There May Be Hope to Save the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Posted on: September 21st, 2007 by presnation

 

Written by Warren Shaver

We are very pleased to report that Senator Daniel Akaka and Senator Jim Webb have submitted Senate Amendment No. 2995 to the Defense Authorization Bill that may help save the historic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

If it is enacted, Senate Amendment 2995 would stop the rush to discard the authentic monument and, instead, require a thorough re-consideration of repairing the monument’s cosmetic cracks. Here is the full text of the Akaka-Webb amendment:

SEC. 1044. REPORT ON PLANS TO REPLACE THE MONUMENT AT THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, VIRGINIA.

(a) Report Required.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall jointly submit to Congress a report setting forth the following:

(1) The current plans of the Secretaries with respect to --

(A) replacing the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia; and

(B) disposing of the current monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns, if it were removed and replaced.

(2) An assessment of the feasibility and advisability of repairing the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns rather than replacing it.

(3) A description of the current efforts of the Secretaries to maintain and preserve the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(4) An explanation of why no attempt has been made since 1989 to repair the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(5) A comprehensive estimate of the cost of replacement of the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns and the cost of repairing such monument.

(6) An assessment of the structural integrity of the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(b) Limitation on Action.--The Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not take any action to replace the monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, until 180 days after the date of the receipt by Congress of the report required by subsection (a).

(c) Exception.--The limitation in subsection (b) shall not prevent the Secretary of the Army or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from repairing the current monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns or from acquiring any blocks of marble for uses related to such monument, subject to the availability of appropriations for that purposes.

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.

Back to School for Green Preservationists

Posted on: September 21st, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Walk into any super-mart today, and you'll find a "green" option for every item on your list, from energy-efficient light bulbs to seeded stationary to Low-E windows. Green is on everyone's mind these days. As green building and historic preservation overlap, university students across the country are forging new majors that reflect the times, which could mean revolutionary changes for both fields.

"The first day of class, out of the 11 people who introduced themselves, I think five people identified sustainability as a reason why they chose to go into historic preservation," says Jennifer Flathman, who is pursuing her master's degree in historic preservation at the University of Oregon in Portland.

"Students, because of their age and generation, are very much in tune with these issues [the connection between green building and preservation]," says Ken Guzowski, former professor of historic preservation at the University of Oregon and the current senior planner for the city of Eugene.... 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.

Betting on Saratoga's Future

Posted on: September 20th, 2007 by Preservation magazine

 

Saratoga Springs FoundationThe racehorses may be finished for the season at Saratoga Race Course, but the ordeal regarding the future of the famous racetrack is far from over.

The Saratoga Race Course, which opened in the city of Saratoga Springs in 1863, is the oldest organized sporting venue in the United States, and track attendance and profits increase each season. Will its good fortune last?

Although the state owns the buildings and tracks, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) currently owns the franchise to run thoroughbred racing at Saratoga Race Course. Because that contract ends in December, many wonder what will happen to the 350-acre racing complex. With talk of possible renovation and modernization, Saratoga residents fear the racecourse is in danger of losing its historical charm.

For the past two years, an extensive proposal and bidding process has gone on between NYRA and other contenders in anticipation of NYRA's soon-to-expire contract, and after reviewing all proposals, Gov. Spitzer decided to recommend that NYRA receive the franchise for the next 30 years. The final decision, expected in December, is in the hands of state legislators, who must determine whether to take the governor's recommendation or choose a different company.

Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation Supervisor Joanne Yepsen thinks the state and its legislators should consider residents during the decision-making process, as the upcoming year could mean big changes.

"We don't want to see the relationship between the residents and NYRA deteriorate due to lack of zoning or planning. There needs to be a partnership, as opposed to the residents just taking what they can get."

- Jeesoo Park

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.

Tomb Remains Threatened

Posted on: September 20th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 5 Comments

 

Truman at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Harry S. Truman Library & Museum)The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier remains at serious risk and, unfortunately, the Army is rushing to finalize its agreement to replace the historic monument by September 30th.

On September 13th, however, we understand that staff to the Senate Armed Services Committee met with Mary Oehrlein, a preservation expert and author of the Cemetery’s 1990 study of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument.

Ms. Oehrlein told congressional staffers:

  • “Although there is separation in the stone along the naturally occurring fault lines of the stone … i.e. the cracks ... the monument is in no danger of falling apart and poses no danger to the public or cemetery personnel. A very significant external force, similar to an earthquake, would be required to cause the stone to slide apart.”
  • “The existing monument can easily be repaired, as was done 17 years ago, using conventional conservation methods to re-grout the cracks. Once repaired, the fault lines would be virtually invisible from the public viewing areas.”
  • “There is no way to stop the deterioration of the surface of the existing stone or any newly quarried and carved piece of stone, unless it is placed out of the weather in a controlled environment.”
  • “The idea that a new piece of stone can be quarried that will not contain faults is unrealistic. The chance of quarrying three flawless pieces of stone is zero. It really is a question of how quickly the faults will appear when the replacement stone is quarried, carved or as the stone weathers.”

Contributed by Robert Nieweg, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Southern Field Office.

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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 20th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

Going 'green' in Glens Falls – The Saratogian. Barton Mines Co. unveiled its new corporate headquarters Wednesday, that combines environmentally trend-setting design with historic preservation.

EPA Adds Seven Sites and Proposes 12 Sites to the Superfund List -- EPA Press Release. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is adding seven new hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the list for investigation and clean-up. The list, known as National Priorities List (NPL), sets priorities under the federal Superfund program that addresses complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

China’s Policy of Returning Farmland to Forests Must Be Upheld -ENN. China is witnessing a dangerous trend. The country’s policy of returning farmland to forests is faltering, and many areas are opting out of this activity in a push to protect local farmers. They are recklessly expanding farmlands that should have been replaced with forests under the policy, or they have simply allowed farmers to continue cultivating steep hillsides.

CO2 emissions could violate EPA ocean-quality standards within decades - ENN. In a commentary in the September 25, 2007, issue of the Geophysical Research Letters (GRL), a large team of scientists state that human-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will alter ocean chemistry to the point where it will violate U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Quality Criteria [1976] by mid-century if emissions are not dramatically curtailed now.

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.

Miss. Says No to Condos on Natchez Bluff

Posted on: September 19th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

Natchez, Miss.The town of Natchez, Miss., is on shaky ground. Its historic district was built on a water-soluble bluff, and over the years, sinkholes have devoured entire streets.

For the last two years, the town has been debating a five-building condominium complex on the site of a 1946 pecan factory, which town officials tore down last year to clear for a private developer.

Last week, however, a state body put its foot down and denied developer Worley-Brown a construction permit. Citing safety reasons, on Sept. 6 the board of trustees of the state's department of archives and history voted unanimously against the permit.

"In the final analysis, I think it came down to the uncertainty of the site and whether the load of the new construction would endanger that landmark [Natchez Bluff] property," says former Mississippi Gov. William Winter, chairman of the board.... 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.