This Place Matters: The Videos

Posted on: May 28th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

Preservation Month may be nearing its end (have you placed your bids in the online auction yet?) but our theme, "This Place Matters" is only getting started.  Hundreds of photos have been submitted of places across the country, and our map is getting so full of flags that entire states are obscured. And now, videographers are getting into the act. Just today I found out about two great This Place Matters videos on YouTube -- one via email and the other through Facebook. They're very different in style, but are wonderfully alike in the fact that they share a passion for saving places.

The first comes from Marietta, Ohio, where the Campus Martius museum is threatened by  state budget cuts.

According to the Marietta Times, the same young preservationist who posted that video also made an appearance before the Ohio Senate.

Marietta Middle School eighth-grader Cheyenne Lemasters, 14, visited Columbus last week to get that message to Ohio's Senate, still debating the budget.

"I just wanted to get the word out and thought it would be different from just making phone calls if they heard from me face to face," she said. "I wanted them to remember how important this is."

Lemasters, who also organized a recent rally in support of the museums, testified before four senators.

"It was very nerve-wracking," she said. "They were kind of intimidating but very nice to me. They gave me a lot of respect."

Our second video comes from students at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art & Design. Four students worked together to take "This Place Matters" to their home states, talking about endangered buildings in Albany, NY (The Hotel Wellington); Lexington, KY (The Gratz Park Historic District), Denver, CO (The Daniels & Fisher Tower); and the California State Parks. Each of the segments of the video share a little of the history of the places, as well as their preservation status.

Learn 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.

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.

 

A solid team effort on our part before the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee resulted in House Bill 780 passing unanimously out of committee yesterday. The bill would require Louisiana State University to produce a financing plan for its proposed replacement medical center in New Orleans, and that the plan be approved by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget before LSU acould seize any property on the proposed hospital site.

Joining Sandra Stokes, of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, and me in testimony before the committee was Mickey Weiser, owner of a multi-million-dollar security business headquartered in the proposed LSU footprint. Under the current plan, his headquarters could be expropriated and demolished for "future expansion" space for the new hospital. In addition, we had Kevin Krauss, Mid-City homeowner; Mary Howell, an attorney with an office adjacent to the proposed site; Bill Borah, land-use attorney; Richard Exnicios, of Deutsches-Haus; and Brad Ott, of the Committee to Re-Open Charity Hospital.

Next week the bill goes to the House, and we return to Baton Rouge for the next stage.

Learn 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.

Looking for Little Saigon

Posted on: May 28th, 2009 by Guest Writer 5 Comments

 

Written by Kim A. O’Connell

This circa-1929 building--with its distinctive swan's neck parapet--once housed Saigon Market, one of the first two Vietnamese stores to open in Little Saigon.

This circa-1929 building--with its distinctive swan's neck parapet--once housed Saigon Market, one of the first two Vietnamese stores to open in Little Saigon.

When I was a child, my mother, a Vietnamese immigrant, would often drive us from our home in suburban Maryland to the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Va., to go shopping. There, in an enclave of markets, boutiques, and restaurants known informally as “Little Saigon,” she could speak in her native language to shopkeepers and fellow customers. We would gorge ourselves on spring rolls—called cha gio—and have sweet sesame balls filled with bean paste for dessert. To an American-born girl like me, the sights, smells, and sounds were fascinating. To my mother, it was like going home.

Today, hardly any trace of Virginia’s Little Saigon remains. Arlington County, as a close-in suburb of Washington, D.C., has become increasingly urbanized in the last three decades, especially along its busy transit corridors. Washington’s Metro subway system had played a direct role in the development of Little Saigon, but it eventually hastened its demise as well. Researching this history has become both a personal and a professional quest of mine.

When my graduate preservation program encouraged projects that promoted cultural diversity, I saw an opportunity to study Little Saigon and learn more about my own heritage at the same time. In addition to doing archival research, I interviewed several former refugees—people like Nguyen Ngoc Bich, who often served as a community representative in the 1970s, and Anhthu Lu, who arrived in Arlington as a teenager and helped her aunt run a gift shop in Clarendon. They and others revealed a common struggle to retain their traditions while assimilating into American life, a phenomenon that a Vietnamese priest once described as “catching two fish with two hands.” In their voices, I heard my mother’s voice too, and felt new empathy for her experience.

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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.

Endangered Rural Virginia School Seeking New Life

Posted on: May 27th, 2009 by Guest Writer 3 Comments

 

Written by Sonja Ingram

The Konnarock School in Hillsville, VA.

The Konnarock School in Hillsville, VA.

Being the field representative for Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I receive many phone calls and emails asking for assistance on a variety of preservation topics. When I received an email about the Konnarock School in Smyth County, my initial thoughts were that it would be a typical request for grant information -- but I was wrong.

My first trip to Konnarock School in March of 2009 was an adventure itself. As I left Danville, I traveled across the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Further up the Crooked Road travelers will find Bristol, Virginia, the birthplace of country music and Carter’s Fold, the home of the famous Carter family where bluegrass is still played every Saturday night.

But my trip did not take me that far west; instead I successfully navigated my way across Lover’s Leap near the town of Stuart, named after Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, then through the scenic Meadows of Dan and onto the aptly named town of Hillsville.

Penny Herring points something out on a tour of the school.

Penny Herring describing the building on a tour.

When I arrived at Konnarock School, located at the foot of Whitetop Mountain and near Mount Rogers, the two highest peaks in Virginia, I was met by two fantastic folks, Penny “the Penster” and Monroe Herring; and one very friendly dog, Buddee. Once we started discussing the school, I began to fully realize the importance of the Konnarock School and what it has meant -- and still means -- to this community in western Virginia.

The Konnarock Training School was built in 1924 by the Lutheran Church as a boarding school for girls. For the next twenty-five years, the school educated many girls in this rural part of Virginia who would not have received the opportunity otherwise. The school also engaged in extensive health, educational, and religious outreach throughout the mountains of Southwest Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. A companion school for boys, the Iron Mountain Lutheran School for Boys and Young Men, was built in the 1930s.

The Konnarock School was built of native hardwoods and is sided with the bark of the American Chestnut tree, a species that is nearly extinct after its decimation during the Chestnut blight in the 1930s-1940s.

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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.

Teaching Preservation: School’s (Almost) Out for Summer

Posted on: May 27th, 2009 by Guest Writer

 

My days here are numbered. Not like I'm counting...

My days here are numbered. Not like I'm counting...

Cue up “Pomp and Circumstance,” because the senior class of Washington High School will officially graduate on May 31, 2009.

Getting this close to the big day, I can’t help but wonder if I’m supposed to feel sad. I'm so excited to have reached this milestone, and I can tell that the feeling is mutual among my classmates.

But what’s next? Where is everyone headed? Believe me, the next chapter is on everyone’s mind these days, and with that being said, here are some updates:

As for me, I will be spending my summer doing volunteer work and prepping for college. I plan to attend the University of Charleston in West Virginia and study neuroscience psychiatry.

As for my classmates and fellow bloggers, they all have big plans for the future. Marci B. plans to attend Ohio University-Chillicothe and study nursing. Brittney T. will attend Southern State Community College and major in human and social sciences, while Bryan R. will venture to the University of Cincinnati to study aeronautical engineering (he has his sights set on working for NASA one day).

In a small town like ours, you end up having the same classmates your entire life. Not to get all mushy (cue that music!), but we’ve literally watched each other grow up. At a time like this, it’s funny to look at our personalities and quirks today, and then think back over the years. For example, in our recent senior favorites contest, Brittney T. walked away with best hair, Bryan R. swept biggest flirt, and I was crowned “Most Likely to Leave and Never Come Back.” Who knew?

Anyway, I think I speak for everyone when I say that Research History has been an especially amazing senior-year experience. We did so much more than highlight and memorize, and hey, we made a difference in the process. I know I learned more about history, and I hope we’ve inspired others with our words and photos. It’s something I feel really good about.

And, looking forward, I’m more prepared for the future since many colleges and universities are now placing greater emphasis on service learning (check!).

So, this is the point in my post when I flip my tassel to the other side, throw my hat in the air, and my make my exit for the last time. From prom to transcripts, I hoped you’ve liked what I've had to say. And, if you’re not ready for goodbye yet, stay tuned for a final post from our class this Friday.

Over and out.

- Sara S.

Sara S. is (for a few more days, at least) a senior at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. This semester, She and her Research History classmates have worked on a variety of preservation projects, including documenting and preserving local cemeteries like Good Hope.

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.