Cemetery Mystery Makes Local News

Posted on: March 13th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

It's not every night that I'm flipping the channels and see one of my co-workers on the promo for the evening news -- but that's just what happened a couple of days ago. And not just any colleague, mind you, but the guy who sits in the office right next to mine. How I missed the film crew in my hallway I'll never know.

Our local Fox affiliate stopped by to interview Rob Nieweg, director of the Southern Field Office, for a truly fascinating story about how gravestones from one of DC's African-American cemeteries made their way to the banks of the Potomac River.

It's a story I hadn't heard before, and to me, it really demonstrates the breadth of work that happens at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I've worked with Rob on projects like the Tomb of the Unknowns and the fight against the Wilderness Wal-Mart and sit literally in the next room -- yet, here's a whole piece of his work that's entirely new to me. As a chained-to-my-desk headquarters staffer, I am constantly blown away by the work our field staff are involved in. And so, since I know Rob isn't the sort to toot his own horn about being on television, I thought I'd share it here.

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.

Way Outside the Beltway TV: Exit Interview with Mary Thompson

Posted on: March 13th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

Join Way Outside the Beltwayer Mary Thompson on the steps of the Rayburn House Office Building for all the details on her productive (and at times surprising) meeting with Representative Norm Dicks during Preservation Lobby Day.

Want to see more? Check out additional exit interviews from Team Way Outside the Beltwayers.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

What Does the National Mall Mean to You?

Posted on: March 13th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Inauguration Day on the National Mall.

Inauguration Day on the National Mall.

Everyone who has visited or lived in Washington, DC, has an idea of what the National Mall means – what its characteristics are, what its boundaries are, what’s important about the iconic swath of land surrounded by memorials, monuments and museums. American national events (such as this year’s inauguration), films and television shows have introduced the Mall in various ways to audiences all over the world.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation regularly participates in public meetings regarding new buildings, monuments, and changes to the historic landscape of the National Mall. As one of the most important historic places in America, preservationists need to play a role in shaping its future.

Last week, the National Park Service released a new draft plan for the National Mall (PDF).

Major changes are planned for the Sylvan Theater site, the reflecting pool at the base of the Capitol (“Union Square”), and Constitution Gardens. Minor changes include new pavings, new restrooms and signage.

Take a look and let us know what you think!

The National Trust will be preparing comments before the April 20 deadline. You can also comment to the National Park Service directly via the National Mall Plan website.

-- Nell Ziehl

Nell Ziehl is the program officer for the Southern Field 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.

Way Outside the Beltway TV: Exit Interview with Joan Murray Simpson

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

One of the best lobbying pointers to keep in mind when working the Hill is that things change and curveballs happen all the time. Sometimes meetings are unexpectedly cancelled, and sometimes the person you were scheduled to visit all of a sudden has a replacement who you've never heard of. Time to think on your feet!

In the latest installment of Way Outside the Beltway TV, Joan Murray Simpson explains how she was supposed to meet face-to-face with Representative Doc Hastings, but ended up having a productive meeting with his office's legislative director.

Want to see more? Check out additional exit interviews from Team Way Outside the Beltwayers, and stay tuned as we add others over the coming days.

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.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Mary Jane Colter: Architect of the Southwest

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

 

Mary Colter showing Bright Angel Lodge plans to Mrs. Harold Ickes, wife of the Secretary of the Interior, circa 1935.  (Credit: Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection # 16940)

Mary Colter showing Bright Angel Lodge plans to Mrs. Harold Ickes, wife of the Secretary of the Interior, circa 1935. (Credit: Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection # 16940)

The career of Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter (1869-1958) is the story of a successful woman in a man’s field: architecture.  Colter designed atmospheric structures for travelers—at Grand Canyon National Park and elsewhere in the Southwest.  She spent her entire career working simultaneously for the Fred Harvey Company—the famous purveyor of tourist accommodations—and its partner, the Santa Fe Railway, creating buildings based on the western landscape and Native American and Hispanic culture.

Colter didn’t copy this milieu but fashioned environments from its essence, relying on her artistic talents—the result of training in the Arts and Crafts in her hometown of St. Paul, Minn., and studying architecture in California—her practical bent, and her fertile imagination to work historical feeling into modern buildings. She was famous for her thorough research, traveling long distances to remote locations in search of Native American ruins and artifacts to study.  Her Watchtower at the Grand Canyon (1933) is the most amazing result of this method, but she is also famous for Lookout Studio, Hopi House, Hermits’ Rest, Bright Angel Lodge, Phantom Ranch, and additional structures at the park.

Colter’s other remarkable creations include El Navajo hotel and train station in Gallup, N.M., the restaurant and lounge at Los Angeles Union Station, shops and restaurants in the union stations of Chicago and Kansas City, and the expansion of La Fonda, the legendary hotel in Santa Fe, N.M. Her most famous work is La Posada in Winslow, Ariz., the last of the great Harvey House hotels, which opened to great acclaim in 1930.  Typically, Colter designed La Posada to look like an old structure, as if it were the abandoned and restored hacienda of a Spanish colonial rancher.  The hotel flourished for years as a layover for travelers headed to California, who often would stay for days there to explore the region.  Later the place sank into neglect, but was restored and reopened in the late 1990s, helping to rejuvenate the town, and is now famous for its romantic accommodations, elegant grounds, and sophisticated dining.

After she died, Colter’s name sank into obscurity.  But her reputation has been revived to great acclaim.  At the Grand Canyon and elsewhere, her contributions are recognized, interpreted, and celebrated to an ever wider public.  Books, videos, and articles about this remarkable artist have helped spread her fame, assuring Colter a permanent place in American history.

–Arnold Berke

Arnold Berke is the senior editor of Preservation magazine 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.