The Votes Are In…

Posted on: May 18th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Alissa Anderson

Taking a break from riding the Carousel, visitors hula hoop and enjoy other activities during the Carousel’s PiP Open House festivities on May 2 and 3.

Taking a break from riding the Carousel, visitors hula hoop and enjoy other activities during the Carousel’s PiP Open House festivities on May 2 and 3.

The final results are in -- and the Paragon Carousel in Hull, Massachusetts is the winner of the 2009 Partners in Preservation public vote! Garnering 15% of all votes submitted at the Partners in Preservation website over the 34-day voting period, they are guaranteed to receive a Partners in Preservation grant of $100,000. This money will go toward installing historically accurate doors and restoring the original windows of the 12-sided building that houses the carousel -- one of only three such buildings in the U.S. still housing its original carousel at or near its original location.

Three Paragon Carousel visitors stand in front of the original Carousel Building doors c. 1960.

Three Paragon Carousel visitors stand in front of the original Carousel Building doors c. 1960.

I first visited the Carousel this past February, on one of the coldest days of the year, and walked through low-lying snow drifts (which had blown in through cracks beneath the building’s current garage-style doors) as staff artisan James Hardison gave a tour of the 66-horse carousel. Even in the 20 degree weather, with the machinery still and 1926 Wurlitzer Organ silent, it was a genuinely magical place. I can’t wait to make a summer return visit and see it come to life with riders and music and cotton candy -- especially once the PiP grant-funded renovations are completed in 2010 and the carousel is fully reconnected to its seaside surroundings and its history!

For more information on how the Friends of the Paragon Carousel, an exclusively volunteer-run organization, rallied so many supporters, check out the official press release. And stay tuned for June 16th, when the final list of grant recipients (chosen by American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and an Advisory Committee comprised of Greater Boston civic and preservation leaders) will be announced!

Alissa Anderson is intern at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office in Boston.

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.

Preservation Roundup: Nature and Public Art, Preservation Qunicy

Posted on: May 18th, 2009 by Matt Ringelstetter

 

Highlighting Nature in the City Via Public Art: San Francisco, Houston, and Indianapolis evoke and even incorporate the nature that surrounds them. [Next American City]

Preservation Week in Quincy, Illinois: Vince Michael from Time Tells on why Quincy is a great city for preservation. [Time Tells]

The Perils of 401 King William, San Antonio: Villa Finale--the newest National Trust Historic Site--continues its tale of t401 King William Street. [Villa Finale]

New Lincoln Pennies: [President Lincoln's Cottage]

The Tide Pool of Saint Malo: Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics features a new proposal for a unique auquatic center. Pruned looks at both this design, and an older tide pool in Brittany, France. [Pruned]

The House of Memory and Automata: Chateau northwest of Paris inhabited by wax figures and animatronic stand ins to act out scenes from fairy tales and to act out the family history of the chateau itself. [BLDGBLOG]

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.

 

This past week we submitted comments on behalf of the National Trust for Historic Preservation on the four latest design schemes for the proposed VA medical center in New Orleans. If plans do not change, this medical center is to be built on 30 acres of land (10 square blocks) cleared of 123 historic houses, within the Mid-City National Register District. Next to this hospital, Louisiana State University plans to build its new academic medical center after clearing even more land -- another 39 acres.

We have repeatedly asked early in the historic preservation and environmental review processes why either institution needed so much land. We were told by the VA that the size of its site was mandated by federal setback requirements after the bombing in Oklahoma City and the 9/11 attacks. In the case of the VA designs, we learned this week that it is possible to "harden" a structure as another means of meeting the setback requirement, raising yet another question about why so much unnecessary land is being taken and so many extra homes needlessly bulldozed.

Learn More

The four proposed designs (PDFs)

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.

 

Written by Anne Dodge

The Wollaston Theater in Quincy, Mass.

The Wollaston Theater in Quincy, Mass.

In my job as a circuit rider -- a person who works in the field to bring preservation programs, services, knowledge and resources to local communities -- I get to work with a wide range of historic properties all over eastern Massachusetts. However, although the properties can be very different from one another, the people who call the circuit riders tend to have a lot in common. But every once in a while, a property’s fate hinges on the participation of a racially and culturally diverse population. The Wollaston Theater is one of those properties.

The Wollaston Theater is a single-screen, classical revival-style movie theater on a bustling commercial street near downtown Quincy. Known locally as “The Wolly”, the theater operated as a first-run movie theater until the 1990’s, when it began to fall into disrepair. The Boston Globe reports that a group of individuals in the arts have entered into a purchase and sale agreement with the estate that owns the building; reportedly, the new owners intend to keep the theater in use as some type of performance or cultural center.

Since the 1980s, the Wollaston’s North Quincy neighborhood has also been home to many Chinese and other Asian immigrants. According to The Next American City, Quincy’s Asian-American population stands at around 14,000, or around 17% of the town’s total population. When I was contacted by a concerned local citizen about the theater’s recent sale, we spent much of our meeting talking not only about the theater, but about the community around it. My client worried that it would be difficult to form a collaborative, diverse coalition of advocates -– not because the theater didn’t matter to all of the neighborhood’s residents, but because she had no knowledge of any Chinese-Americans in Quincy who worked in preservation. And unfortunately, neither did I, and neither did my coworkers, although the city has no shortage of knowledgeable preservation professionals.

The doors of the Wollaston Theater.

The doors of the Wollaston Theater.

From my perspective as a circuit rider and someone relatively new to the field of preservation, the Wollaston Theater is not only a building to be saved, but an opportunity to start a conversation about the issues of diversity, relevancy, and communication that characterize the historic preservation field. The field has worked hard in recent years to broaden both its participants and the types of resources it celebrates, but there is definitely more work to be done. Riding the “circuit” around eastern Massachusetts has shown me how few new Americans are engaged with historic preservation. And I don’t believe that this is primarily because the buildings often represent Anglo-American history or because historic preservation is a luxury business, but because preservation organizations have failed to create sustained and meaningful relationships with new American individuals, groups, and organizations.

... Read More →

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Last Week of Voting for Greater Boston Partners in Preservation

Posted on: May 12th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

It’s hard to believe that this is the very last week of the Greater Boston Partners in Preservation voting period, but the closing of the online polls at midnight on May 17th (and the subsequent announcement of the public vote winner!) is almost upon us. For our terrific 25 participating historic places, this is the homestretch—the time in which they’re rallying their supporters to cast every last vote they can in the hopes of finishing as high as possible in the final ranking.

Fortunately, Partners in Preservation has received some great publicity in the past few days that has hopefully inspired even more people to join the voting ranks. The most recent media attention is a great New England Cable News story about the program, featuring Northeast Director Wendy Nicholas and the two PiP sites in Beacon Hill, which appeared during yesterday’s evening and nightly news broadcasts. (If you happened to miss it, never fear--you can watch the segment online.)

To do your part to help your favorite places finish strong, keep voting once a day, every day–until the clock strikes twelve on Sunday night!—at www.PartnersinPreservation.com.

Alissa Anderson is an intern at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Northeast Office in Boston.

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.