Written by Raina Regan, Community Preservation Specialist, Indiana Landmarks

Aerial view of the plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Credit: American Museum of Science and Energy
Aerial view of the plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Science, secrecy, and a large sense of scale uniquely identify those sites associated with the Manhattan Project. Of the three primary sites -- Los Alamos, New Mexico; Hanford, Washington; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee -- the latter has always captured my interest because of its moniker “The Secret City.”

The Manhattan Engineer District built an entirely new military reservation on 59,000 acres in an isolated area of rural Tennessee. Construction on the site began in 1942, with the townsite located in the northeast corner of the six-mile-long reservation. Clinton Engineer Works, the Army’s name for the Oak Ridge Manhattan Project site during World War II, hosted the Project’s uranium enrichment plants (K-25 and Y-12) and the pilot plutonium production reactor (X-10).

After reading Denise Kiernan’s The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II and supporting the proposed Manhattan Project National Historical Park, I felt compelled to visit the city which had fascinated me for years. I convinced my sister, a fellow history buff who had also recently read Kiernan’s book, to take an atomic-inspired road trip to eastern Tennessee.... 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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

Military Veterans Tackle HOPE Crew Project at Custer National Cemetery

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by David Robert Weible No Comments

 

The HOPE Crew’s Custer National Cemetery project was the first to incorporate an all-veteran hitch. Participants represented every branch of the military. Credit: Audrey Hall
The HOPE Crew’s Custer National Cemetery project was the first to incorporate an all-veteran hitch. Participants represented every branch of the military.

It’s one of the most famous battles in American history. In May, 1876, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry tracked down roughly 8,000 Cheyenne and Sioux Indians in southeastern Montana and stepped into battle with about 1,800 of them. The rest, as they say, is history.

Now a small piece of that history is being restored, with help from the National Trust, The Corps Network, The Montana Conservation Corps, and the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center.... 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.

[Historic Bars] The Dresden in Los Angeles

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Lauren Walser 1 Comment

 

Preservation Nation continues its tour of historic bars as we sashay our way into America’s historic cocktail lounges, the upscale gin joints where high society has sipped sophistication for decades. This week, we check out the Dresden in Los Angeles.

The Dresden has been a Los Angeles institution since 1954. Credit: Blaise Nutter
The Dresden has been a Los Angeles institution since 1954.

Even if you’ve never been to the Dresden is Los Angeles’ Los Feliz neighborhood, chances are, you’ve seen it.

Since it opened in its current iteration in 1954, the Dresden has been ready for its close-up, lending its dark, retro interior to a number of films. It’s where Trent (played by Vince Vaughn) delivers his impassioned “You’re so money” speech” as Mike (Jon Favreau) gathers the nerve to flirt with the object of his affection in Swingers. And it’s where Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) meets his idol, musician Del Paxton (Bill Cobbs), in That Thing You Do.

In many ways, the Dresden is that perfect old Hollywood lounge. Walk in the front door off noisy Vermont Avenue, and you’re taken back to the Los Angeles of yore. Little has changed there since it was remodeled in the ‘60s by then-owner Carl Ferraro. (Previously, it had been another eatery, Pucci’s Café, which opened in the 1930s; before that, it was a paint store.)

Pause in the small lobby area and let your eyes adjust to the dim lighting. To your right will be a private room, perfect for small gatherings or for escaping the fray of the crowded bar. To your left will be the restaurant, with white leather booths, funky floor-to-ceiling light fixtures, and a menu offering classic American fare such as prime rib and pork chops.

A popular filming location and celebrity hangout, the Dresden features strong cocktails and live entertainment in a classic old Hollywood environment. Credit: Blaise Nutter
A popular filming location and celebrity hangout, the Dresden features strong cocktails and live entertainment in a classic old Hollywood environment.

Straight ahead is the lounge. The décor there is so retro it’s stylish again. Grab a seat at the bar, or sink into one of the brown leather semi-circular booths along the perimeter against the faux rock walls and wood paneling. Or find space at one of the small, white tables with red rolling chairs clustered closely together underneath large globe chandeliers. For a close-up of the live entertainment, you can sit at the long table wrapping snugly around the grand piano at the center of the room.

The dapper, tuxedoed bartenders mix drinks quickly and expertly, and when it’s time to pay your bill, the old-fashioned cash registers will be put to use.

A Swingers poster hangs, anachronistically, above the wall leading to the restrooms and back exit. Follow that path, and you’ll see a hallway lined with headshots of the Dresden’s famous patrons, including Dolly Parton, Jay Leno, Adam West, and Jon Hamm.

If you show up after 9 p.m. from Tuesday through Saturday -- and you should plan your visit around those times -- you can order a cocktail and enjoy the sounds of resident jazz musicians Marty and Elayne, who have been playing classic jazz standards at the Dresden since 1982. Sometimes they’ll share the stage with guest musicians, but more often than not, it’s Marty on the drum kit or upright bass, with Elayne on the piano. The duo even appeared in Swingers.

Jazz musicians Marty and Elayne have been a fixture at the Dresden for more than 30 years. Credit: Sarai Mitnick, Flickr
Jazz musicians Marty and Elayne have been a fixture at the Dresden for more than 30 years.

If you think the Dresden is charming on the silver screen, you should see it for yourself. Here’s what you should know before you go:

Location: The Dresden, 1760 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday 4 to 11 p.m.

Year Opened: 1954

As Seen In: The Two Jakes (1990), Swingers (1996), That Thing You Do (1996), What Women Want (2000), Anchorman (2004)

What to Order: The Blood and Sand, a blended rum-based drink, is the signature cocktail.

Best Yelp Reviews: “I have been visiting the Dresden since the days of Swingers. Walking into the Dresden is like walking back in time.”

“For a quiet change of pace with a touch of old Hollywood, go to the Dresden Room.”

“They have, by far, the best bartender I've ever had. He dresses to the nines with his waistcoat and neatly groomed moustache and is essentially psychic in not only fulfilling but anticipating what you'll want next.”

“Iconic. That says it all. Whether you are a fan because you have frequented it for the last 20 years or you just wanted to trace Mikey's steps from the classic movie Swingers, you must hang out at the Dresden Room and sip on a Blood & Sand.”

Bonus: Check out this interview with Marty and Elayne to learn how their duo came to be.

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.

 

Wildwood Motels - Lolipop Motel Exterior - Retro Roadmap
The brightly colored doors of the Lollipop Motel

The seaside stretch of the New Jersey shore known collectively as The Wildwoods boasts the highest concentration of Midcentury Modern motels in the world.

Located just north of the Victorian Cape May, these fun and futuristic buildings of the 1950s-1960s reflect an important era in our nation’s history -- the post-WWII decades when family vacations meant piling into the station wagon and heading to the shore on the newly constructed interstate highway system.

While this eye-catching enclave has a great many admirers -- from families who have vacationed here for decades to international travelers looking to experience the authentic history of America -- the threat of development still casts a shadow over the future of these boutique motels, despite their resurgence in popularity.... 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.

Beth Lennon

Beth Lennon is the creator of the website RetroRoadmap.com. As "Mod Betty," she delights as the retro travel "hostess with the mostess," scouting out cool vintage places and sharing them with the world.

 

Written by Mark Levitch, Art Historian and Founder, World War I Memorial Inventory Project

Rosedale, KS.  Rosedale World War I Memorial Arch. 1924. John LeRoy Marshall, architect. Credit: Mark Levitch
Architect John LeRoy Marshall designed the Rosedale World War I Memorial Arch (1924) in Rosedale, Kansas.

World War I, which started one hundred years ago this month, is generally considered one of America’s forgotten wars. But the war’s ubiquitous memorials -- perhaps more than for any other U.S. conflict -- beg to differ.... 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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.