictures of Needy Places

I was making my way through the internet this morning and came across a couple articles highlighting old and abandoned places. Not at all unusual here, but for some reason they got me thinking - thinking about our complete fascination with the images that show those places off. You know, the photos of caved-in houses and old train depots with long-shattered windows and graffitied hallways. It's almost become an industry unto itself, yet the photographs - limited by their frames - rarely tell the full story.Read More »

Infill’s in: Seeking a Balance for Oregon’s Historic Districts

On October 13, the Historic Preservation League of Oregon (HPLO) unveiled a special report on Compatible Infill Design to a room full of the organization’s closest members and friends. After conducting nearly a year of research and stakeholder input, the HPLO’s 12-page report detailed seven principles for new construction in Oregon’s Historic Districts.Read More »

Ideas Worth Sharing: Re-Framing the Historic Preservation Conversation

The TED slogan is ‘ideas worth spreading’, and at some point last week I realized this had happened. Thanks to multiple historic preservation distribution networks, a video of a presentation I gave earlier this year at TEDxCLE has been shared by preservationists far and wide.Read More »

Save the Date: Next Twitter Chat is One Week Away (August 10)

Twitter logoJoin us one week from today - Wednesday, August 10, at 4:00 EDT - to talk historic preservation on Twitter. Our theme will be reaching out to under-served communities and how to build connections outside the "usual suspects."Read More »

Extra Credit: Lawmakers Introduce Bills that Will Revitalize Main Streets and Strengthen Historic Neighborhoods

The $3.5 million rehabilitation of the historic People’s Building in Rocky Mount, NC exemplifies the type of historic redevelopment project that will benefit from an expanded federal historic tax credit.Written by Erica Stewart One of my wise co-workers recently posited that a commercial district is only as strong as its surrounding neighborhood. While I am not 100 percent sure someone couldn’t come up with an example of a healthy shopping district that draws mostly from neighborhoods other than its own, I absolutely agree withRead More »

A Spirited Comeback

Over the past several years, the visible decline of the Detroit area – from the city itself to the smaller towns that surround it – has caught the nation’s imagination. With image after haunting image of ghostly vacant blocks and countless gloomy editorials, sometimes it seems like the media has already written the region off. However, amidst the rubble of times past, a new breed of locally-minded, dedicated entrepreneurs has decided it’s time to give southeastern Michigan new life. Read More »

Getting Smart About School Siting and Rehabilitation in Georgia

As seems to be the case elsewhere in the United States, Georgia lacks an exemplary track record of progressive thinking when it comes to siting new schools and making decisions regarding the treatment of older schools. Historic preservation advocates have expressed concerns for historic schools in Georgia for years, but although there have been isolated success stories, the overall picture is not pretty. Read more about what local leaders are doing to change things for the better.Read More »

Preservation Round-Up: The Greenest Building Edition

In preservation circles, it’s a story we’ve all heard a million times yet still hasn’t reached the mainstream: restoring existing buildings is one of the greenest ways to build. Here are a few stories that help flip that vision to a wider audience.Read More »

Rehab to Revitalize: How Preservation Can Support Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is known for its simple, affordable new builds. What you may not know, however, is how some affiliates are expanding the model to include rehabilitation -- and doing preservation along the way. Check out one such example from Newburgh, NY.Read More »

New Partnerships for West Baltimore's Green Spaces

The Friends of West Baltimore Squares is a new partnership-driven initiative connecting historic preservation, urban greening and neighborhood revitalization through the celebration of West Baltimore’s unique historic squares and parks.Read More »

Preservation Round-Up: View from the Street Edition

Another reason we love preservation? Because it helps deepen the context and expand the stories of the streets, neighborhoods, towns, and cities that our work is part of. The further we go in the past, the more important specific places were for where buildings were located. Read More »

Explaining the Value of Preservation Tax Incentives in Three Short Minutes [VIDEO]

The National Park Service, by way of their YouTube channel, has come to the rescue with a short video that demonstrates the value of their Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program by looking at Washington, DC's Atlas Theater. Read More »

Hawley Silk Mill: A Successful Combination of Historic Rehabilitation and Environmental Sustainability

The Hawley Silk Mill , built in 1881, was abandoned in the late 1980s, but in 2008 a partnership of local entrepreneurs purchased the mill building to rehabilitate it using federal Historic Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credits. Not only did they go to great lengths to preserve the architectural integrity of the mill, they also found ways to make it more green.Read More »

Baton Rouge's Huey LongNeck Pub Crawl

Huey Long, perhaps Louisiana’s most famous (and infamous) governor, was not known as a preservationist. That is, until now...Read More »

Main Street Monday: Road Trip Edition

Lititz, Pennsylvania (Photo: Flickr user Rob Watski)Written by Erica Stewart Here’s our second installation of Main Street Monday, a monthly round-up of news stories that celebrate America’s historic downtowns and neighborhoods business districts and those people who strive to make them vibrant centers of community life. With spring weather finally, fitfully unfolding in many parts of the country, this recent storyRead More »

Preservation Round-Up: Thriving Main Streets Edition

Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood. (Photo: Brian Cohen, www.briancohenphotography.com)Despite differing geography, population, economy and attributes, each story offers strong testimony to the power of Main Street to make our historic downtowns vibrant places to live, work and play—whatever the economy.Read More »

New Allotment Allows for Additional Historic Rehabilitation Projects

Baltimore's American Brewery building. (Photo: Paul Burk)Written by Erica Stewart Today was a good day for fans of historic real estate development. This morning, the National Trust’s historic real estate investment subsidiary, the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) was awarded $29 28 million in New Markets Tax Credit authority by the CDFI Fund of the U.S. Treasury. This means thatRead More »

The “Energy-Saving House” That Saves History—and Maybe Our Future, Too

Knox Heritage, the National Trust’s citywide preservation partner in Knoxville, Tenn. is demonstrating with their latest project that preservation is not only green, but also on the cutting edge of sustainable technologies. Read More »

A Second Chance at Rehabilitation: Salem’s Old Jail Comes to Life

The Old Salem Jail, before restoration.Say “Salem, Massachusetts,” and of course, the Salem Witch Trials springs to mind. There are ample reasons to think Salem might have some wronged spirits still haunting the place. And among those inclined to think so, the Old Salem Jail had the reputation for being one of the most haunted sites in town.Read More »

Dinner and a Movie: The Rebirth of Knoxville’s 500 Block of Gay Street

The 500 block of Gay Street, c. 1937.It’s an exciting time and tens of thousands of people from across the region are enjoying downtown’s success, brought about by preservationists, local developers, small business owners and government leaders.Read More »

Thinking Outside the Box: An Artful Adaptive Use Project in Hudson Valley

The vacant Nabisco box making factory before rehabilitation.This is the latest in a series of posts celebrating the 10th anniversary of the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) by sharing some of its biggest successes. Written by Erica Stewart When then-Dia Art Foundation director Michael Govan first laid eyes on the vacant Nabisco box making factory, he didn’t just see 292,000 squareRead More »

Durham’s Historic Tobacco Buildings Ignite Bull City’s Growth for the Second Time

The Lucky Strike smokestack and water tower, added to the campus in 1930, lend the American Tobacco complex a one-of-a-kind distinction. (Photo: Flickr user abbyladybug, via Creative Commons.)Written by Erica Stewart This week’s journey through NTCIC’s ten years of historic tax credit investing runs through the city of Durham, North Carolina, a city that has been dominated by the tobacco industry—either by its boom or its bust—for over 140 years. Although now known as “the City of Medicine,” there is no mistakingRead More »

A Very Happy Anniversary

(Photo couresy of Tara Krebbs, Dudley Ventures, Inc.)Written by Pat Lally When Emily Post penned her first etiquette book in 1922, she offered a guide to appropriate anniversary gifts by year.  This year we’re celebrating the National Trust Community Investment Corporation’s (NTCIC) decade-long effort to reinvest in America’s historic neighborhoods and my work in Congress has been taken to a whole newRead More »

Up and Coming in Downcity: Historic Rehabilitation and the Arts Converge in Providence

The Dreyfus interior before restoration.A visit to Providence reveals why it is the envy of many big cities, with its nucleus of rehabbed historic commercial buildings, an inviting river front and interesting theaters, restaurants and retail.Read More »

Change is Brewing in Baltimore

Baltimore's American Brewery building. (Photo: Paul Burk)After several decades of decay, fresh winds of change are blowing through East Baltimore largely thanks to a new life for an old building.Read More »

Investing in New Orleans' Past Brightens its Present - and Future

The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District.The Pontchartrain Hotel stands 14 stories above St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans’ Lower Garden district and was the tallest building in the city when it was constructed in 1927. Read More »

Rebuilt with a Cause: Historic Mansion Rehab by Nonprofit Group Does the Community, Environment and the Economy Good

Sometimes - no, most of the time - I'm very proud to call myself a preservationist. Never more so than when historic preservation is utilized to achieve sustainability on economic, environmental and socio-cultural levels.Read More »

St. Louis Developers Using Tax Credits to Fill the "Hole in the Donut"

The Laurel, as it looks today.Written by Erica Stewart To read the papers today (yes, thank you, I still do), with their dire news about climbing unemployment, paltry job growth and dry capital markets,  there are plenty of reasons to think an adaptive use project like The Laurel could never happen in today's economy. Yet it is. And given itsRead More »

Little Tokyo Service Center at the Heart of the Transformation of an L.A. Neighborhood

The Far East Building is again the focal point of the Little Tokyo community following a $4.2 million rehab by LTSC, assisted by a Save America’s Treasures grant. (Photo:  Discover Nikkei)Little Tokyo's status as a vibrant, eclectic, and close-knit community has remained constant through its history.Read More »

Save America's Treasures Takes Center Stage in a Theatre's - and a Town's - Recovery

The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA.When looking for irrefutable evidence that the Save America’s Treasures program is much too valuable a job-generating and community-building program to lose, look no further than Pittsfield, Massachusetts.Read More »

HOPE Rewarded

Built in 1927 and expanded in 1931, Bastrop High School was once regarded as one of the best, largest, and most complete school facilities in Louisiana.After a decade-long effort, Bastrop, Louisiana finally has the financial support it needs to renovate an abandoned high school building – once the pride of the town – into independent living apartments for the elderly.Read More »

I Brake for Old Buildings: A Preservationist’s Tour of Baltimore, East and West

NTCIC staff and friends listen to what is possible at the Dayspring Block building project in a rough part of East Baltimore.Written by Erica Stewart As someone whose job involves a significant amount of writing, my work gets infinitely easier when I trade the confines of my desk (and the bounds my imagination) for the actual streets and buildings where historic preservation meets the road.  So I jumped at the chance to join a tour ofRead More »

Hold the Novocain... Baltimore's Professional Arts Building has been Reborn as Apartments

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Mayor Sharon Dixon, John Leith-Tetrault of NTCIC, and others celebrating the ribbon-cutting.Written by Erica Stewart A crowd of 50 supporters, partners and residents gathered recently to help welcome the reinvented Professional Arts Building back to Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Once a thriving hub for the dental and medical trades, the eight-story, 1927 building on Reed Street was vacant and poorly maintained for several years. Thanks toRead More »

Old + New = Green: CASA de Maryland’s New Balancing Act

This Place Matters! (Photo: mario Quiroz)Written by Erica Stewart A broken bone in my foot and thirty-odd sawdust covered steps didn’t diminish my appreciation for the transformation that CASA de Maryland is leading at the McCormick-Goodhart Mansion in Langley Park, Maryland. I joined a group of National Trust for Historic Preservation members and staff recently for a tour of theRead More »

Oakland's Got Seoul: Revitalization in Oakland’s Multi-Culti KoreaTown-Northgate

banner-ceremonyWritten by Jeff Eichenfield KoreaTown-Northgate is a lively but long-neglected commercial corridor along Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, California that is seeing a lot of positive change these days due to efforts of a group of property owners who have banded together to revitalize the district under the multi-culti tagline “Oakland’s Got Seoul.” The idea toRead More »

Historic Theatre, New Act

At the rear of the Orchestra level in the Carpenter Theatre, the ceiling restoration is nearly complete.Written by Erica Stewart Our friends at the CenterStage Foundation have been keeping us informed of a fabulous project underway to create a new identify for a venerable historic theatre. The Richmond (Virginia) CenterStage project rehabs the Carpenter Theatre, a once-grand movie house, and integrates it into a brand new performing arts complex next door.  Built in 1928 as the Loew's Theatre, the Carpenter had anRead More »

Oakland's Restored Fox Theater "Worth the Trip"

SignOakland, California. San Francisco’s New Jersey, snarky bridge & tunnel references and all. (As a proud Jersey boy, I think I’m allowed to say that.) Oakland also has to contend with one of the most frequently repeated quotes about an American city -- yes, I’m talking about Gertrude Stein’s observation about Oakland that “there isRead More »

The Stage is Set for Oakland's Fox Theater to be a Huge Hit

This former vaudeville theatre re-opens tonight after $70 million rehabilitation, which followed a prolonged period of vacancy and decay. (Photo: © 2009 Nathanael Bennett)If I could somehow pry myself loose from the crush of my current workload and from the marvelous entanglements presented at home by my two small children, I would be on my way from DC to Oakland, California right now. Why? No, not because flying to Oakland is a cheaper way to get to SanRead More »

Spicing Up a Stately Mansion: New Life for a Forgotten Estate

Photo: Mario QuirozOur colleagues at the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) are celebrating an important milestone in a fantastic project that brings historic preservation, green building and community development together under one roof. For the past years we’ve counseled nonprofit organization CASA de Maryland on how to finance and structure their rehabilitation of a neglected GeorgianRead More »