A panel discussion called “At Risk: 20th Century Urban Design and Architecture” drew at least 150 people to the Ogden Museum of Southern Art this past week. Panel moderator was New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussof. Also participating were Ferrell Guillory, director of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina and a former New Orleans States-Item reporter; Sally Hernandez-Pinero, former chairwoman of the New York City Housing Authority; New Orleans architects Arthur Q. Davis and Ray Manning; and Jack Davis of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The discussion ranged from the threats to Charity Hospital and city school buildings to the loss of St. Frances Cabrini Church, but finally settled primarily on a discussion of the public housing developments. One of the audience members, Rev. Marshall Truehill, put it so eloquently this way: “We need to keep in mind that the buildings have become symbols of what has been distasteful, and rather than deal with the source of the distaste, we’d rather tear down the building.” Jack Davis noted that the city’s penchant for demolition was rooted in the mayor’s need to show progress—of any kind—in an administration short of notable accomplishments. Meanwhile demolition is proceeding on the newer non-historic sections of the B.W. Cooper housing development, and at the C.J. Peete housing development. We’re not sure what’s going on with Lafitte and St. Bernard, so I wrote a letter to the president of the City Council this past Friday asking for information.

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.

Detroit's Tiger Stadium May Be Partially Demolished this Spring

Posted on: February 15th, 2008 by Preservation magazine 2 Comments

 

Tiger StadiumIn the cult baseball movie Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner is called upon to be a preservationist of a different sort. To rekindle the love of baseball, he's inspired to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field: "If you build it, they will come," a voice tells him. In the case of Detroit's Tiger Stadium, however, the baseball field already exists. This former major-league ballpark is 112 years old. The challenge, instead, involves sowing the seeds that will continually bring people to come see it. After all, the last major league ballgame was played here in 1999—and plans for its partial demolition have been slated for spring.

If making the claim that America's love affair with baseball is largely wrapped up in the places where it is played sounds like sensationalist dribble, ask any fan who grew up going to a local ballpark. They'll likely tell you of familiar smells: roasted peanuts, hot dogs, popcorn, freshly cut grass. They'll mention the vantage point from which clouds of orange dust can be seen when a player slides into home plate. They'll talk of the stacks of lights that illuminate an outdoor theater where outfielders dive for fly balls and fans from upper decks swear they saw the play better than the umpire. "Playing fields like Tiger Stadium are considered hallowed ground," says Francis Grunow, executive director of locally-based Preservation Wayne.... 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.

Baltimore's Bromo Seltzer Tower Rehabbed for Artists

Posted on: February 14th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Bromo Seltzer

Baltimore's striking tribute to Florence, a clock tower known as the Bromo Seltzer Tower, officially opened as artists' studios six weeks ago after a six-year renovation.

The 15-story building was the tallest in Baltimore when it was built in 1911 and was even taller thanks to a 51-foot-tall, spinning Bromo-Seltzer bottle that came down 25 years later.

After a trip to Italy in 1900, architect Joseph Evans Sperry made a replica of the Palazzo Vecchio for the manufacturers of the hangover remedy. It was donated to the city 30 years ago and used as offices. In 2001, the newly formed Baltimore Office of Promotions and the Arts undertook the renovation.

"The building was in pretty serious disrepair," says Bill Gilmore, executive director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts. "The city was obviously interested in saving the building and making it viable again, so we proposed artists' studio space."... 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.

2008 Dates for NOLA Volunteer Opportunities

Posted on: February 14th, 2008 by Sarah Heffern

 

Once again, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is partnering with the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans to provide volunteer opportunities for those interested in helping with the city's ongoing recovery efforts.

For a fee of $200 per person, volunteers receive housing and food for the week. Daily transportation to and from the work site will be covered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For questions on this worthwhile program, email Sean Vissar at svissar [at] prcno [dot] org or by phone at (504) 636-3076.

Click the links below to register online.

February 25 to 29, 2008

April 28 to May 2, 2008

June 23 to 27, 2008

-- Daphne Gerig, manager of member engagement,
contributed to this story.

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

 

Actor Wendell Pierce (most recently of HBO’s “The Wire”) is leading an effort to gain National Register status for the Pontchartrain Park neighborhood and its golf course. This is one of the first post-World War II housing developments in the country built by and for African Americans. It was the home of New Orleans mayors Dutch Morial and his son Marc, along with jazz great Terrance Blanchard, and Pierce himself. Its golf course is named for its designer, Joe Bartholomew, who designed many local and national golf courses—but wasn’t able to play on them due to segregation.

We offered our help at any point educating residents about National Register vs. local historic district designation, state home owner tax credits, helping with the restoration of the landscaping, and any other preservation and neighborhood development issues. Pontchartrain Park was the post-World War II vision of the ranch house in the subdivision, which drew soldiers and their new brides out of older central cities.

Pierce wants to revitalize the neighborhood association and also protect the golf course and the existing housing stock from redevelopment that would alter the character of the neighborhood. The area suffered as much as six feet of flooding after Katrina.

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.