Notes from New Orleans: A New Vision for B.W. Cooper

Posted on: January 16th, 2008 by Walter Gallas


I sat in on the presentation by KBK Enterprises of the results of B.W. Cooper residents’ visioning and planning for the redevelopment of the public housing site. About 45 residents saw the proposed site plan for Phase 1, which will accommodate 410 units. They were also shown nine different building types, which will contain one to four units each and will be placed around greens and backed by parking lanes on the interior of five large blocks.

Residents were told that Phase 2 will redevelop the block containing the 300 units currently occupied by B. W. Cooper residents. This phase won’t begin until residents are able to move into the new housing—which is scheduled for completion in September 2010. The residents were unanimously positive and supportive about what they saw and heard, hailing the new designs that the architect explained “have all the characteristics that a real house should have,” notably a defined front and back and generous porches. It’s hard to argue for preservation of the solid old brick buildings of B. W. Cooper to an audience that sees them as old-fashioned, cramped, dirty, and reminders of crime and violence.

A thirty-day comment period for the designs begins now. The designs are to be posted at the Housing Authority of New Orleans web site, at the B. W. Cooper and HANO offices, and at the New Orleans main public library. The designs aside, we will have an opportunity to discuss the progress of the redevelopment of the four public housing sites—and compliance with the agreements forged as a result of the Section 106 review process—at a meeting with HUD and HANO at the end of January. This progress meeting was one of the requirements built into the 106 agreements.

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.

Searching for New Owner for Greene & Greene Apartments

Posted on: January 15th, 2008 by Margaret Foster 2 Comments


Herkimer ArmsThe only apartment building that famed architects Greene & Greene ever designed won a stay of execution last month.

Although the city of Pasadena, Calif., has issued a demolition permit for the Herkimer Arms apartments, the owner has agreed to hold off. Fuller Theological Seminary, which owns the 1912 building, gave a coalition of preservationists six months to find a new owner.

"They're promising up to six months, providing progress is being made," says Sue Mossman, executive director of Pasadena Heritage. "We're kind of back in scramble mode."... 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.

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, or, 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.