It’s Rally Cap Time for Tiger Stadium

Posted on: July 11th, 2008 by Matt Ringelstetter


Tiger StadiumWednesday marked a sad day for a two-time member of the National Trust’s List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Although demolition began in June, the most significant damage to Detroit’s Tiger Stadium began this week to the park that legends like Ty Cobb, Willie Horton, and Hank Greenberg once called home field. The stadium opened in 1912 and owed its unique design to the corner location on Michigan Avenue and Trumball Boulevard. In addition to its corner design, Tiger Stadium featured a signature 125 foot tall flagpole to the left of center field and an upper deck that overhung right field by ten feet.

The Stadium has played host to some of the most fabled moments of America’s sport, such as Babe Ruth’s 700th home run in 1934, the voluntary end of Lou Gehrig’s 2,130 consecutive game streak, and what is considered to be the longest confirmed home run in the history of the game—a shot by Ruth that traveled close to 600 feet on the fly.

Is there any hope for the ballpark? Or will it meet the same demise as Ebbetts, Comiskey, and Forbes? The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a Corktown based non-profit, is trying to prevent just that, and is raising money to help save part of the historic stadium for use as a banquet hall, museum and office space. Time is running out, but the efforts of the Conservancy and others are in the right direction, and need all the help they can get.

Read Preservation Magazine's February article on "Detroit's Field of Dreams."

Hearts Break as Tiger Stadium Falls [Detroit News]

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.

Restoring New Orleans: National Trust Volunteers

Posted on: July 11th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


I recently had the pleasure of accompanying twenty-five friends of the National Trust to New Orleans where we spent one week volunteering through the Rebuilding Together New Orleans program. We worked on the interior of a house in the Hollygrove neighborhood, the exterior of a house in the St. Roch neighborhood and finished up the week organizing the salvage materials at RTNO's warehouse. The warehouse stores architectural details such as doors, windows, brackets, columns, etc. from demolished homes for resale. The RTNO keeps the price as minimal as possible - just enough to meet their warehouse operating expenses. The one rule they have is that the materials must be used in New Orleans. It's a way to recycle the local materials that would otherwise be lost.

The National Trust volunteer group really made a difference in New Orleans and everyone returned with a personally rewarding experience. Jessica Anderson, from Dallas, TX, described her time with the group:

"Having never been there before my trip with the National Trust, I must say that New Orleans is one of the most charming cities you can visit. While talking with locals during the week, I feel as though we may never truly know all the benefits the city will reap from the good work our team put forth during the week—it is obvious that the city of New Orleans will be continuously aided by the creativity, innovation and energy put forth by our group's members. I am grateful to the Trust for providing inspiring leaders who encouraged us throughout the week, regardless of how warm the New Orleans summer "breezes" may have been.

The tour of the historic section of the city introduced us to the beauty and calm that is quintessentially New Orleans. The old fashioned St. Charles Streetcar was wonderful, cruising along through town toward museums, the zoo, galleries, and, of course, the local watering holes – where the delightful mint juleps were enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Since returning home from the trip, I find myself not only reminiscing about the camaraderie that takes place while making midnight trips with new friends to Café du Monde for café au lait and beignets, but also the genuine Southern hospitality and charm – our trip proved to me that New Orleans literally has something for everyone, from the demure to the risqué!"

by Rachel Russell

Statewide and Local Partnerships

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.

Oklahoma's capital, Guthrie. Or, not.

Posted on: July 3rd, 2008 by Lori Feinman


img_2305.jpgYou've heard the story of the movement of the US Capital from Philadelphia to the humid, swampy, cow town of Washington. But that was all about the federal government being independent of the states, being able to secure itself, yadda yadda, yawn. The much more interesting and positively scandalous story is that of the move of the Oklahoma state capital from Guthrie to Oklahoma City. Hear that, and all of a sudden the incredible Victorian building stock in this town makes perfect sense. As does the pride and hard work that the residents of Guthrie have put into preserving the character of the town. On the Guthrie field session, you will join native Charles Scott on a walking tour of the town, hearing historical tidbits related to the buildings as well as learning about the tools that Gutherians (did I just make up a word?) use to maintain and support their NHL district. Outside of Guthrie, the tour visits what really must be one the of the most unusual adaptive use properties in the country- a former Masonic Children's home from the depression era, reused as a combination office, home, and event space, each function succeeding wonderfully. Lunch will be served here before the in-depth tour, the details of which I will keep to myself - you'll have to attend to hear about it all. A full day in Guthrie is surprising and inspiring, like all of this part of Oklahoma.

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.

"I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane": Final Thoughts on PLT 2008

Posted on: July 3rd, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


It has been a few days since we had to leave cool (and apparently unseasonably rainy) Portland, Maine to return to the humidity that is Washington in the summer, but the thirty-four participants of this year’s Preservation Leadership Training left with a lot more baggage (the good kind, of course). As Robin from Maryland said, “We're back home and all suffering from withdrawal! New friends, a great educational experience, a fabulous city!”

Let’s see what they took home with them:

Preservation Leadership Training Suitcase

  1. One massive ten-pound notebook filled with written resources ranging from fundraising tips to economics of historic preservation.
  2. A pocketful of Don Rypkema’s money (good questions everyone!).
  3. Tools for reenergizing their preservation work in states across the country.
  4. Maybe a little less sleep….
  5. And new network of 34 people from across the country that they can talk to on a regular basis.

The Team Project—The Baxter Building

At the dedication ceremony for the Baxter Public Library on February 21, 1889 James Phinney Baxter said: “I have reared a structure of wood and stone. You are to build character.” At the team project presentations this past Friday the five teams attempted to do just that. Each team made proposals ranging from a culinary school to mix use development for art and architecture, a retail arts incubator project, a center for preservation studies and folk arts, and finally the new home for two special collections which would effectively return the Baxter Building to its original use as a library.

These ideas fermented after early morning interviews, late nights and lots and lots of coffee. Additionally, each team pulled from personal experiences and lectures to come up with the five very unique presentations. In the end these projects will help the building’s developer to come up with a preservation friendly plan for the building that is compatible with the Portland community and mindset. As the blue team, quoting Judge Symonds at the dedication in 1889, stated at the start of their presentation, “What is the common possession of all must be preserved in the interest of all.“

Last Words

PLT Group

Hopefully this group of newly minted Preservation Leadership Training alumni will take the knowledge and experiences gained from this past week and use it in their various capacities in the historic preservation field. As Judy from New York stated:

I did not know how much I learned until after I came home from PLT. While describing the week to a friend, the amount of material and the practical experience we had with our group project suddenly dawned on me. The curriculum and project worked so well independently and together to make a great training experience”

Thanks for making this week a success! I know I took away a lot of information on preservation programs across the country all while enjoying the wide variety of food that Portland has to offer.

For more information on Preservation Leadership Training visit and
Quotations from the Baxter Buildings 1889 dedication ceremony are from the Special Collections at the Portland Public Library.

Photographs by Alison Hinchman, NTHP

Priya Chhaya

Center for Preservation Leadership

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.

Notes from New Orleans: St. Francis de Sales Church

Posted on: July 3rd, 2008 by Walter Gallas


St. Francis de Sales Church, exteriorAt the request of some of its parishioners, I visited St. Francis de Sales Church in Central City recently. This 1870 wood frame church in Central City with a plain exterior and elegantly simple interior is scheduled for closing by the New Orleans Archdiocese. Despite of this threat, the members were seeking advice on repairing the structure, and on resources the National Trust for Historic Preservation could offer.

A locally designated landmark, the church was placed on the Louisiana Landmarks Society's "New Orleans Nine" list this year to call attention to its endangered status. St. Francis de Sales Church, interiorThis is one of 33 Catholic churches in New Orleans which are scheduled for closure and incorporation into other neighboring parishes. The archdiocese says some closures are due to the loss of 20 percent of the Catholic population post-Katrina. A shortage of priests adds to the problem. Some local congregations, taking their cue from resistance efforts in Boston, are contemplating day and night occupation of their churches to prevent being locked out.

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 Homes of the Wild West

Posted on: July 2nd, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


Catherine Montogomery, architect with the Oklahoma Historical Society, has put together a glimpse into life on the prairie. The first stop of the day is in Hominy, Oklahoma home of the Drummond home.

Built in 1905 it is one of the few Victorian homes built on the prairie. Built by Frederick Drummond in 1905 this is one of the few remaining, intact Victorian homes on the prairie. Drummond was Scottish and trained with the Osage in Pawhuska where he met his wife, Addie Gantner. Shortly after marrying Addie they moved to hominy where Drummond had a 1/4 share in the Hominy Trading Co. He was a man of many trades - he started the Drummond Cattle Co. and served as mayor of Hominy as well. Remarkably the home was left intact and after the last relative passed away in the 70s the property was transferred to the OK Historical Society. They have taken great pains to maintain this property. Beverly, Director of the Drummond home, will take you on a journey through the life and times of the Drummond family.

After winding our way through rural Oklahoma we found ourselves in Pawhuska, gateway to the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve. Originally the Barnard-Chapman Ranch, the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve is owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma. (As a side note Ben Johnson's dad was the ranch manager. Johnson was known to return to the ranch annually. At times he brought John Wayne with him. It is reported that Wayne tried to buy the ranch, but could never entice Barnard and Chapman to sell) There are a number of original buildings that still remain and are primarily used for continued ranch operations. There is a bunkhouse that has been updated and is used for trustee and development functions, but really it isn't about the remaining buildings. The best part is the drive through the prairie. This is a feast for the senses. The color, life, and sounds of the wildlife are astounding. Harvey Payne, Executive Director of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, shared a wealth of information about how the preserve was created and how it is managed and maintained. According to Harvey the prairie was originally a forest of spruce and jack pine. However, over the course of many generations of burning - probably three times a year - the prairie was created. Harvey calls it a "human induced landscape". The three burns took place during the spring and late summer - most likely lightening strikes and occassionally some Native American burning. In the fall and mid-October Native Americans set the fires for a controlled burn.  Given these changes to the landscape this is extremely fertile land. A head of cattle can gain up to 4 pounds a day grazing on the prairie. This takesme to what I think is the most remarkable sight. We had an opportunity to see the buffalo - not up close and personal, but close enough for this city girl (I still have a healthy respect for my larger than life fellow creatures) Anyway, I could have easily been enticed to "stay and set a while", watch the buffalo, the birds and the horizon forever. However time stands still for no one and after a while we were off to our next stop,  Pawnee Bill's Ranch.

Pawnee Bill, was so named by the Pawnee Indians with which he lived and worked. In his early years he worked as a teacher with the Pawnee. In 1883 Pawnee Bill created his wild west show. Not only was he was the creator, he was also the business mind behind "Pawnee Bill's Historic Wild West ~ America's National Entertainment!" It was a very diverse family affair - his wife Mae was a main character in the show for practically the entire run of the show. He also included Sioux, Pawnee, Russians, Cossacks, an Aborigini, and African-Americans to name a few. In its heyday the show required 52 rail cars, would spend one day in a town, do the show and then pack up and head on to the next destination.

The ranch was originally 2,000 acres - the OKHS has been able to retain 500 acres. There are a number of buildings, including a museum which explains the Wild West Shows history, but really the piece de resistance is Pawnee Bill's home. Built in 1910, and designed by James Hamilton out of Philadelphia, the home took a year to build. The home has 14 rooms and has an interesting mix of local and exotic materials.

The day is a great prairie adventure, a unique blend of building preservation and cultural landscapes. This is a must see session!

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.