Main Street Stimulus – Myth or Reality?

Posted on: April 21st, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

The National Trust Main Street Center has been leading a movement to revitalize America’s traditional and historic downtowns – our Main Streets – since 1980. But our concept of Main Street, a bustling central business district that is the heart of a community, is not necessarily the Main Street policy makers and pundits are referring to when they talk about economic recovery.

As Doug Loescher, director of the Center says in a recent online article:

Last November, for example, the U.S. Conference of Mayors endorsed the "Main Street Stimulus," a series of "shovel-ready" projects that would put people back to work, while rebuilding our infrastructure. Many of those ideas made it into the final stimulus package, approved by Congress and President Obama last month. And as recently as last week, Main Street coordinators in our network have been peppered with questions about the stimulus, and what it means for them.

First things first… the much-talked about "Main Street Stimulus" as endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors is in no way connected with the National Trust Main Street Center, the Main Street program, or our network. Moreover, most of the "shovel-ready" projects will not take place on – or even near – a Main Street.

But this, of course, is not the whole story. To learn more, check out Doug’s Main Street News story of the week.

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 Threats to the Minidoka National Historic Site

Posted on: April 20th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Elaine Stiles

Entrance to Minidoka, 1944.

Entrance to Minidoka, 1944.

The Minidoka National Historic Site (NHS) in Jerome County, Idaho is a place with a hard past, and for the past few years, a pretty challenging present, too. Now a National Park unit, Minidoka was one of ten relocation centers for persons of Japanese descent during World War II. The National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the Minidoka NHS as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2007 because of threats posed to the site by construction of a 13,000 head factory dairy farm less than a mile away. The farm has the potential to ruin the visitor experience at Minidoka, flooding it with foul odors, dust, and pests. After a long local permitting process and subsequent lawsuit, the county granted the permit to construct the farm, though no building has begun. Late last year, the National Trust, a consortium of advocates for the historic site, and local property owners filed a lawsuit to stop construction of the farming operation on procedural and constitutional grounds.

Now the Minidoka NHS faces a new potential threat. A portion of a planned 500-mile, 500 kilovolt electric transmission line between Idaho and Nevada is proposed to traverse or run less than one quarter of a mile away from the NHS. Conceived of more than 20 years ago, the Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) was granted a right-of-way through what is now the Minidoka NHS by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. (The BLM managed the land that is now the NHS before the designation.) The independent power company pursuing the SWIP is also considering alternatives to the existing right-of-way, some of which would place the power line a short distance outside the main entrance of the NHS. These massive power lines would greatly impact the integrity of the historic site and potentially affect interpretive planning.

The Minidoka NHS is a fledgling National Park unit. The site is still awaiting funding to realize the interpretive plans the Park Service and its partners, including former internees and their families, crafted after its designation in 2001. Minidoka has much to teach us about the story of Japanese Americans in our country, the American homefront during World War II, and perhaps most importantly, the history of civil liberties and human rights in the U.S. Recently, Congress recognized this importance by authorizing the Park Service to expand the bounds of the NHS to include adjacent resources and partially funding a national grant program to interpret, protect, and restore Japanese American confinement sites nationwide. Much work remains to be done, however, to protect Minidoka and its story against the ill effects of industrial agriculture and our ever-growing energy needs.

Learn More:

Elaine Stiles is a Program Officer in the Western 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.

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.

 

Desert Preservation and Vonnegutian Landscape Construction: An architectural Association student in London has proposed the construction of a 6,000 km long sandstone wall to help curtail future spread of the Sahara. The project won first prize at the Holcim Foundation's Awards for Sustainable Construction, due to the proposed use of an "microorganism readily available in marshes and wetlands, that solidifies loose sand into sandstone." [BLDGBLOG]

What Made the Windy City Work?: The city plan of Chicago proposed by Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett is one hundred years old. Urbanophile takes a look at what made the Burnham Plan and the integrated series of projects it called for a success. [Urbanophile]

Montpelier Asks: What is Provenance?: "You may have heard the term if you have visited a museum, watched “Antiques Roadshow” or “History Detectives”, or collect antiques. A good definition for “provenance” is, “a history of who owned an object”. As you can imagine, at Montpelier, we are very interested in objects that were previously owned by James and Dolley Madison; one way to describe these pieces is to say that they had “Madison provenance”." [Montpelier Restoration and Curatorial Blog]

Realize Hudson Rise: Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Kirsten Dunst and other NYC celebs are organizing a grassroots campaign to protect a lower Manhattan neighborhood and its parks. [RealizeHudsonRise]

RIY to Replace DIY: The "Reuse it Yourself" movement is here to revolutionize the "Do it Yourself" method when it comes to construction and the use of building materials. [WorldChanging]

Development at Nationals Park: The Nat's record isn't the only thing slumping these days in the SE corner of the city. If you took in a game at National's Park this week, (and based on what the stands looked like on television, you didn't) you probably saw that for the second straight year, the much-hyped advertisements for development within the area hide nothing but construction holes and stalled progress. "Baseball stadium backers promised a lively entertainment district when the D.C. government poured nearly $700 million into building Nationals Park: a hub of bustling shops, restaurants, hotels, condos and office tower to draw patrons year-round." It doesn't appear that will be happening any time soon. [Washington Post]

UNC-Greensboro's Quad Development: "...Advocates for historic buildings would hope that a design solution involving an architectural recreation not be followed. If the Quad is destroyed for new housing, they reason, the campus would be better served to include buildings of this era instead of those that reflect architectural tastes of the early twentieth century." [Greensboro's Treasured Places]

Linking Place and Space...from space: Pentagram Architects "was asked to mark the points of arrival in Newark and to address the history and culture of the city in the urban landscape." And how to do this? With Google Earth, of course. [Pentagram Blog]

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.

Historic Theatre, New Act

Posted on: April 17th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Erica Stewart

Our friends at the CenterStage Foundation have been keeping us informed of a fabulous project underway to create a new identify for a venerable historic theatre. The Richmond (Virginia) CenterStage project rehabs the Carpenter Theatre, a once-grand movie house, and integrates it into a brand new performing arts complex next door.  Built in 1928 as the Loew's Theatre, the Carpenter had an elegant interior and a dark brick exterior ornamented with sculpted terra cotta and limestone. Like many downtown theatres, it could not survive the demographic shift to the suburbs and the Carpenter was shuttered in 1979.

The  rehab returns the theatre to grandeur and beyond, expanding its stage size, improving acoustics and updating amenities and public spaces to create a more inviting environment for performers and patrons alike. This will create a top-notch venue for symphonies, dance troupes, Broadway shows and concerts from near and far.

The $25 million will be financed in part by a $12 million federal historic and New Markets Tax Credit equity investment by the National Trust Community Investment Corporation, the for profit subsidiary of the National Trust.

Once the Richmond CenterStage project is completed, the Carpenter will complement the 80,000 square-foot Dorothy Pauley Square that will contain three venues, including an intimate setting for small nonprofit theater groups, educational workspaces and a visual arts gallery.

Without further ado, let's take a look:

At the rear of the Orchestra level in the Carpenter Theatre, the ceiling restoration is nearly complete.

At the rear of the Orchestra level in the Carpenter Theatre, the ceiling restoration is nearly complete.

Work to re-rake the mezzanine and balconies to provide better sight lines as well as accessible seating is well underway, as seen from peering between newly restored ight fixtures at the house-right sky loft.

Work to re-rake the mezzanine and balconies to provide better sight lines as well as accessible seating is well underway, as seen from peering between newly restored ight fixtures at the house-right sky loft.

... Read 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.

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.

Teaching Preservation: The People of Potters Field

Posted on: April 17th, 2009 by Guest Writer 1 Comment

 

I love a good mystery.

Something

Making a list and checking it twice! My Research History classmates hard at work recording names on gravestones in Good Hope Cemetery.

It’s a passion that, through my school’s 4-H program, has kept me knee-deep in old records for a two-year genealogy project. The result? I’ve learned to root through census records (among many other sources) to collect information and piece together stories. Along the way, I’ve tracked down members of my own family dating back to the early 1600's.

Needless to say, I was quite excited when Mr. LaRue asked me to research the people who were laid to rest in the elusive Potters Field section of Good Hope Cemetery.

With a list of gravestone names recorded by my classmates in hand, I headed to my first stop in the research process – our local library. I pulled the 1880 census information and searched for all of the names I was given. I also worked my way through microfilm for each. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find all the names, but I was able to gather some interesting information on three families – the Martins, the Galloways and the Lyles.

Something

One of many mysterious gravestone remnants uncovered in the Potters Field section of Good Hope.

The first family I found, the Martins, was a large African-American family. James Martin, 70, was the leader of the household, and it was noted that he made a living as a local farmer. He was born in Kentucky and eventually moved to Fayette County. According to the census record, there was no wife living in the household at the time. James had one son, Scott, who was 24 and also a farmer. He also had four daughters: Mary, 17; Ella, 15; Dileina, age unknown; and another with an unknown name and age. Dileina was listed as “keeping house.”

The Galloways were the exact opposite of the Martins. Listed as Caucasian, their family was very small. Joseph Galloway, 27, was the only male in the household, and his occupation was noted as laborer. He was born in Pennsylvania and married to Amy Galloway, 26. Amy was listed as “keeping house.” She was born in Ohio. At the time of the census, Joseph and Amy were the only two people in their household.

Lastly, the Lyles had a four-person household consisting of a father, a mother and two daughters. The father, 26, was a farm laborer, and his wife, 24, was the keeper of the house. Their daughters were very young at the time of the recording; Alice Lyle was 2 and Emma Lyle was barely 1.

After finding all of this interesting information in the 1880 census, I decided to expand my search to other years. I started looking in records from 1870 and the early 1900's. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get my hands on the 1890 census because it was destroyed in a fire many, many years ago. I was able to find a family in the 1900 records that I believe to be the Lyles. I’m not 100% sure, but I have some reasonable facts to suggest that it is. For instance, the information from 1900 is exactly 20 years apart from my original 1880 source, and all of the ages noted reflect that same difference. Also, in the 1900 census, they have a daughter who is 16 years of age. This makes sense because she would have missed the 1800 records by four years.

At the end of the day, I wish I could have crossed a few more names off of my original list, but that’s how research goes. However, I hope the information I uncovered will be a good jumping off point for future curious minds.

And the mystery of Potters Field continues...

- Bryan R.

Bryan R. is a senior at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. For the remainder of this semester, he'll be working with his Research History classmates on a variety of preservation projects, including documenting and preserving local cemeteries like Good Hope. Stay tuned as they share their experiences here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream.

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.