2009's Dozen Distinctive Destinations

Posted on: January 13th, 2009 by Matt Ringelstetter 1 Comment

 

City Hall, Buffalo, NY

It may be a bit early to start thinking about summer travel plans, but if you like to plan ahead or are just looking for a weekend getaway, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has got you covered. With the announcement of this year's Dozen Distinctive Destinations, it's easy to find an interesting and unique location that's not too far from home.

East Coaster? How about checking out the art and architecture of downtown Buffalo, New York? Or maybe the small-town Moravian flavor of Lititz, Pennsylvania would be more to your liking. There's also the quintessential New England waterfront town of Bristol, Rhode Island situated between New York and Boston.

Out West, the list includes ocean-side Santa Barbara, California, Santa Fe, New Mexico's old-world charm and the Comstock Lode-era mining town of Virginia City, Nevada. Planning a visit to Mount Rushmore? How about checking out Hot Springs, South Dakota--the "Cultural Capital of the Black Hills"--while you're there.

Lake Geneva, WI

The upper Midwest is represented this year by two lakeside destinations that are sure to keep you cool in the summer along with providing unique downtown experiences year-round. The "Art Coast of Michigan" can be found in the neighboring resort towns of Saugatuck-Douglas, an area known for its artistic heritage in addition to its waterfront location. Well-preserved architecture abounds in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin--a longtime vacation spot of nearby Chicagoland and Milwaukee. This small town boasts outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, water-skiing, golfing and of course, lying on the beach.

For those in the Southern United States, this year's list includes a vibrant main street located close to several Tennessee Civil War sites, the classic college town of Athens, Georgia and a city in Texas known for "Cowboys and Culture."

So be sure to check out our Distinctive Destinations for 2009. We're sure you'll find something that appeals to any travel plans--both in interest, and proximity.

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.

Preservation Leadership Training: Birmingham, Alabama

Posted on: January 12th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

“...I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.“

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail
April 16, 1963

This weekend, I and two other staff members of the Center for Preservation Leadership for the National Trust for Historic Preservation welcomed 35 individuals from 16 states to Preservation Leadership Training (PLT) in Birmingham, Alabama. This is my first real visit to Birmingham, and I marveled how I now stood in a place of change, a a place of bravery and a place of critical importance to the history of the United States.

Temple Emanu-El

I think this moment was most poignant along Freedom Walk in Kelly Ingram Park. Two walls close in with vicious snarling dogs inches from my face—representations of the dogs Bull Connor released upon protesters in 1963. A short short walk away two children, defiant proclaim “I ain't afraid of your jail.” Overlooking the park is the 16th Street Baptist Church, a solid structure that has seen so much and watched so many stand for justice and truth in the fight for civil rights.

Highland Methodist Church

This week the participants will experience PLT in this city with its rich historical tapestry. This is most evident in the Five Point's South neighborhood (where PLT is taking place) which has an enormous collection of historical buildings built between 1890s and 1930. Take a look at Temple Emanu-El, by architectural master William Weston, the Highland Methodist Church which holds a prominent place at the confluence of Five Points, the detailing on the LaSalle Apartment building which dates from 1926, or the South Highland Presbyterian Church and its Victorian Gothic architecture.

South Highland Presbyterian Church

In particular I wanted to note that our group, consisting of individuals from Alabama, California, Indiana, Louisiana and more will explore the Prince Hall Grand Lodge-- a masonic temple deep in the heart of the 4th Avenue Historical District, steps away from the 16th Street Baptist Church. This building is a challenge, in scope and use. However, in the spirit of Martin Luther King's “network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” this group is here to embrace Birmingham and produce proposals for a building that played its own role within the Civil Rights Movement.

LaSalle Apartment Building

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.

-Priya Chhaya

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.

My Historic Washington: Takoma

Posted on: January 12th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Our farmers' market, where we shop for fresh produce along side of Fox Man and the Purple People.

Our farmers' market, where we shop for fresh produce along side of Fox Man and the Purple People.

Confession: My husband likes to ride a unicycle, and I have amassed a large collection of strollers on the front porch of our 1913 bungalow. But in Takoma, located at the top of the diamond-shaped Washington, D.C., we’re hardly the most eccentric neighbors on the block.

Takoma - with its vegetarian restaurants, thrift shops, well-tended old houses and streets named for trees - seems far removed from the power corridor of downtown Washington, D.C., but it’s only 15 minutes away by subway.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, Vietnam War protesters settled in the area, painting its houses bright, unconventional colors like orange and lime green. Some of those hippies never left. Visit the farmers’ market on Sunday - which just marked its 25th year - and you’ll see regulars like a bearded man carrying a fox pelt in a trap as a form of protest against animal cruelty. We call him the Fox Man. And then there's the Purple People, a family who wear dark purple robes, live in a purple house and drive a purple Mini Cooper.

There are mainstream people here, too. People like my husband and I, who moved out of a downtown apartment to a house with transom windows and a porch swing. A laid-back, anything-goes spirit trickles down to Takoma’s architecture - Victorian houses without modern additions, bungalows painted day-glo yellow, and yes, a few unicycles and strollers on those front porches.

Everyone is welcome here. For this reason and so many more, historic Takoma is my Washington. If you make your way to D.C. for the inauguration, I invite you to come see a side of the city that is as far from K Street as you can get.

– Margaret Foster

Margaret Foster is the online editor for Preservation magazine. 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.

 

Lake Michigan's Stonehenge: "While there is obviously some doubt as to whether or not that really is a mastodon carved on a rock – let alone if it really was human activity that arranged some of the rocks into a Stonehenge-like circle – it's worth pointing out that Michigan does already have petroglyph sites and even standing stones." [BLDGBLOG]

How Green is My Historic Site?: Ever wonder how can sustainable building practices be applied to the maintenance and upkeep of historic sites? Max van Balgooy has some answers. [National Trust Historic Sites]

Liverpool as Culture Capital: "Liverpool has much in common with Glasgow, the last UK city to be designated a Capital of Culture: its post-industrial decline, its mix of creative, bourgeois and proletarian culture, its history of radicalism and capitalism, and its harsh chippiness. But it is also, like Glasgow, a city of wonderful architecture, long neglected, often isolated and under-appreciated. The architecture of commerce, the docks, the warehouses, the offices and chambers, taken with the city’s unique pair of cathedrals, the delicacy and harmony of the Georgian terraces and the brash confidence of postwar planning, make it one of Britain’s most architecturally compelling and diverse cities." [Financial Times]

Life after Steel in Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh as a model for post-industrial cities. [New York Times]

Give a Lincoln for Lincoln: President Lincoln's Cottage is serving as one of six historic sites that will benefit from the History Channel's campaign. [President Lincoln's Cottage]

Schools and Sustainability: Time Tells looks at the preservation of schools, and how local planning and zoning laws often do not apply. [Time Tells]

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.

My Historic Washington: Capitol Hill

Posted on: January 9th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

When I was looking for someplace to live in DC, I selected Capitol Hill for the most mundane of reasons: it seemed to be the only neighborhood where I could park my car without buying a space. As a twenty-something non-profit worker, the idea of paying nearly the equivalent of my recently-satisfied car loan to board my car seemed ludicrous (not to mention impossible when combined with city-priced rent). Now, nearly ten years later, the car is long since gone, but I've stayed put on the Hill -- and can hardly conceive of living anywhere else.

Eastern Market was the first thing to draw me in, and I fell quickly and permanently in love with it. The 135-year old public market building is the last of its kind in DC still performing its original function, but it is also much more than just a place to shop. In addition to providing a home for independent grocers (selling produce, meats, baked goods, fish, cheese, flowers, and more) a thriving, year-round farm line and flea market brings together locals and tourists alike every weekend -- forming what is, essentially, Capitol Hill's town square. I realize that sounds hokey, but it's true. I can't begin to count the number of times a quick outing to pick up my weekly ration of fresh tomatoes has spun out into a full day of browsing the vendors, chatting over coffee, and catching up on what's new.

I'm also wildly enthusiastic about my local hardware store, Frager's. It's a little like shopping in my grandfather's basement -- full of wood and tools, to be sure, but also full of every random tidbit that life requires, stored with a mysterious logic that makes every aisle and turn of the corner an opportunity for serendipitous discovery. Despite a rabbit warren-like layout, every person who works there can almost instantly locate virtually anything, and advise authoritatively on its use, just like grandpa. On the rare occasions I go outside my neighborhood to meet my home improvement needs and end up in a big-box hardware store, I tend to wander the broad aisles aimlessly, overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it all.

And then there's the food. I love to eat, and over the years I've lived there, the options on the Hill have expanded, seemingly exponentially. The two commercial strips that anchored the Hill when I arrived -- Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol and Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station have been joined by the now-vibrant Barracks Row Main Street, and grittier upstart areas on H Street and the far end of Pennsylvania Avenue. I can head to an ultra-homey dive for a half-smoke (DC's local improvement on the hot dog) and a beer served in a mason jar, hit a hole in the wall with mussels so delicious that they beat Bobby Flay's on his "Throwdown" program, or head to an upscale wine bar (or two) for tastings and tapas. It's a good thing, really, that my car has gone by the wayside... I need to walk a lot to keep all of the deliciousness from sticking.

These are just a few of the reasons Capitol Hill is my Washington. If you happen to make it to DC for the inauguration -- or any other time -- I invite you to stop by, whether it's for a quick bite to eat, to hang out at the Market, or to waltz the aisles of a hardware store.

My colleague Jason Clement, who shared his love of Brookland earlier this week, stopped by my 'hood over the holidays and took some photos. He's a better photographer than I am, so I'll leave you with his impressions.

-- Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the content manager and online editor for PreservationNation.org. Stay tuned over the weeks leading up to the inauguration as more National Trust staffers share their stories about the greater DC 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.