Ponca City: Where the '20s still Roar

Posted on: June 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

After a wicked rain storm that blew in from the prairie and thinking that maybe just maybe I should pull off the road until I could see, I finally made it out to Ponca City yesterday morning. Once I turned off the turnpike, I ended up on a country road driving through bucolic farmland with the occasional oil derrick pumping lazily in the distance.

Along the way, just before heading into Ponca City I passed what I think is the coolest barn I have ever laid eyes on, but I digress, which when you come to Oklahoma you will see is easy to do. 

stone-barn-ponca-city-ok-9.JPG

Route 177 magically turned into Grand Avenue, taking me right into the heart of downtown Ponca City. Brett Carter and David Keathly are the field session managers and are local preservationists extraordinaire. David has the added distinction of being the Executive Director of the Marland Mansion. Ponca City pulls you in as you drive down Grand Avenue. As the name reveals there are some rather grand homes leading into town along Grand Avenue. Our first stop was City Hall, a Spanish Mission revival building which is still used as City Hall. The art deco high school sits adjacent to City Hall with the library across the street. Brett and David will share the stories about the clear public commitment to preserve public buildings in Ponca City. Grand Avenue serves as Ponca City’s Main Street and is dotted with businesses, restaurants and the Poncan Theater. A gem on the prairie, the Poncan Theater houses one of the largest collections of hand painted lobby art in the country, some of which is featured throughout the theater. The Poncan Theater operates as a cinema, theater and a local church. 

Settled during the Land Run of 1889, Ponca City is definitely a pioneer city. The history and planning of the city are really fascinating and I will elaborate in a later blog about how this city came to be. There is a lot to take in along the way, how Ponca City was established, the neighborhoods Marland was instrumental in creating, the polo fields, lakes, golf course, and of course the stories, from the Native Americans to the oilmen. I will be back with the stories, the intrigue, and that famous mansion. You have heard of the Vanderbilts, the Hearsts, the Rockefellers, and the Kennedys, well prepare yourself for the Marlands. It is better than a "telenovela".

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 the Field: Demolition of the Seneca County Courthouse in Tiffin, Ohio

Posted on: June 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Members of Heritage Ohio gathered at the courthouse in Tiffin, Ohio to tell county commissioners “This Place Matters!”

The Seneca County Courthouse was constructed beginning in 1884 and designed by Detroit architect Elijah E. Myers, who also designed four US state capitol buildings (Idaho, Michigan, Colorado, and Texas). The county spent $214,000 on its construction in 1884, equivalent to $44.6 million in today’s dollars. The elegant structure once featured a massive clock tower, but this was covered in 1940 with a more modern design. The Seneca County Courthouse was vacated in 2003 to allow for renovation. In August 2006, the county commissioners voted to demolish and replace the structure, claiming that renovation costs would far outweigh the price to build a new courthouse, a contention which has been continuously disputed.

The Tiffin Historic Trust, Heritage Ohio, Preservation Ohio, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and other concerned groups and citizens have been contesting the Commissioners’ short-sighted action, but unfortunately demolition is imminent and salvage work has begun. Should demolition take place, it would be the first Ohio county courthouse to be lost in 35 years, and ironically this would come at a time when other counties are investing heavily in these iconic community landmarks.

The courthouse got a reprieve on Tuesday, June 10th, when the Tiffin Design Review Board voted 5-0 to deny a certificate of appropriateness for demolition. A group of preservationists representing the state-wide interest in the issue provided testimony to the review board, and all were delighted that the board decided demolition of the building would cause an adverse effect on the downtown historic district. By no means is the courthouse “saved,” though. The denial of the certificate creates a 90 day review period where the board will meet with the county applicant to discuss possible solutions. In addition to auctioning off the contents the first week of June, the county has already advertised for demolition bids.

To call attention to the plight of the courthouse, Heritage Ohio has organized a “This Place Matters” rally on the Seneca County Courthouse lawn on June 22nd. Participants will let the county commissioners know that “This Place Matters,” following the theme of Preservation Month 2008, not just to Tiffin, but to the entire state of Ohio and across the Midwest. The award winning Courthouse Girls from Farmland Indiana will be offering their support. Please come support us, or contact Heritage Ohio for more information on how you can help.

-- Joyce Barrett and Jennifer Sandy

Joyce Barrett is the executive director of Heritage Ohio and Jennifer Sandy is a program officer in the Midwest 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.

Mansions, Moldings… and Munchies in Maple Ridge

Posted on: June 18th, 2008 by Lori Feinman

 

beth.jpgThe gracious and hardworking residents of the Maple Ridge neighborhood have put an elegant and impressive Candlelight House Tour together. In addition to the gorgeous crown moldings, rich textiles, enviable decor and unique designs that are standard for the Candlelight House Tour, this year the tour will offer a spread of delicious delicacies to fortify you before you set out on your way.

img_3790.jpgThe Harwelden Mansion will serve as the impressive jumping-off point where you may imbibe and nosh before picking up a bus to get to the cluster of oil boom-era mansions that have each been preserved, renovated or rehabilitated with a different approach to preservation.

The Candlelight House Tour is a long time favorite of the National Preservation Conference. Buy a ticket and enjoy one of Tulsa's finest neighborhoods.

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.

Brucemore in Iowa safe from flooding and offering a safe haven

Posted on: June 13th, 2008 by Max van Balgooy

 

BrucemoreThis morning we received an update from Jim Kern, Executive Director of Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Brucemore is soggy but open to the public as a safe haven and a place for quiet reflection for local residents overwhelmed by the massive flooding in their community.

The flood is the worst ever recorded in Cedar Rapids. The summer of 1993 was a landmark year for flooding in the city—the Cedar River was at 19.3 feet and they had 24 inches of rain in the month of June. This time the river is at 31.9 feet and they have had 27 inches of rain in the first 12 days of the month. And this follows the second worst winter on record. The result is unbelievably catastrophic damage.

Brucemore is the only cultural facility in the city that is untouched by the flooding. Jim reports that the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, the tallest building in the Czech village, has water up to its roofline. The African American Museum & Cultural Center across the river and the Science Station and IMAX theater are underwater. The historic Paramount Theater and Iowa Theater, both of which are downtown National Register buildings with working historic organs, are underwater. Collections in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art have been moved to upper levels and appear to be safe, as are the Grant Wood Studio and the history museum.

Jim Kern has been in touch with the Iowa SHPO and he is calling his cultural partners throughout the city to offer help. The National Trust’s substantial experience with flooding in New Orleans and elsewhere will be very helpful in the coming weeks to help property owners understand their options (see the handout, “Saving Your Flood-Damaged Older and Historic Buildings“).

At this point, computer access is generally unavailable and mail delivery has been suspended. All of the city’s bridges except the interstate highway are underwater. Water use is restricted to 25 percent of normal use.

Updated: to provide a newer version of the flood-damaged buildings handout.

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.

 

leed-plaques-1.jpgPatrice and I have been getting calls and emails from around the country asking for help in understanding the draft version of LEED v3 2009 currently out on the street for public comment. We're sorry for not getting this out sooner, but with our crazy schedules it took us a month to sit down with our colleagues at USGBC to review the final draft that went out on May 19th. And NO, you're not going crazy, some of the most significant changes we've reported in this blog do not show up in it, yet. But don't despair, there's a perfectly good reason why and below we will describe in detail what is happening. 

LEED v3 2009 Draft Overview

So, if you have had the opportunity to look at the draft LEED v3 2009 documents, then you've seen some of the changes but may be wanting more. First, we'll give you a briefing on some of the significant changes and then we will describe what you can't see yet but is in the works. (Warning! This is a long and fairly technical posting!) 

 ... 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.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at bcampagna@bcampagna.com.