President Lincoln's Cottage in Winter, Photo by Jessica King.

President Lincoln's Cottage in Winter, Photo by Jessica King

Lists and Resolutions Abound: Here's 20 things that Place Economics learned about Historic Preservation while blogging on the subject over the past year. [PlaceEconomics]

2008: A Year of Resilience: Historic Sites Weblog looks at the weather-related calamities of the past year and what can be done to prepare for the future. [Nation Trust Historic Sites]

Coastal Engineering in the Netherlands: The situation in the Low-Countries can often be seen as resembling threats that continue to face our own Gulf Coast regions like New Orleans and Galveston. "More than half of the Netherlands sits below sea level, and if a megastorm were to break through these not-so-formidable dunes, the water could inundate Rotterdam and surrounding cities within 24 hours, flooding thousands of square miles, paralyzing the nation's economy, and devastating an area inhabited by more than 2 million people." [Wired]

Is the Dubaian Dream Dead in 2009?: With falling oil prices and an unstable global economy, the Dubai-building boom may be on the way to bust. Tree Hugger has followed the "sometimes 'green'" development in the emirate over the course of 2008. [Tree Hugger]

Fortifications Tour: It may have been canceled for 2009, but it sounded extremely cool. "We will study the architectural responses to conflict; their continuing evolution and adaptation to new technology, tactics and politics; as well as their impact on the national, urban and individual scale in the built environment and landscape..." [BLDGBLOG]

Historic Site Tourism: Tiger Style: In order to help make ancient Buddhist temple tourism more profitable, the town of Guandu has done what any village in time of need would do; turn to the local Shaolin masters. "Guandu officials say they will get no money from the deal, but they hope the Shaolin mystique will pull in the kind of crowds that have turned the flagship monastery, in Henan Province, into one of China’s most popular tourist destinations. Mr. Dou said the government would save the $88,000 once spent on temple maintenance each year. They are also counting on the tax revenue from a vast new mall that is nearing completion next to the temple complex." (Meth and Ghostface could not be reached for comment.) [New York Times: Asia/Pacific]

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.

New Year, New Travels

Posted on: January 2nd, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Beautiful Aiken, South Carolina is just one of 110 historic locations already included in our ongoing list of Distinctive Destinations.

Where will 2009 take you?

If you're looking for an antidote to cultural homogenization, consider visiting a city or town that is listed as one of our Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

Every year for the past decade, we've unveiled a list of places that offer authentic visitor experiences by combining dynamic downtowns, cultural diversity, attractive architecture, cultural landscapes, and strong commitments to historic preservation and revitalization. There are lots of options. In fact, you'll find 110 different locations in 42 states and Puerto Rico that are fun, family friendly and refreshingly original.

The list runs from Aiken, South Carolina to Woodstock, Illinois (sorry, we don't have a "Y" or "Z" named towns, yet). These places are home to great stories about interesting people and events, remarkable historic sites, and memorable places to eat, shop, and stay. What National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe said earlier this year about the 2008 list really applies to all of the sites listed over the past decade: “These communities represent the richness and diversity of America’s cultural heritage, and in preserving their historic fabric and spirit of place are models for other towns and cities.”

So, in thinking about the places you want to go in the new year, be sure to check our list first. And stay tuned because on January 13, your travel options will increase by twelve when we announce our Dozen Distinctive Destinations of 2009.

–Nord Wennerstrom

Nord Wennerstrom is the Director of Communications 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.

Here’s to Our Treasures

Posted on: January 1st, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Something

North Carolina's Cupola House is just one of 40 preservation projects to receive a Save America's Treasure challenge grant (Photo: Cupola House).

Just in time for the holidays, 40 preservation projects across the country will be raising a glass to more than just the New Year – they are among a select group of historic sites and collections that were recently awarded a Save America’s Treasures (SAT) challenge grant. This prestigious national program is providing $10.52 million in preservation and conservation dollars to an impressive and diverse list of nationally significant projects.

While the historic collections of Jamestowne and Valley Forge help tell the beginning chapters of the birth of our nation, two Frank Lloyd Wright buildings – Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL, and the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel in Lakeland, FL – stand testament to one of the preeminent figures in the story of America’s built environment. South Dakota’s Clowser Collection holds rare artifactual remnants of the Northern Plains and other American Indian tribes. In the nation’s capital, the 1910 Howard Theatre remains a cultural landmark of the African-American community and is being restored as the anchor for a larger effort to revitalize a neighborhood once known as “Black Broadway.” Edenton, NC, was an early booming port under British rule and its colonial-era Cupola House is the finest example of Jacobean design south of New England. Meanwhile, out West, the history of Tulsa’s oil boom is reflected in the opulence of its magnificent art deco buildings, and the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture is conserving important architectural drawings, photographs and other artifacts associated with the Art Deco school.

The list of winners goes on and on, but as you can see, these awardees are as varied as the American experience.

... 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.

 

This week is what I refer to annually as the Week of Lists.

From magazines to the Internet, the outgoing year is relived in every imaginable category. In addition to Time's People of the Year, I've read about 2008's highest-grossing movies, most outrageous Hollywood moments (a perennial favorite of mine), biggest YouTube videos, top-earning business tycoons, most memorable campaign gaffes, hottest food trends, most prolific buzzwords (change!) and best television advertisements.

Talk about a whole lot of nothing, huh?

Today, as we make big plans to celebrate an even bigger night, there are residents in Lower Mid-City New Orleans who are making the kind of plans most of us will never be faced with in our lifetimes: where am I going to go if my house gets demolished?

While the fate of this historic neighborhood is still painfully unclear, we wanted to use today to look back at 2008 as a year that saw the residents of Lower Mid-City - and their many advocates from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. - come together to fight for what's fair, right and responsible. So, in between reading about the year's biggest breakups and worst-dressed A-listers, please take a moment to read our special year-end list, What We Would Miss About Lower Mid-City.

Unlike the others, it won't rot your brain, but touch your heart. And when you're done, consider taking a moment to make a difference by telling a friend about our Mid-City website, sending a letter or posting a video on Facebook.

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.

I Say "In With The Old!"

Posted on: December 30th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Delores and I in Tulsa.

Dolores and I visiting a historic site in Tulsa this past October. Both of us resolve to see more of them in 2009.

2009 is right around the corner. As we all make exciting plans to celebrate the new year, I would like everyone to take a moment to really think about the new year. What will it bring to preservation?

I'll admit that I'm not usually one for making resolutions, but one of my hopes for 2009 is that - through my work at the National Trust for Historic Preservation - I can help people better appreciate what's old, inspire them to hang on to what they have, and perhaps even fix it up a little so that it sticks around longer. That's the right thing to do for the environment, for our pocketbooks and for our community. In the go-go economy of the last five years, it seems like anything that was new was all the rage. Well, it's a new era, so I say in with the old!

And, if I can indulge myself, along with polishing the wood floors in my dining room and replacing the aging linoleum in my kitchen, I want to try to see more historic places in 2009. Every time I visit one of our sites or a historic place within our network, I find myself newly inspired to work harder and to save more places.

For instance, this last year I spent several days touring New Orleans and looking at art within the context of historic buildings. What I saw and the stories I heard were powerful reminders of the creativity and the tenacity of the city's residents, both then and now. Another example is my trip to Chicago when we launched our Partners in Preservation program. Our Midwest Office took us on a tour of the prospective grant winners, and I fell in love with the Fountain of Time, the Viking Ship, the Robie House and Unity Temple. The Pui Tak Center taught me about the history of Chinese immigration in Chicago, and our opening event was held in the Stock Exchange Room at the Art Institute, an exquisite space that was saved from demolition.

These places tell a diverse and fascinating story of our irreplaceable heritage, and actually seeing and experiencing them brings them to life in a way that photos can't possibly replicate. When I asked some of my colleagues at the National Trust what resolutions they wanted to share, our Vice President for Membership Dolores McDonagh sent along a similar sentiment:

"My resolution is to take my boys on more 'mystery rides,'" she said. "As a child, my father would announce on random Saturday mornings: 'Who wants to go on a mystery ride?' It was always a crapshoot. You might end up tagging along on a trip to the hardware store to pick up a part for a broken lawnmower, or you might find yourself enjoying a frosty root beer float delivered by a roller skating carhop at A&W. You just never knew. Some of my favorite mystery rides were to historic sites, and in 2009, I resolve to take my own two boys on more of them. Over Thanksgiving this year, I took Ian and Noah to President Lincoln's Cottage in Washington, D.C. I was, of course, proclaimed the 'Wicked Mom of the West' over the injustice of depriving them of another hour of video games. And at one point, I feared they would refuse to get out of the car when they realized that we were at an historic site. But all was forgotten after a great tour. Noah was even overheard saying, 'That was pretty good, Mom. I'd even go again.'"

This past October, Dolores and I were traveling together in Tulsa for the National Trust's annual conference. In between sessions and meetings, we had some time to drive out to nearby Bartlesville to see Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper. It was shorter than I imagined, but incredibly consistent with his legacy. It was not only a highlight of my trip, but something I want to be sure to do more of in the new year.

But enough about me. I want to hear about you. What is your preservation resolution for 2009? Post a comment below and share it with our other PreservationNation readers. Who knows? You might just inspire someone.

–Jan Rothschild

Jan Rothschild is the Vice President for Communications & Marketing 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.