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.

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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.

Ike in Indiana

Posted on: September 24th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

The Sullivan House, in Madision, Ind., was damaged by Hurricane Ike.

The Sullivan House, in Madision, Ind., was damaged by Hurricane Ike. (Credit: Historic Madison, Inc.)

Hurricane Ike hit Galveston, Texas with full force, and even its remnants had an impact on the Midwest. By the time Ike reached Madison, Indiana, it was only a tropical depression, but downed trees smashed many buildings in the city’s vast historic district, which includes 1,600 buildings in 133 blocks. And, like Galveston, this week Madison is still trying to pick up the pieces.

“Things are starting to reopen,” says John Staicer, executive director of Historic Madison, Inc., formed in 1960. Seven of the group’s 16 properties were damaged in the September 14 storm, but Historic Madison will reopen two of its house museums this week.

Incorporated in 1809, Madison is known for its intact downtown, which was designated a National Historic Landmark—the country’s highest honor—two years ago.

Named a Dozen Distinctive Destination in 2001, this Indiana town wrote the book on heritage tourism. During Madison’s down-and-out days, residents restored rather than demolished old buildings. “By the early 1900s Madison, because of its beauty and charm, was starting to attract tourists, and people started restoring,” Staicer says.

More on this story from Preservation magazine.

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.

 

923 St. Maurice, before.

923 St. Maurice, before.

On Friday, September 5, the mayor, invoking his emergency powers, issued an executive order suspending demolition review by the Neighborhood Conservation District Committee (NCDC), the body designed to keep an eye on properties in National Register and older neighborhoods outside of the local historic districts. The committee's normally-scheduled meeting the previous Monday had been scuttled by the city's mandatory evacuation due to Hurricane Gustav. The mayor's action triggered a flurry of activity within the Department of Safety and Permits, which began to write demolition permits at an accelerated pace for the next two weeks. By 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 19 (when the mayor's executive order was rescinded), about 200 permits had been written.

At least 18 properties under the jurisdiction of the NCDC were demolished this past week, including an especially tragic one at 923-25 St. Maurice Street, just outside the boundaries of the local Holy Cross historic district. The property had been cited as an imminent health threat and was on the agenda of the September meeting of the NCDC, which was canceled due to the mayor’s order. I went to City Hall Wednesday morning and talked to a staff member of Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis in whose district the house is located, urging the staff member to relay to the councilwoman that the house was not in imminent danger of collapse and could be saved.

923 St. Maurice, after.

923 St. Maurice, after.

Later that day, Willard-Lewis scolded the preservation community at the City Council recovery committee meeting, while commending the city inspectors for making their decisions "based on science, not on emotions." The house was demolished. It turns out that the city assessor’s office had not properly updated the ownership records for the St. Maurice house, so all attempts to reach the owner were too late to save the building. The wife of the couple owning the house had lost her job with the public school district after Katrina, we learned when the owner finally was reached — but most heart-breaking, was the fact that the couple had just received their Road Home money to repair the house. Had Willard-Lewis stepped in and stopped the demolition, the house — and the family — would have had a whole different story. Had there been a public hearing on the proposed demolition, the likelihood of the correct owner being identified would also have increased.

The incompetence of code enforcement throughout the city continued to be recorded by the local media this past week. In one story, a woman who had evacuated the city for hurricane Gustav returned to find her home in New Orleans East demolished. In another case, the city’s code enforcement department cited and fined the owner of an occupied commercial building in New Orleans East for blight and threatened demolition. See the two links below for details:

http://www.wdsu.com/news/17501325/detail.html

http://www.wwltv.com/local/stories/wwl091808mlcrowder.8d14595f.html

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 of the Unknowns Update: Sen. Akaka's Official Statement

Posted on: September 23rd, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is grateful to Senator Jim Webb and Senator Daniel K. Akaka for their continued strong support for preservation of the authentic Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

We are pleased to report that on September 16, 2008, Senator Akaka, chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, issued a statement regarding the recent report by the Department of the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs entitled Report on Alternative Measures to Address Cracks in the Monument at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

In his statement, Senator Akaka observed: “While I understand the concerns about the cracks in the Tomb Monument, I along with many others believe that our national monuments are not diminished by signs of their age. Many of our most treasured American symbols, from the Liberty Bell to the Star-Spangled Banner, are physically worn and weathered. This does not diminish their value or significance. I would argue that the same is true for the Tomb of the Unknowns.”

Although Senator Akaka acknowledged that some may call for replacement of the historic monument in the future, he also stated: “It is our nation's tradition to preserve our historic national symbols. We must protect them from the notion that they can be easily discarded or replaced. … I urge the [Department of the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs], in their respective capacities, to pursue the best means of preserving the Tomb Monument for future generations of veterans and Americans.”

Click here for Senator Akaka’s full statement.

-– Robert Nieweg

Robert 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.

 

The Presidential Campaign of 1864: It's hard to escape the political ads and punditry of this election season, but what was it like for presidential campaigns of the nineteenth century? Lincoln's last summer spent at his presidential cottage in northwest DC was an election year, and he used his time there to rest as well as to mobilize his campaign. [President Lincoln's Cottage]

The Other Side of "Green Architecture": Wait, not everyone is excited over the green architecture trend? Cathleen McGuigan discusses the trendiness in constructing green buildings and how the hype often detracts from building truly sustainable structures. [Newsweek]

Are Historic Sites prepared for Disasters?: With the current hurricane season in full force, it's important to keep in mind that historic homes and sites are also affected by rising water, wind and debris. Max van Balgooy takes a look at disaster planning for historic sites. [National Trust Historic Sites Weblog]

Galveston Today: Confessions of a Preservationist collected a few images from the aftermath of hurricane Ike in the city of Galveston. [Confessions of a Preservationist]

Chinatown--The Next Lower East Side?: Development in New York's Chinatown has some crying "gentrification," and fearing an ensuing hipster invasion. Others see the neighborhood's potential for smart growth and new types of business as a way to cater to the next generation. [Time Out New York]

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.