Preservation + Direct Democracy = San Francisco's Prop J

Posted on: October 1st, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

No doubt some of you live in states that still embrace old-fashioned notions of representative democracy: you know, that’s where citizens elect officials to represent their interests when making public policy decisions. Then there are the rest of us. We live in states, mostly in the West, where we figure, hey, why not cut out the middleman and legislate ourselves?

Before I venture too far afield (I feel a rant coming on), allow me to state for the record, loud and clear: “People of San Francisco, vote ‘Yes’ on J!” More on that below.

Funny thing: direct democracy turns out to be pretty hard work. Take San Francisco, where I live. In 2004 -- we tend to get especially animated about propositions in presidential election years -- California voters were asked to consider 17 measures. The California Official Voter Information Guide ran 168 pages (so much for our carbon emission goals). As if that wasn’t enough paper to chew through, that year there was also a Supplemental Voter Information Guide for two measures that were placed on the ballot too late for the regular Voter Information Guide (that was pretty slim volume -- just 24 pages).

That’s just the state. San Franciscans voted on an additional 28 measures. The City of San Francisco’s Official VoterPamphlet,” weighed in at 196 pages (pity the postal person). Nothing like tucking into 388 pages of electoral prose before pulling the metaphorical lever.

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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.

Hurricane Ike – Galveston Slideshow

Posted on: September 30th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

For updates on Galveston and the damage caused by Hurricane Ike, visit out web page for reports from the city, audio clips, press releases and information on what you can do to help.

Slideshow compiled by Hannah Smith, Statewide and Local Partners, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Photos by Weez Doherty and Robert Mihovil

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.

Not Your Typical Architecture Patron

Posted on: September 29th, 2008 by Dolores McDonagh 1 Comment

 

Living room of the Pope-Leighey House, a National Trust Historic Site. Photo by Ron Blunt.

Living room of the Pope-Leighey House, a National Trust Historic Site. Photo by Ron Blunt.

I know as VP of Membership for the National Trust for Historic Preservation I shouldn't have favorites among our historic sites.  And I love them all for different reasons.  But I can't help but have a major soft spot in my heart for the Pope-Leighey House on the grounds of Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, Virginia.  That's why the obits took me back a little this weekend when I read that Loren Pope had passed away, the man who commissioned the Usonian jewel of a house the National Trust for Historic Preservation rescued in the 1960s when it was slated to be demolished for Interstate 66 through suburban Virginia.

Now many of us think of Frank Lloyd Wright homes as iconic, groundbreaking, beautiful.  But rarely are they ever thought of as "affordable."  But that's just what Loren Pope's home was -- part of FFLW's vision for "Usonian" architecture -- utopian housing for the "common man."  I've heard Mr. Pope tell his story about how as a young DC journalist he wrote FFLW and asked him to design him a home within his modest budget.  And how, rather than scoff at him, Wright accepted the challenge and answered "Of course I am ready to give you a house."  (Of course it came in over budget, but it was still a bargain.)

I've always loved the Pope-Leighey House -- the way it sits in nature, the way you immediately feel welcome and embraced when you enter this modest home.  And I've often thought it said volumes about Frank Lloyd Wright.  But until today, I never really thought much about what it said about Loren Pope.  The next time I visit, I will think about Loren Pope and what he taught us through his bold act to commission this masterpiece.

Don't be afraid to be bold.  Don't be afraid to ask for what you want -- you might just get it.  Patronize the arts -- you don't have to pay a zillion dollars to bring beauty into your life.  And don't let anyone tell you to settle for less because you are looking for "affordable" housing.  We ALL deserve homes, neighborhoods and communities that enrich our lives, even if we're not Wall Street magnates with golden parachutes.

Thanks, Mr. Pope.

I'll leave the obituary to the Washington Post, but I will pass along that you can learn how to visit the Pope-Leighey House (the only FFLW home open to the public in the DC metro area, and yes (National Trust for Historic Preservation Members DO get free admission) by visiting our Pope-Leighey site on PreservationNation.

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.

 

Victorian England's Mobile Homes: Hurricanes are no joke when it comes to their destructive power. Here at the National Trust, we've been all over the current season, and are still very active in Gulf Coast relief efforts due to Katrina's wrath over three years ago. What if, instead of watching your beach house wash away into the ocean, you simply drove it away to higher ground? Landscape architecture blog Pruned uses an example from Victorian prudishness to highlight the possibilities. [Pruned]

Hollywood and Period Landscapes: Major studios love incorporating dramatic, sweeping landscapes into their films, and the use of such backgrounds is both popular and helpful when highlighting specific historic periods and scenes. Architecture and environment blog a456 examines the "visual language used to depict the natural and built environments of the 19th and 20th century." [a456]

Reuse, or "Contained Use" in Historic Buildings: In response to Cathleen McGuigan's recent Newsweek article, "The Bad News About Green Architecture," Laura Keeney Zavala from the Landmark Society of Western New York points out an important issue that McGuigan overlooked--adaptive re-use and preservation. [Confessions of a Preservationist]

Green Modernism in La Defense: International firm Valode and Pistre have completed a design for the Generali tower, a huge new office building in the Paris business district making a name for itself in sustainable architecture in addition to economic prosperity. [Inhabitat]

Frank Lloyd Wright On, Well Pretty Much Everything: In a 1957 interview with Mike Wallace (and plenty of cigarette smoke), the famed architect covered organized religion, war, mercy killing, art, critics, his mile-high skyscraper, America's youth, sex, morality, politics, nature, and death. [The Harry Ransom Center: UT-Austin]

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.

Partners in Preservation Project in Chicago Area Unveiled

Posted on: September 25th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Earlier this month I attended the first annual "Taste of Spring Grove" event at the Spring Grove Fish Hatchery, one of the 2007 Partners in Preservation grant recipients. The building looks fantastic, and it is incredible how much interest the Partners in Preservation project has generated in Spring Grove and the surrounding communities!

The PIP funding has done exactly what it was supposed to do -- galvanize the local groups and leverage additional funding and support from other sources. A huge turnout at the event indicated that the public is very interested in the Fish Hatchery. My conversations with Village officials showed that they have very ambitious plans in the upcoming year: complete the interior restoration and restore large portions of the grounds; place the entire site on the National Register and locally landmark it; make the "Taste of Spring Grove" and annual fundraiser for the Fish Hatchery; and start other public programming at the site including a farmers market and arts program. I could not be more pleased with what they have done and what they plan to do.

The Partners in Preservation grant money has completely transformed this site and this small town.

-- Christina Morris

Christina Morris is a program officer in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Midwest Office

Partners in Preservation funding helped the Village of Spring Grove install new windows in several locations. Many of the original wood windows were placed in the 1990s with new units that were inappropriate. The new windows, such as those seen on the north side of the Fish Hatchery, were designed to match the original double hung windows.

Partners in Preservation funding helped the Village of Spring Grove install new windows in several locations. Many of the original wood windows were placed in the 1990s with new units that were inappropriate. The new windows, such as those seen on the north side of the Fish Hatchery, were designed to match the original double hung windows.

... 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.