Rescuing an Icon, Part Two

Posted on: November 7th, 2007 by Barbara Campagna

 

A story of how a typical business trip turned into a tale of disaster management of national importance…

(Editor’s Note: Originally written in August for her personal blog, Barbara Campagna has agreed to share the story of her experience at the Farnsworth House in Plano, IL, as the floodwaters from the Fox River approached.)

August 24th, 2007

The Farnsworth House, Plano, ILWhitney and I had plans to drive out to Chicago for a 10:30 am meeting at the Landmarks Illinois office in the Monadnock Building with David Bahlman and Al Novickis, the architect ready to start work on the SAT grant for the house. I went down to a scrumptious breakfast to be told that Whitney had called at 7:30 am to say that the house had been completely surrounded by 4 feet of water during the night and I should get out there as soon as possible. I emailed my office and drove there to find that the Farnsworth House was peering above the water just barely, its 5 foot high stilts completely submerged and the water lapping at its front door. David Bahlman, President of Landmarks Illinois our co-steward partner at the house, drove down from Chicago, and he, Whitney and her boyfriend and I, tried to figure out how to get to the house to see if water had gotten in and/or to try to elevate the furniture and the rare Primavera wood panels.

We are fortunate that Whitney, the new site director who has only been in her job for 4 months, has lived in the community for 15 years and knows everyone. The water was too high and too dangerous to consider wading through. So we knew we needed to find a flat-bottomed boat. She called everyone she could think of including the Fire Department and no one had a boat. We feared we would be able to do nothing but watch as the house became submerged and possibly damaged as extensively as it had in 1996 when water rose 5' into the house.

... 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.

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.

Historic Block Falls for Rite Aid

Posted on: November 6th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

Morgantown HotelA hotel built in 1799 is gone, and a Rite Aid will take its place on the most prominent corner of Morgantown, Pa., located an hour northwest of Philadelphia.

The Morgantown Hotel was demolished last month, and four other historic buildings dating from 1750 to 1813, all listed as contributing to the Morgantown historic district, will follow. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups asked Rite Aid to reuse the two-story hotel and four others targeted for demolition or to find another location for the drug store.... 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.

Neutra's Kaufmann House To Be Auctioned

Posted on: November 5th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

Barbara AlfordNext spring's auction of Richard Neutra's famed Kaufmann House in Palm Springs, Calif., may make architectural history if its price is right.

Owners Beth and Brent Harris, who are divorcing, decided to sell the house they restored at a Christie's auction on May 6, 2008, to make a statement.

"It's an odd thing, but the more money this house goes for, the better it is for preservation in my point of view," Beth Harris told the New York Times. ... 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.

Notes from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: November 5th, 2007 by Walter Gallas

 

Lower 9th Ward, New OrleansThe arts continue to find their inspiration in the New Orleans post-Katrina experience while providing inspiration and encouragement to long-suffering residents. This weekend a production of Samuel Becket’s “Waiting for Godot” was presented in the streets of the Lower 9th Ward. Next week it moves to the streets of Gentilly. The production is a New Orleans version of a June 2007 production in New York by the Classical Theatre of Harlem. (NPR produced an interesting audio piece about this production for Weekend Edition Saturday.)

Also this weekend, trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra to present “A Tale of God’s Will (a requiem for Katrina),” a series of pieces based on his and his band’s compositions for the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s documentary “When the Levees Broke.”

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 Arabbers Are Fading Away

Posted on: November 2nd, 2007 by Preservation magazine 1 Comment

 

Arabber selling watermelon (Scott Kecken)On the streets of Baltimore, it is getting harder and harder to hear the holler of arabbers. These street vendors, peddling produce and seafood on horse-drawn carriages, have been a part of Baltimore life for decades. But with less than a dozen arabbers on the street today, along with new city regulations on their horses and the potential loss of the stables they use, the cries of the arabber may be a thing of the past.

The word "arab" was British slang for homeless youth. While no one is sure how this term translated to describing street vendors in Baltimore, the word conveys the transience of arabbers' lives.

For African Americans, arabbing is a tradition that started after the Civil War, when jobs that offered independence for African American men were hard to find. Selling food from a cart was one of the few self-sufficient trades. Yet arabbing didn't become a distinctly African American trade until World War II, when industrial jobs opened up for white vendors.

"Today, they are living history, a reminder of Baltimore's past and the fact that horses built our cities and did the work that is now being done by machines. They are a reminder of a different time when people helped people," says Scott Kecken, who directed the 2004 documentary We Are Arabbers. ... 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.