Way Outside the Beltway TV: Exit Interview with Mary Rossi

Posted on: March 10th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

 

Literally minutes after the door swung open from her first Hill meeting ever (and she was also the lead!), I snagged Mary Rossi for a quick one-on-one next to one of the only sources of natural light that we could find.

Stay tuned today and tomorrow as I post more 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.

Segregated African-American Housing in Wisconsin Now Rent-to-Own

Posted on: March 10th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Fairbanks Flats, Beloit, Wisconsin

In Beloit, Wisconsin, Fairbanks Flats are a rare example of segregated company housing, the only known community housing built exclusively for black workers in the state still standing. The Wisconsin Field Office and Midwest Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation worked with local advocates, the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office, and the city of Beloit to first discourage the demolition of Fairbanks Flats and then encourage its successful rehabilitation.

The Beloit city council voted to tear down the properties in 2001 and the Midwest Office and its partners responded, including involvement of the Legal Department of the National Trust. This public pressure and a change in a new city manager allowed local advocates to propose feasible future uses of the property. Public pressure primarily included local advocates speaking at public meetings on the subject and local letters to the editor, also some regional interest, specifically those involved with the historically black Chicago area Bronzeville also lending their support and importance of African American history and preservation.

One local advocate, Wanda Sloan, was a Diversity Scholarship Program winner and attended the National Preservation Conference in 2004. She was able to network with other communities nationwide specific to African-American and industrial history and found their examples of adaptive use as excellent models. After many proposed development scenarios the Flats are being developed by Gorman and Company as affordable housing. The groundbreaking ceremony has taken place, open houses continue on the housing units, and Fairbanks Flats will be filled with residents once again. Gorman & Company is currently renting these units.

A successful project that engaged a local diverse population in preserving heritage, saved a historic place, and further found incentives for an adaptive reuse. The Wisconsin Field Office is pleased to remain involved with these great efforts.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fairbanks Flats is used by the Wisconsin Historical Society in their education materials for classrooms across the state and is also a popular project for National History Day students.

--Trent Margrif

Trent Margrif is the director of the Wisconsin Field 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.

 

From left to right, Suzy Staffer, Sherry SHPO, Preservation Pete and Connie Constituent.

And Suzy Staffer and Congressman Stuffington, too.

No, I haven't gone crazy and these aren't my imaginary friends. They're all characters from an advocacy 101 skit that I had the privilege of taking in yesterday as the training portion of Preservation Lobby Day 2009 kicked off in grand style. Today, I'll be following Team Way Outside the Beltwayers as they complete an all-day, twelve-meeting marathon on what will be my first real trip to Capitol Hill. Here are just some of the notes I scribbled down as I tried to figure out what to expect:

  • Wear comfy shoes, as some of the buildings on Capitol Hill are far apart and downright cavernous by design.
  • Be a big time early bird. Remember that you'll have to be screened by security in every building you enter, and those lines can be up to 20-30 minutes long sometimes. Also, build in time to get lost. The office numbers/locations are unpredictable at best, especially for first-timers.
  • Because many Hill staffers are fresh out of their college poly sci classes, you might find yourself in a meeting with someone who looks like they aren't a day over 21. It's not a bad thing, especially if it puts you in the role of educator. Just be mentally prepared for what can be an initial curveball.
  • Do your homework. Things to pay close attention to are voting records, congressional committee memberships and personal interests. If you forget or don't have time, ask a few quick questions while all the hands are still shaking.
  • Don't expect that you'll get a full hour. In truth, fifteen or so minutes is average (and sufficient if you play your cards right).
  • For staffers, if you're wavering between first name only and Mr. or Ms. X, just ask. It's totally okay to do so.

    ... 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.

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.

Ready, Set, Lobby!

Posted on: March 9th, 2009 by Jason Clement

 

One-sheeters and leave-behinds? Check. Perfected elevator speech? Check. Shoes that can be slipped on and off quickly when passing through security? Check. Unwavering passion for all things preservation? Duh!

Preservation Lobby Day 2009 is here, and my time with the Washington State delegation (which from this point forward will only be referred to by their adopted nickname, Team Way Outside the Beltwayers) got off to an action-packed start today during our advocacy training (and veritable lobbying pep rally). Hopefully you saw last week's post announcing that we'll be following them from meeting to meeting during their time here in D.C. If not, check it out and then head over to PreservationNation.org to meet the entire team.

The marathon (and that's not just a figure of speech; I'm told there is often some running involved) of meetings starts tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM, and we'll be live from Capitol Hill until about 5:30.

So, check out the pictures above and stay tuned as we hit the Hill!

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.

Teaching Preservation: The Truth About Sixth Period

Posted on: March 9th, 2009 by Guest Writer

 

Something

The Good Hope Quilt

As we get deeper and deeper into the semester, there’s really something you should know about us.

When we talk about Research History, we’re not talking about a normal class that meets at the same time every day. (Come on, you should know by now that there’s really nothing normal about Research History.) The truth is, we’re actually spread out over multiple periods throughout the day.

For me, sixth period is Research History, and I fondly remember my first day because it’s when I discovered that I would be a class of one. Seriously. All of my classmates who you’ve met here on our blog are all signed up for different periods, so I literally have the classroom to myself. To say the least, it was an environment that I wasn’t used to; most classes have more than one student, allowing you to ride the coattails of those around you (not that I would ever do anything like that, of course). And though I have lots of room to spread out, I wasn’t sure if flying solo was going to be a good thing in the long run.

I started the semester out by listening to a transcript of one of the first Vietnam veterans who we interviewed for the Veterans History Project. It was during this first project that I quickly realized what makes Research History tick. The first-hand accounts of history are so rich and interesting that it makes us students really enjoy what we're doing and learning about.

I have to say, no textbook has ever caught my attention like the stories of the men and women who served our country on foreign soil. The transcribing that I’ve done so far has taught me more about Vietnam than I ever thought I’d know. The raw emotion of the soldiers, the logistics of some of the campaigns, all the names and places…things that would require pages and pages of reading to pick up on, I got in an hour of listening to a cassette tape. It’s pretty mind blowing when you stop and think about it.

For my second project of the semester, I was paired up with Shannon (a classmate from a different period). We were tasked with writing an article on the Good Hope Quilt, which was auctioned off after being made by the women of Good Hope during the final years of World War I. Ultimately purchased by a Civil War veteran, the quilt was signed by 180 people in our area. Just a few days ago, I completed the article, which includes quotes from the oral history of one of the family members of the original purchaser of the quilt.

At the end of the day though, one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned in sixth period is how to stay organized and manage my time. (You kind of have to when all eyes are on you!) From being in a class of 25 to a class of just one, I’ve really realized (and started to better appreciate) my ability to hold my own.

Good luck finding that in any textbook.

- Dennis A.

Dennis A. is a senior at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. This semester, he’ll be working with his Research History classmates to document and preserve Good Hope Cemetery. 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.