Bedford House, Dublin Castle, Dublin

Bedford House, Dublin Castle, Dublin

Sustainability and climate change are global issues. Likewise, the role of historic preservation and conservation as a response to climate change spans national borders.

So it is fitting that the international heritage community is coming together this fall at the 13th International Conference of National Trusts to examine Heritage of the World in Trust – Conservation in a Changing Climate.

The hosts for this biennial gathering are An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland and the International National Trusts Organization (INTO). The conference, scheduled for September 13-17, 2009 in Dublin, will feature sessions on climate change, the challenges of stewardship with changing environments, and engaging new audiences in our work.

An Taisce has issued a call for papers with a deadline for submission of February 14, 2009. Applications for bursaries to attend the conference are also available on the INTO web site, also with a February 14th deadline.

The International Conference of National Trusts is a great opportunity to learn and meet those interested in heritage issues worldwide. New Delhi was the site of the 2007 conference and the posts from the conference give a flavor of what to expect in Dublin later this year.

***

David J. Brown is the executive vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and serves as the NTHP representative on the INTO Executive Committee.

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.

Three Thousand Miles from my Napa Valley Home

Posted on: January 15th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Three thousand miles from my Napa Valley hometown, I have landed in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. Like thirty five other country-wide preservation leadership participants, we have all come to learn more, network a bit and for some of us, begin to better understand the extraordinary civil rights history to be found in this city. To that, history may be seen and felt from the wrenching events that took place but 48 years ago.

Barbeque from Dreamland.

Barbeque from Dreamland.

For me though, a micro fruit farmer and culinary focused Californian, my attention is also food-focused. On this trip that attention will focus on the culinary traditions of the deep south, truly a unique and distinguishable cultural pathway. So what do regional food traditions have to do with preservation?
On a historical basis, we saw civilizations evolving, dominating and being defined based upon natural resource availability. Agriculture was king, eating was (and is) fundamental. It is the ghost of those past landscapes, economies and food resources that have come to define the food traditions that we now rely upon, that we seek out on a daily subconscious basis.

Fresh, juicy pig lips.

Fresh, juicy pig lips.

In the south, you see the legacy and evolution of African-American food traditions: b-b-que, greens, fried chicken, lots of pork, stews, preserved meats and vegetables and unique gravies. This legacy has defined the African American southern food tradition; a reflection of place, experience and history. These traditions have been brought forward as the new wave of Birmingham cooking manifests itself in hip restaurants that bring elements of old, new and fresh all together.

Macaroni and cheese and pulled pork sandwiches at Dreamland.

Macaroni and cheese and pulled pork sandwiches at Dreamland.

I have seen these most delicious plates of living history, from pulled pork sandwiches with macaroni and cheese to ribs, trigger fish with turnips, coconut cake and peanut butter ice cream using local peanuts. Put simply, food can quickly tell you where you are. And if you want to understand where you are, go back 100 years and you will begin to really understand why that turnip is on your plate next to the boiled greens and chopped pork.

So if preservation has to do with celebrating, revitalizing and educating, than surely this must include realizing that the very foods we pick, eat and enjoy have a long story to tell as well. And like an endangered church, bridge or house, we can easily loose the very food traditions which so subtly but surely defined place and culture.

Yes, there is history to food. Bon appétit.

-- Wendy Ward

Wendy Ward is the director of Preservation Napa Valley, she also has an extensive background in sustainable farming and is the current owner of a micro-farm. She is a participant in this year’s Preservation Leadership Training in Birmingham, Alabama. If you are in Birmingham on Friday, January 17, 2009 please attend the public presentations which will take place at 5:30 at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Birmingham, Alabama. Click here to view the flier. For more information on PLT visit our website.

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.

It's Time to "Vote Up" Preservation

Posted on: January 15th, 2009 by Jason Clement 1 Comment

 

For so many reasons, this past presidential election was like nothing we've ever seen - online that is.

With the candidates YouTube-ing, their advisors Twitter-ing and pretty much everyone Facebook-ing, we had a front-row seat to see politics get a daytime talk show-style makeover. And now that we've picked a president and he's just days away from taking office, we have another avenue for getting involved online.

The YouTube video (see!) above is from Valerie Jarrett, a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Team. In it, she describes an innovative new project on Change.gov, the always-open online office of President-Elect Obama. Called the Citizen's Briefing Book, it's an opportunity for viewers to not only make policy suggestions for the new president, but to see and vote on the ideas of their fellow users. At the end of the project, the topics that are voted the most popular will make their way to Obama's desk in the Oval Office.

All you need to do it visit Change.gov and register - a necessary (yet quick and easy) step in order to participate. Next, search the idea pool for "Historic Preservation." You'll find a variety of topics related to our mission, including this popular entry entitled "Historic Preservation is Sustainability:"

The National Historic Preservation Program is essential for the funding of public and private initiatives to advance sustainability. Financial tools to improve energy efficiency in buildings must include assistance for owners of historic buildings, both residential and commercial, to rehabilitate and upgrade their properties in accordance with historic preservation standards.

Maximizing the contribution of historic preservation to the green economy and sustainability requires a skilled labor force.

Global climate change leads to increasingly devastating natural disasters that require a comprehensive approach to the protection of historic sites and communities.

Infrastructure rehabilitation and improvements are critical to the preservation and sustainability of our historic urban and rural communities.

To this end, expanding resources for the National Historic Preservation Program is critical to providing the infrastructure needed for the stewardship and sustainability of the built environment.

You'll see the rating of each idea once you open them. The goal is to "vote up" ideas like the one above (which is already at over 1,500 and counting) that are related to our preservation goals.

And of course, if you have a spare moment after doing your voting up, consider leaving comments as well (use our policy platform if you need help making the case). This is, after all, a public forum designed to uncover what the people feel are the most pressing issues facing our nation today. It's critical that, when given "open government" opportunities like this, we all act as thought-leaders by demonstrating how preservation is so much more than just standing in front of bulldozers.

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.

My Historic Washington: Clarendon

Posted on: January 15th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Clarendon from the corner of Wilson and Washington Boulevards.

To many, Clarendon might not fit so nicely into that title.

First of all, it’s not in Washington. Secondly, with the amount of development that the entire Ballston–Virginia Square–Clarendon corridor has seen over the past decade, one could easily disregard the historic nature of the buildings and neighborhoods that make up the heart of Arlington. It’s true, Clarendon and the surrounding neighborhoods are young and their short history is one of constant redevelopment. In my opinion, however, it is this youth that gives the neighborhood its distinct flavor and an energy that is easily felt along its boulevards.

While no longer located in the District of Columbia, the area now known as Clarendon (much like Old Town) was once part of Alexandria, the second of two counties divided by Congress to comprise D.C. Due to the growing questions around the slave trade and its future in Washington, Alexandria County petitioned, and in 1846 was retroceded, to Virginia. By 1852, Alexandria the city was incorporated from a portion of the county bearing the same name. So, now you had the city of Alexandria in addition Alexandria County, which was mostly rural. This naturally led to some confusion, as the two were right next to each other, so eventually Alexandria County became Arlington County, taking its name from the National Cemetery located within its boundaries.

For anyone unfamiliar with Northern Virginia, Arlington is still a county, not a city, and is made up of neighborhoods that share the names of their Metro stops. Clarendon’s Metro station is just a short distance from the neighborhood’s original train stop - a trolley car station located at the present intersection of Washington and Clarendon Boulevards. Streetcars came to the area in the late 1900s, and it was around this station and the two lines that converged there that Arlington’s original downtown developed. Department stores sprung up in the 1920s, and businesses began to stretch west into the adjacent neighborhoods of Virginia Square and Ballston.

Today, the large department stores are gone, but the development has not stopped. With the arrival of the Metro in the early 1980’s, a mix of small shops, restaurants and bars began to fill the storefronts along Clarendon and Wilson Boulevards. More recently, development within Arlington has been centered on high-rise offices, apartments and luxury condos. While Clarendon is certainly no exception to this growth, it has maintained the flavor that an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants can add to a neighborhood.

If you walk down Wilson Boulevard during the warmer months, you’re likely to find sidewalk patios, spot cheerful patrons at rooftop bars, or even hear some local live music at one of our neighborhood festival days (Clarendon Day in September is the largest and the neighborhood even holds a pro-am bicycle race in the summer). The energy doesn’t cease when the weather gets cold either. Establishments like O’Sullivan’s (Irish food and sports), Iota (live music) and the Galaxy Hut (Pac Man!) are always fun and can get quite festive on any given night.

People may think of Clarendon as solely a hangout for the younger crowd, but there’s plenty to do for all ages around here - it only feels young. So if you’re visiting Arlington Cemetery for the day, saving some cash by staying at a hotel in Northern Virginia, or just looking for somewhere different to eat and have a good time, try Clarendon; it’s my historic Washington.

- Matt Ringelstetter

Matt Ringelstetter is the web team coordinator for PreservationNation.org. Stay tuned leading up to the inauguration as more National Trust staffers share their stories about the greater D.C. area. Coming to town for the historic event? Be sure to visit our new Preservationist’s Guide to Washington.

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.

New Partners "Make a Lot of Noise and Save a Lot of Buildings"

Posted on: January 15th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Staff from the National Trust Mountains/Plains Regional Office and Montana Preservation Alliance with Big Arm Association Members at the Big Arm School, Big Arm Montana (Photo Courtesy Chere Jiusto)

Staff from the National Trust Mountains/Plains Office and Montana Preservation Alliance with Big Arm Association members at the Big Arm School in Montana (Photo: Chere Jiusto)

Can you hear it? The bustle of visitors to a new historic preservation outreach center, a technical brochure brought to life in Spanish, windows being restored because tradesmen and high school students are learning how, maps being drawn and data being entered about the rich heritage of a rural area, cheers for a plan to save an historic theater -- sounds like preservation to me! Turns out, 31 new field representatives hired by 25 statewide and local organizations through the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners in the Field program sure can make a lot of noise and save a lot of buildings.

That is just what the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust intended when it extended challenge grants to the National Trust’s Statewide and Local Partners. The idea was to put preservation professionals on the ground, in the field, and at the table so that they could expand the reach of our Partner organizations and Regional Offices.

In Montana, that means working collaboratively to save the Big Arms one-room school house on Flathead Lake from the unseemly fate of being used for firefighting practice.

Cresson Area Historical Association members at the Benjamin Franklin Jones Cottage, Cresson Springs Resort in Pennsylvania (Photo: Erin Hammerstedt)

Cresson Area Historical Association members at the Benjamin Franklin Jones Cottage, Cresson Springs Resort, Pennsylvania (Photo: Erin Hammerstedt)

In Los Angeles, it means that Spanish speaking Karina Muniz can work directly with Latino property owners to provide technical assistance. In Northeast Ohio, it means that low-income homeowners learn about and apply for low-interest loans for rehabilitation. And sometimes, it means a shout out for an historic property like this one in Pennsylvania.

We all know that preservation happens one building, one neighborhood, one landscape at a time. In the coming months we’ll bring you lots of preservation stories from the field representatives themselves. In February, we will announce a new crop of field representatives made possible through the second-round of Partners in the Field grants.

Learn more about the Partners in the Field program.

-- Susan West Montgomery

Susan West Montgomery is the associate director for Statewide and Local Partnerships in the Center for Preservation Leadership 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.