Bill May Save 82-Year-Old Steamboat

Posted on: January 14th, 2008 by Margaret Foster 1 Comment

 

Delta QueenThis could be the last year that the 1926 steamboat Delta Queen, the country's last overnight paddle-wheel steamboat, will operate on America's rivers, thanks to the U.S. Congress.

Last July, for the first time in 37 years, Congress rejected Seattle-based owner Majestic America Line's request to waive the vessel from the Safety of Life at Sea Act, which restricts overnight guests to 50 rather than the boat's capacity of 164. It would have been the boat's seventh exemption from the 1966 act.

Now Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) is proposing a bill that would exempt the 285-foot-long steamboat, docked in New Orleans, from the act and keep it on the water for another 10 years.... 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.

 

It's amazing what a difference a few years makes.*

Back when I was in college, there was no Internet, or at least not enough of a one that regular people were using it. When we hunted for jobs, we went to the career center on campus. We did not have monster.com, or careerbuilder.com, or even Google to help us find jobs. We most certainly did not have Facebook or MySpace, wherein potential bosses could take a sneak peek at our collegiate hijinks.

We also didn't have cool job-search sites like One Day, One Job, which profiles employers offering entry-level openings. They featured the National Trust for Historic Preservation yesterday, and -- I am happy to report -- they seem to like what we're doing here, and the opportunities we have available.

The jobs get even more interesting as the experience level goes up. There are some really cool opportunities that require 3-5 years experience, which means you can either try to really impress them with your cover letter and resume or work your way up through the ranks.

They're even asking people to post comments about their favorite historic buildings on their college campuses.

There are quite a few postings open here in addition to those profiled, so if you're interested in working in Historic Preservation, take a look at our jobs page.

*OK, so it's clearly been more than a few years, but denial ain't just a river in Egypt, as the saying goes.

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.

Copper Boom Takes its Toll on Historic Buildings

Posted on: January 11th, 2008 by Preservation magazine 1 Comment

 

Waterbury City HallIt's an all-too-common predicament for historic structures: widespread vandalism, which can derail an already-tenuous preservation plan. In Camden, N.J., an 80-year-old Greek revival Sears, Roebuck & Co. building is facing demolition this year. Abandoned for several years, the building has been broken into several times, much of its copper piping stripped away and many of its rooms now pockmarked, exposed to the elements.

Likewise, the city hall of Waterbury, Conn., has long been at the receiving-end of theft and trespassing. Three years ago, vandals entered the 90,000-square-foot building—designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect behind the Supreme Court headquarters in Washington, D.C.—and opened a water valve on its fourth floor, flooding the structure thoroughly and rendering it uninhabitable. Last year thieves removed a six-foot-long piece of copper pipe, causing significant water damage to the basement and complicating the city's proposed renovation.

It's a disturbing trend, one that thwarts the aims of preservation: Uninhabited historic structures, caught in a limbo-like state amid the preservation vs. demolition debate, are increasingly vulnerable to disrepair and theft, particularly in the light of a booming metal-scrap market.

Money Talks

In recent years, the demand for copper has substantially increased, largely from tech-centric importers like China and India, and scrap metal is now one of America's most lucrative exports. While copper is neither a precious metal nor an energy source, its conductivity makes it ideal for myriad technological and industrial uses. Smelted-down copper fixtures can be formed into wires and rods, key components of most electrical items. Scrap dealers typically pay between $3.30 and $3.80 per pound, or more than $8,000 per metric ton for the metal. The large, heavy copper pipes found in public buildings, such as civic or commercial structures, draw a high price from both legitimate and black-market metal dealers.... 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.

An APB for Historic Storefronts

Posted on: January 10th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Galena, Ill.

If you know of a building with a fancy sheet-metal facade, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency wants to hear from you.

The agency is asking people all across the country to help locate and identify so-called Mesker buildings via its new Web site, www.gotmesker.com.

Manufactured by the Mesker Brothers Iron Works of St. Louis, Mo., and the George L. Mesker Company of Evansville, Ind., a "Mesker" is a late-1800s to early-1900s building that features elements ranging from storefront columns and cornices to entire facades made of the galvanized steel and cast iron construction. The Mesker brothers were once the largest distributors of these storefront components. Although they didn’t invent the idea of constructing buildings from sheet metal, the brothers took the process to the next level by developing patents for innovative installation techniques.... 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.

Georgia Courthouse Falls

Posted on: January 9th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Gilmer County Courthouse, Ga.The people have spoken, and a brick courthouse in northern Georgia fell this week.

Built in 1898 as a Hyatt Hotel, the neoclassical building in Ellijay, Ga., was converted to the Gilmer County Courthouse in 1934. The county fire marshall condemned the ailing in 2003, and in November 2006, voters in the county of 28,000 passed a referendum to raze the old courthouse and build a new one.

"Counties that have lost their historic courthouses are always sorry about it afterwards," says Jack Pyburn, FAIA, director of Atlanta-based Lord, Aeck & Sargent's Historic Preservation Studio. "Gilmer County's historic courthouse was unique as Georgia's only courthouse not originally built for that purpose. Fortunately, the overwhelming number of counties in Georgia consider their historic courthouses to be a significant definer of their community's identity, past, present and future."... 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.