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Paul Robeson spent the last decade of his life in this West Philadelphia house after retiring from his show business career.

Scholar, athlete, singer, actor, civil rights activist. Paul Robeson, born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1898, was a man who played many roles throughout his long life, gaining fame and recognition for his deep baritone voice and passionate acting in film and on stage. As a young man, he was only the third African-American student ever admitted to Rutgers University, earning a full academic scholarship and All-American recognition for his prowess on the football field. Later, his stage roles included Othello, both on Broadway and in a Royal Shakespeare Company production, and he starred in films like “The Emperor Jones,” “Proud Valley” and “Jericho.”

Robeson's strong support of anti-lynching legislation and stance against McCarthyism, as well as his affiliation with Communism, got him blacklisted in the 1950s. His career stalled after his passport was revoked and he could no longer travel abroad, and he spent the last decade of his life living with his sister and her husband in a modest house in West Philadelphia. He passed away in 1976, at the age of 77.

Thanks to the work of one woman, that house is now a vibrant community arts center. Frances Aulston has been working with the West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, which owns and operates the house, since 1984. In recognition of her decades of service to the community and work with the Paul Robeson House, Aulston was recently honored by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. I spoke with her about her passion for Paul Robeson's house and legacy, and the neighborhood that he called home.... 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.

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn

Katherine Flynn is an assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.

Heart Bombs 2015: Love Letters to Historic Places, Part 1

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 by Julia Rocchi 7 Comments

 

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Awbury Arboretum in Philadelphia signed, sealed, and delivered its heart bombs.

Posters. Ribbons. Markers. Stickers. Crayons. Balloons. Props. Digital art. No matter the medium, one message came through loud and clear this past month: America loves its historic places!

After we put out the call for heart bombs earlier this February (and shared what our historic sites did for Valentine's Day), submissions poured in from around the country, professing deep admiration and affection for every type of place imaginable, from lofty mansions to forgotten bungalows. No building was too humble, no state too crumbling, for devoted citizens to support. As photo after photo showed smiling faces and decorated spots, Heart Bombs 2015 confirmed what we at the National Trust have long known -- that love is the most powerful weapon for saving places.

Now we'd like to share some of these heartwarming heart bombs with all of you. Check out these love letters from coast to coast, and stay tuned for Part 2 next week!... 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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the director of digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

Historic Real Estate: Dutch Style Edition

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 by Jamesha Gibson 1 Comment

 

The Marquis de Lafayette established his headquarters in the Samuel Van Saun House during the Revolutionary War.
The Marquis de Lafayette established his headquarters in the Samuel Van Saun House during the Revolutionary War.

The Samuel Van Saun House -- Wayne, New Jersey

In 1780 the Marquis de Lafayette established his headquarters in the house of Samuel Van Saun in what is now Wayne, New Jersey. Van Saun built this Dutch Style house in the Preakness Valley near the Singac Brook 11 years before Lafayette’s fateful visit. Today, the Samuel Van Saun house not only sustains its significance as a New Jersey Historical Landmark, but it also retains its original Dutch-Style architecture, all while offering modern conveniences. The house has a media room, five bedrooms -- including a master bedroom suite with walk in closets and “his” and “hers” master bathrooms -- and a spacious basement addition also constructed in Dutch Style. Price: $1,999,999... 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.

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.

[Historic Bars] San Francisco’s Vesuvio Cafe

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by Lauren Walser

 

In our next round of historic bars, let's sidestep reality and look at those establishments reflected in some way through the lens of pop culture. Next up: Vesuvio Café in San Francisco.

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Vesuvio Café was founded in 1948.

Writer Henry Miller once wrote to Jack Kerouac, saying that he enjoyed The Dharma Bums and would like to meet the younger author in person. Kerouac agreed, and they arranged to meet one night in 1960 in Big Sur, along California’s central coast.

But the night of the meeting, Kerouac never made it out of San Francisco. Instead, he spent his evening at Vesuvio Café.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.

Visiting Tinner Hill: Local History, National Significance

Posted on: February 25th, 2015 by Stephanie Meeks

 


Check out Stephanie's remarks at 12:38.

As president of the National Trust, I visit historic sites all over the country quite often -- that is my job! But recently, I had the chance to attend a special event right next to my home: the official opening of the Tinner Hill Historic Site in Falls Church, Virginia. There, a century ago, Falls Church residents stood up for civil rights and social justice. It was so welcome and inspiring to see my own community working to save the local places that matter, and that tell the full story of our area.... 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.

Stephanie Meeks

Stephanie K. Meeks

Stephanie K. Meeks is president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

For weeks you’ve driven awareness for your preservation issue with contact calling parties, Instagram tours of historic sites, and video interviews with supporters. Now, the finish line is nearing. You want to shift into high gear and make one last push to get the word out. Why not host a honk and wave?

The idea is simple enough. Find a busy thoroughfare, attract as much attention as you can, and display your issue. But there are always ways to fine tune the engine. Here are six tips that will help you put the pedal to the metal with your honk and wave event.... 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.

David Weible

David Weible

David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.