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.

Teaching Preservation (& Diversity)

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by Guest Writer

 

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Notes from the Teacher's Desk

As an educator, you can’t make important classroom decisions in a vacuum.

In Research History, I always try to interject a healthy dose of diversity into my curriculum, but not just because of the rich and invaluable context it adds to my lesson plans. You see, the State of Ohio has the following stats to report when it comes to the demographic make-up of my rural school district:

.7% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2.8% Black/Non-Hispanic, 3.6% Multi-Racial and 91.9% Caucasian/Non-Hispanic.

Because diversity doesn’t necessarily jump out at us from the window of our classroom, I feel like integrating it into our projects is something that I simply must do whenever possible.

That’s why I make the choices that I do. It’s also why I think now – as we leave Black History Month, enter Women’s History Month, and prepare for the many others in line on the calendar – is the perfect time to reflect on the “how” factor.

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A field photo from one of my previous classes.

Since I started my class in 1998, my students and I have work on several hands-on projects (you know that’s my thing) that not only teach important history lessons, but carry equally important messages about people and the human experience. For example, I invite you all to explore the lesson plans that I developed for my most recent partnership with the History Channel and their Take a Vet to School Day program. While the idea is to tell the stories of our country’s African-American soldiers, the lesson can and should be used as a model to tell the stories of women service members and their peers from different ethnic backgrounds.

Over the years, former Research History students have also developed an Emancipation Day website (my students researched and asked the State of Ohio to designate September 22 as our official Emancipation Day), conducted an archeological project at the Gist Settlement, created an online catalogue of the burials of African-American soldiers throughout our state, and learned (and then conveyed in their own words) inspiring stories about the Freedom Fighters.

All of these projects have given my students the opportunity to preserve cultural diversity in our community, even if it’s not always apparent to the naked eye. In the same way, I encourage all teachers to get inspired and to look beyond their classroom windows when penning their own lesson plans.

- Paul LaRue

Paul LaRue teaches Research History at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. The ultimate “hands-on” classroom experience, his course takes students into the field to learn about preservation and community service. Stay tuned this semester as Paul and his students document their project at Good Hope Cemetery here on our blog and on their Flickr photostream. Also, keep an eye out for future “Notes from the Teacher’s Desk” columns from Paul himself.

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.

Facebook Marketplace Offers a New Way to Show Your Support

Posted on: March 12th, 2009 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

Jennifer Coolidge in the dress she is selling to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Jennifer Coolidge in the dress she is selling to support the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Everyone has stuff lying around that they don’t need or want anymore – things that are too good or useful to throw away, but are no longer really needed. For most people, these items eventually make their way into thrift store donation boxes and garage sales. Now, however, they can be sold through the new Facebook Marketplace – with proceeds supporting the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

To kick off this new marketplace, Facebook is launching an initiative called "Celebrities Selling for a Cause,” and we’re a part of it. Actress Jennifer Coolidge is selling a custom made dress she wore when starring as Paulette in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde" and donating the proceeds to benefit the National Trust's "Rebuilding New Orleans" project.

Happily, you don't have to be a celebrity to sell for a cause. Anyone can buy an item or sell one on behalf of the National Trust and all the proceeds will go toward our efforts along the Gulf Coast. I'm not sure what I’m going to buy yet, but I know my colleague Caroline has her eye on the collectible sock puppet up there now. I know I'll be going through my closets when I get home tonight – and I suggest you do the same. Together, we can make a real difference in rebuilding New Orleans.

And, even if you can't buy or sell an item, there are several other ways that you can support the National Trust:

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 Chris Moore

Posted on: March 11th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

Way Outside the Beltway TV is back with Chris Moore. Hear all about his meeting (and witness for yourself exactly how hectic the halls of a congressional building can be…sorry for the bumpy camera work) with a staffer from Representative Jim McDermott’s office.

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.