Coming to you live from Oklahoma this is Oklahoma City!

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

 

To be perfectly honest I really wasn’t sure what to expect for this marathon field session heading to Oklahoma City. I knew of the rivalry between Tulsa and OK City, and that OK City is the state capital but not much else. Farin and I headed out early one morning (after stopping at Topéca for our road-trip coffee –- make sure you don’t miss this fantastic local coffeehouse).

It is a two-hour drive to Oklahoma City from Tulsa. And what a gorgeous drive it is! Now, I have driven through rural landscapes before, but what strikes me as unique and oddly beautiful are the oil derricks lazily pumping oil -- many of them were just off the interstate.

A painting by Sandzen that captures the blues of the Oklahoma sky.

A painting by Birger Sandzen that captures the blues of the Oklahoma sky.

I have been told that Montana and the Dakotas are big sky country and since I have never been to any of those places I don’t have a comparison -– but to me Oklahoma would rank as one of the top when it comes to big sky country. The sky seems to go on forever. This was particularly evident during our drive back to Tulsa. I kept thinking that I needed to pull over and try to snap a few shots of the sky. However, I have learned that my memory is far better than any picture I could take, so I quickly talked myself out of stopping -– besides we were on I-44 and I wasn’t too keen about pulling off the highway onto the shoulder. What I will share is a painting by Birger Sandzen. For those of you going to Ponca City with Ponca City: Where the 20s Still Roar field session, you might have an opportunity to see this painting in the Public Library. Somehow Sandzen captures the colors we saw in the afternoon sky that day.

So back to Oklahoma City -- Dr. Bob Blackburn and his fabulous team were our guides for the day. Dr. Blackburn will be leading two of the three field sessions heading out to Oklahoma City. For those of you in the know Dr. Blackburn is the featured speaker in Tuesday’s Special Lecture.

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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.

Notes from New Orleans: Proposed Civil Rights Museum Burns

Posted on: October 2nd, 2008 by Walter Gallas

 

Fire damage to the vacant public school in Central City.

Fire damage to the vacant public school in Central City.

In mid-September, a fire damaged a vacant public school on O.C. Haley Blvd. in Central City, one of the four urban Main Streets in New Orleans. Early declarations by Fire Department investigators paint the building as unsalvageable, but all the data isn’t in.

The building had been planned as the locale for a state-sponsored civil rights museum for years. The building dates to 1910 and has been most recently known as Mrytle Banks School, for a long-time Central City educator. With its ties to the early civil rights movement in the South, O.C. Haley, named for a local activist was the center to a thriving African-American shopping district in the days of segregation. Boycotts of the white-owned stores on the strip by its black customers lead to early reforms.

State Senator Cheryl Gray says the plans for a civil rights museum at the site will move forward with or without the school structure which has been vacant since 1994.

Fire damage to the vacant public school in Central City.

Fire damage to the vacant public school in Central City.

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.

A "Prairie Cathedral" is Barn Again in Oklahoma

Posted on: October 1st, 2008 by Guest Writer

 

The famous rock barn of North-Central Oklahoma.

The famous rock barn of North-Central Oklahoma.

North-central Oklahoma is not particularly known for rock structures, although a few dot the downtown districts of the area. So rock barns are even less common, and when they grow to massive proportions - well, there's just one!

A few years ago, though, there were just about none.

Along highway 177, that splits the prairie in two from Stillwater to Chilocco Indian School, there are two structures that can be seen for miles. The OG&E Power plant and the 'rock barn'.

At first sight, usually from the exit of the interstate south of the barn, you can tell it is big. But, the distance makes it impossible to really make out its real size. You keep driving and glancing towards it as you travel north, and realize that you aren't quite to it yet, and it looks bigger and bigger the closer you get. When you finally approach it, you start to doubt yourself; it really doesn’t look that big after all. But that is because you are still not right in front of it, staring upwards at the peak of the gambrel roof, which seems to be as high as the clouds.

A landmark like that, standing against the wind and storms of the prairie, is something that everyone in the area knows about. In Ponca City, 20 miles away more or less, a conversation goes like this: "Well, some Colorado investors what to tear down that old rock barn, you know, on the highway to Stillwater"... "THAT one?".... "Yeah, they think that the rafters and stone might be valuable to build some of those fancy mountain 'cabins'"..... "they can't do that!"

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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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

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.