Notes from the Field: Preservation & Redevelopment of Historic Fort Monroe

Posted on: April 29th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Fort Monroe is scheduled to close in 2011. (Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park)Fort Monroe is an early 19th century stone fortress with moat located on Hampton Roads at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The 570-acre military post has served the nation as a coastal defense work and artillery school, and is active today as the home of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Fort Monroe played a key role in hastening the end of slavery, as the first refuge for escaped “Contraband” slaves. Like Mount Vernon and Monticello, Fort Monroe is a one of our country’s 2,500 designated National Historic Landmarks.

In 2011, the Army will vacate Fort Monroe, pursuant to the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Fort Monroe will automatically revert to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Since 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been intensively engaged in advocacy and historic preservation planning for Fort Monroe. The National Trust has participated as a member of the City of Hampton’s master plan steering committee and the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority’s historic preservation advisory group. We also participate as a consulting party to the Section 106 review process pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, which is ably led by the Army and Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and many others are working now to envision a bright future for Fort Monroe and to explore the most effective historic preservation strategies for the benefit of the public. To that end, the National Trust has joined with four statewide and national preservation organizations to express our shared perspective on the future of Fort Monroe. Our shared position is described in an April 18, 2008 letter to the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority from the National Trust, APVA – Preservation Virginia, Civil War Preservation Trust, and National Parks Conservation Association.

There is an active debate about the preservation of Fort Monroe. We welcome your comments on our shared letter and the future of Fort Monroe.

-- Rob Nieweg

Rob Nieweg is the 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.

Notes from New Orleans: Upholding Traditions

Posted on: April 28th, 2008 by Walter Gallas 1 Comment

 

Mardi Gras Indians probably best represent the complexity of New Orleans culture, a tradition with Native American and African roots that flourishes in a city which more often looks to the Carribean than to North America and Europe for its creative inspiration. A few of the Mardi Gras Indians paraded a few Sundays ago, from Bayou St. John down Orleans to Claiborne Avenue by the Lafitte housing development. Their Uptown counterparts paraded last month in the vicinity of the C. J. Peete housing development. The Indian suits are vibrant works of art, made of complex beadwork and feathers which in bright sunlight are almost blinding in their brilliance.

Mardi Gras Indians

The tradition is said to harken back to the 19th century, when African Americans began costuming as Indians as a way to honor the Indians who had provided shelter to run-away slaves. The powerful influence of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show could also have had a part.

The day proved that the city is alive and well when it comes to upholding some of its most strongly entrenched traditions.

Mardi Gras Indians

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.

Video: Nine Mile Canyon at Risk

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

 

Learn more -- and take action -- at www.preservationnation.org/nine-mile-canyon.

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: Sandbags & Missed Opportunity

Posted on: April 25th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

 

sandbagsAs the waters of the Mississippi rose to their expected crest in New Orleans, I passed some workers of the New Orleans Levee Board this weekend putting sandbags along a stretch of the French Quarter riverfront where that water was lapping away at exposed earth. About 30 miles upriver, millions of gallons of river water are being diverted to Lake Pontchartrain through the Bonne Carre Spillway in an effort to keep the volume of water passing New Orleans at a desired 1.25 million cubic feet per second.

sandbagsIt was noted in the press how a golden opportunity is being missed to use all the diverted sediment now coursing through the Bonne Carre spillway into Lake Pontchartrain and passing the city to be dumped in the Gulf of Mexico. Years of talk about water diversion plans to re-build the wetlands have resulted in very little implementation due to lags in funding.

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.

Celebrate Earth Day With Some New Resources

Posted on: April 20th, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 1 Comment

 

Cover of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Earth Day is Tuesday, April 22nd, this year and we should all stop and think about what we’re doing in our daily lives to help stop climate change. Maybe it’s just synchronicity, but it seems that since Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received the Nobel Peace Prize, mainstream media has finally embraced what environmentalists, scientists and yes, preservationists, have known for a long time – that climate change is being caused by our actions. No longer does every article present the opposing view as potentially valid - that climate change has not been caused or impacted by human actions. I walked into Barnes & Noble the other day and the “green” table was more prominently placed at the entrance than either the new fiction or nonfiction tables, and had more books on it too. I have begun making a practice of collecting every “green issue” of every magazine, and saving any article I see. And with this new validity, journals and magazines are assigning their best and most seasoned writers to the green articles. I also re-read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring on a recent cross-continental flight. A paperback re-issue was prominently displayed in a Denver airport book shop encouraging both me and the customer ahead of me to buy it. Below is my very subjective view of some good journalism on the topic I’ve recently read in no particular order, all of which got me thinking about how to make my life greener.

Time Magazine, April 28, 2008
3rd Annual “Special Environment Issue”

With a cover where they’ve replaced their trademark red border with a green one, and reinterpreted the famous Iwo Cover of Time magazine, April 28,2008Jima raising of the flag photo with an image of soldiers raising a tree, Time boldly describes their view of “How To Win the War on Global Warming”. This magazine (and Michael Specter’s article in The New Yorker) has the best description of cap and trade I have read. I am no economist, but after reading both Time and The New Yorker I feel I can now explain why this concept is crucial to improving our world. The entire issue can be downloaded. In addition, the online issue has some interesting links including the top 15 green websites to help you green your life. This section alone kept me busy with websites I hadn’t yet seen for an entire afternoon. Even if the articles in this issue weren’t so good, it would be worth it just for these links.

The New Yorker, February 25, 2008
“Big Foot” by Michael Specter

I’ve been a fan of Michael Specter’s journalism for quite some time, and I have to say that I am in love with this article.Big Foot photo by Horacio Salinas in Feb. 25, 2008 New Yorker article I quote it profusely in every speech I give and if you only have time to read one of the articles or magazines I mention here, read this one. Best description of the challenges of life cycle analysis that I have read anywhere. And his description of cap and trade was the first I had read which made it easy for me to understand. My favorite quote is “Possessing an excessive carbon footprint is rapidly becoming the modern equivalent of wearing a scarlet letter.” And “Personal choices cannot do enough, no matter how virtuous. It will also take laws and money. It will take political will.”

Vanity Fair Magazine, May 2008
Third Annual Green Issue

Okay, so I haven’t quite figured out why Madonna is on the cover of the “Green Issue” but since both she and I are closer now to 50 than 40, and if it sells more magazines, then more power to them (and her!). Robert Kennedy’s essay, “The Next President’s First Task, A Manifesto” compares the end of the slave trade to tackling the end of global warming. It’s not complicated, it just requires political will. Two articles about oil in the Arctic confirm the urgency of Kennedy’s call for the federal development of renewable energies. This entire issue can also be downloaded.  And like Time’s green issue, there is a special online-only section, this one on the 50 best green resources – books, DVDs and even poetry. Don’t miss the “Eco-Man’s Library”!

National Geographic’s Green Guide Magazine, The Inaugural Issue, March 2008

According to their website this new magazine is “Written for general consumers, not for enviromaniacs, Green Guide is chock-full of simple, useful ideas, broken down into achievable steps that make "going green" a gradual and affordable process rather than an all-or-nothing plunge.” And like Sunset magazine below, it has some of the easiest to follow recommendations for every-day living. I particularly liked the articles on greener cosmetics and toxic chemicals in your house. I have already been referring to the toxic chemicals article to improve the housekeeping standards at our historic sites. While you can view the magazine cover online, you need to subscribe to get full access to all the articles.

Sunset Magazine, The Green Issue, March 2008 (Northwest edition)

Of my recommendations today, this is the most populist, but with recommendations for green travel, best Preservation magazine cover, The “Green” Issueseafood choice, and best green furnishings that are readily found (such as at Crate & Barrel), this may be the magazine I pick up most often in my non-architecture life. And find out why Portland, OR is consistently ranked the top green city in the country.

Preservation Magazine, The Green Issue, January-February 2008

And don't forget our very own "Green Issue".  You can download all of it online. Read why historic preservation and existing buildings are key to improving climate change.

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.