Written by Katie Kastner

Foundation discovered at Honouliuli. (Photo: Jill Radke)

Foundation discovered at Honouliuli. (Photo: Jill Radke)

I have been a Partners in the Field Representative with Historic Hawai‘i Foundation (HHF) in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation for the past year. In that time I have had the opportunity to explore many important themes in the history of Hawai‘i, work with and learn about the diverse cultures represented here, and understand that wide range of experiences that different cultures have had in Hawai‘i.

The history of Hawai‘i and the development of the military in the state cannot be told without the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The impact of this attack occurring in such a multicultural territory of the U.S. had profound cultural effects and ultimately changed the cultural dynamics in the islands during this time because of the fear that it struck in those living here in Hawai‘i and throughout the U.S.

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry to be detained in camps across the country. In Hawai‘i at this time about 40% of the population was of Japanese descent. Approximately 1,440 people were interned, most of them of Japanese descent, but some of German and Italian ancestry as well. On the island of O‘ahu, detainees were first held at the Sand Island detention center before being moved to the Honouliuli camp, which opened March 1, 1943.

Until just a few years ago, little was known about the location of World War II Japanese Internment camps in Hawai‘i. In fact many people, including myself, were unaware that any Japanese internment camp sites remained in Hawaii. The Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i (JCCH) began researching these sites in an effort to determine where these camps were located and what, if any, evidence of them remains.

Site feature at Honouliuli (Photo: Jill Radke)

Site feature at Honouliuli (Photo: Jill Radke)

JCCH has been working with various organizations including HHF, the University of Hawai‘i, the State Historic Preservation Division, the National Park Service (NPS), and others to identify, preserve and interpret the Japanese internment camp experience in Hawai‘i. Their work has resulted in the identification of internment sites of various sizes on all of the Hawaiian islands. This work has unveiled an important piece of history from the recent past that had until recently been largely unexplored.

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Historic and Modern, DC's School Without Walls is the Best of Both Worlds

Posted on: August 3rd, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 4 Comments

 

Written by Kaitlin Dastugue

The 1897 side of School Without Walls.

The 1893 side of School Without Walls.

Preservationists and neighbors are often charged with making the case for saving historic schools as many outdated and seemingly arbitrary school facilities standards favor destroying an older neighborhood school to build a larger, institutional mega-structure on the far outskirts of town.

Last week, my fellow State and Local Policy intern, Mika, and I, set out to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated School without Walls, a DC public high school. Armed with literature on school siting and weeks of advocating for historic buildings, we were curious to see an act of historic preservation in the flesh: what educational experience could a historic school offer over new construction? This was a unique chance to see how one community transformed their dilapidated brick school building located in the heart of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and George Washington University (GWU) into a state-of–the-art high school facility.

All the arguments for rehabilitating older schools over building new ones rang true: they are traditionally smaller—a trait many education scholars attribute to a healthy learning environment. They also anchor neighborhoods, provide facilities for community use, and give students the opportunity to walk or take public transit to school.

The connection between the old and new buildings.

The connection between the old and new buildings.

At the opening of the renovated School without Walls, named for its distinctive mission to foster learning outside of the classroom through its partnership with GWU, there was a feeling of eager anticipation from the students, families, faculty, and neighbors -- all whom had gathered to view the long awaited transformation. After remarks from Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chancellor of Public Schools, Michelle Rhee, the doors were opened to the public. Oohs, ahs, and the occasional “sweet dude, check this out!” filled the tall glass-clad entryway of the new addition. The exposed exterior brick of the original 1893 building, which now took on the role as an interior wall, served as a perfect threshold between the renovated old school building and the new addition.

The classrooms of the original building provided an ideal space for 21st century learning—the large rooms granted ample space for multipurpose uses, high ceilings and large windows flooded the classrooms with natural light (while saving energy, mind you), and the new finishing of the original hardwood floors and other architectural details created a beautiful, inviting space -- the kind of school Chancellor Rhee affirmed would get children excited about coming to school and the kind of world-class facility that could help them achieve.

I caught up with Principal Architect Sean O'Donnell of the firm EE &K charged with this project. He spoke of both the challenges and the benefits that came with working with an historic school building. He also helped debunk many of the myths that come with the territory such as the belief that older schools can’t meet 21st century educational and technological needs. He believed that School Without Walls “attests to the fact that a 19th century school can foster an innovative pedagogy—new construction wouldn’t have that same opportunity.”

Exploring the renovated classroom space.

Exploring the renovated classroom space.

The goal was to ensure that School Without Walls fit nicely into the fabric of the rest of GWU's campus and that the collaborative partnership between the university and high school did not stop at the programmatic level. O'Donnell feels confidant that the technology available and the spaces created in School Without Walls are ones where any University professor who is accustomed to state-of-the-art facilities can walk into and immediately feel at ease.

As the school aims for its LEED gold certification, many of the original aspects of the old building are scoring automatic points: it’s location on transit, large windows that allow plentiful daylight, reuse of historic fabric, and its shared parking facilities with the University.

Kudos to DCPS, EE & K, and School Without Walls for their innovative design and approach—hopefully, many others may follow your lead.

Kaitlin Dastugue is an intern in the State and Local Policy office at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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.

LA's Once-Endangered Ennis House Stabilized, on the Market

Posted on: July 31st, 2009 by Sarah Heffern

 

Yesterday morning as I walked into work, I ran into a colleague and, after exchanging the usual pleasantries, she told me about a great story she'd been listening to on NPR on her way into the office. It was about the Ennis House, an iconic Frank Lloyd Wright creation in Los Angeles that had fallen into such disrepair that it was included on our 11 Most Endangered list in 2005. After several years  -- and nearly 6.4 million dollars of stabilization and rehabilitation work by the Ennis House Foundation, with our assistance and that of the LA Conservancy and the Frank  Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy -- the house is now on the market.

NPR correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates shares the story of a house that starred in films, fell on hard times, and is now looking for its Hollywood ending.

Sarah Heffern is the content manager for PreservationNation.org.

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.

Preserving our Present

Posted on: July 30th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Written by Priya Chhaya

First there was the voice that everyone recognized, an activist actress, and the pop star who defied gravity with a moonwalk . Then we lost a newscaster whom everyone believed in, a jazz genius and a choreographer of the sublime and avant garde.

Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, George Russell, Merce Cunningham. Individually these deaths seem fleeting—the loss of someone who defined their fields and made a place in their particular corners of the world. Together they represent an America defined by television, movies and pop culture—of innovation and radical creativity; an America whose history cannot be documented solely by the written word or the preservation of a single building (although conversations are already ongoing about making Neverland the next Graceland) but through various sources of multi media. While the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the preservation field as a whole have been thinking about America at mid-century and the associated challenges, I find myself asking myself the age old question—how will we be remembered? How can we preserve a culture that is quickly moving towards the intangible? While the homes, and structures of our past will always be important, and rightly so, how do we preserve the other “stuff” of our history to ensure a clearer vision of our own age? Is that even possible?

I know that there are some great projects out there that explore how we can do this. Some examples include the collection websites surrounding 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina (for example: the Center for History and New Media’s 9/11 Digital Archive, the Library of Congress, and Hurricane Digital Memory Bank) but I would love to see more.

Priya Chhaya is the program assistant in the office of Training and Online Information Services at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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.

Notes from New Orleans: Federal Lawsuit Moved to NOLA

Posted on: July 30th, 2009 by Walter Gallas 2 Comments

 

We learned Tuesday that the federal court has ruled that the case the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed against FEMA and the Department of Veterans Affairs in DC federal court in May will be transferred to New Orleans federal district court. Our suit maintains that the two federal agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act when they OK’d the development of hospitals for Louisiana State University and Veterans Affairs in the Lower Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans.

The suit was filed in DC because the decisions were made by agency officials in DC, and the case has broader implications about the application of environmental law to historic properties. Nevertheless, we understand the court’s ruling for the venue and accept it. Local citizens and local media will have a greater opportunity to follow the case, which was a key part of the court’s reasoning, and this could be a very good thing.

The City and the State had asked the court to intervene in the case, but this decision hasn’t been made.

Read the full statement from the National Trust on this decision.

Learn more about our efforts to save Mid-City New Orleans.

Walter W. Gallas, AICP, is the director of the New Orleans Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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.