Green and Affordable Historic Housing

Posted on: October 5th, 2007 by Patrice Frey 1 Comment

 

Hello from St. Paul! Friday’s conference line-up includes several panels on integrating green building practices and historic preservation. Our panel this morning on "Green Affordable Housing in Historic Buildings" featured three experts from the private and non-profit sector. The overall message: historic buildings can be excellent vehicles for developing green and affordable housing – though these projects are certainly not without their challenges.

The panelists discussed a number of green features that they incorporate into their buildings, such as solar panels, upgraded HVAC systems and low VOC paint. In many instances, high-tech green features can be incorporated sensitively into these projects (for example, high parapets on commercial buildings can serve as visual shield for solar panels.) But the session also included a frank discussion about the trade-offs that are sometimes needed in affordable and green rehabilitation projects – such as replacing historic windows with new windows because newer windows can be easier to operate and are maintenance-free. Lead-based paint on historic windows can also be costly to abate – especially on tight construction budgets.

See more details about all of our panelists below – and look for links to their power points soon.... 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.

St. Paul by Candlelight

Posted on: October 5th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

So, blogging, huh? Well, I’ve never blug before, but here goes.

Before I get to the main issue at hand, I have some instructions for you. Whatever you’re doing, stop it. I mean it -- stop reading this, back away from the computer, book a flight to the Twin Cities (you don’t need a visa), and take a cab to the St. Paul City Hall. It’s a handsome enough building on the outside, but what you want to see is the lobby, aka Memorial Hall. The long, narrow, tall space is walled with shiny black marble and topped with a gold mirrored ceiling -- trust me, if Lenin had been a mad old drag queen, this is what his tomb would look like -- and at one end is an eye-popping 36-foot-high statue of onyx so shiny that it looks as if it’s been bathed in oil. It’s called “The Vision of Peace,” it was created by the well-known sculptor Carl Milles, and there’s not much more I can say about it except to assure you that it’s absolutely dazzling and unique, and you need to see it.

... 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.

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.

From the Front Lines of Property Rights Battles

Posted on: October 5th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Today in sunny Saint Paul, the National Trust Board of Advisors and a large group of fellow preservationists gathered to talk about "Property Rights Battles: Views from the Front Lines."

For those not familiar with the structure of the National Trust, the Board of Advisors is not the National Trust for Historic Preservation's governing board—that's the Board of Trustees. Instead, the Board of Advisors is a group of more than 100 volunteers who act as eyes and ears in places where the National Trust has no permanent staff presence and who complement and augment the knowledge, skills, and contacts of staff, offering always needed and frequently heeded counsel on emerging issues and trends.

Given their record of dynamism, it might seem odd that the advisors chose the theme of property rights for their sponsored session for the third year running. What's up with that? Hasn't this drum been beaten long enough? Judging from the sellout crowd, the answer is a resounding "no."

Of course, if, like me, you hail from the West, these battles are hard to ignore. A bit of background: In 2004, Oregon voters approved Measure 37, which essentially gutted Oregon's groundbreaking land-use protections that have been in place since 1973. Close on the heels of the Oregon fiasco, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Kelo v. New London in 2005.

At today's session, Dwight Merriam of Connecticut was able to add some local color to the Kelo story, including the stranger-than-fiction Christmas card that Mrs. Kelo sent out (cue scary movie music). As Mr. Merriam outlined, this case quickly became a cause celebre among private property rights advocates, who saw in Kelo the long arm of the law stretching way too close for comfort. They also saw an opportunity to push a much broader property-rights agenda.

... 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.

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.

Biking Through St. Paul History

Posted on: October 5th, 2007 by Margaret Foster 1 Comment

 

St. Paul CathedralIt was a typical Foster moment. The bike tour was going well until my National Trust tote bag got stuck in my front tire. Wedged, really, so that the wheel wouldn’t budge. These things happen, and mostly they happen to me.

Our three-hour tour had started off innocuously enough: A bunch of us gathered in front of the clanging Cathedral of St. Paul, chose our rental bikes (somehow I ended up with a lavender Schwinn), and began cruising down Summit Avenue. Our tour guide, Mike Koop of the state historic preservation office, led the peloton, and, I’m sorry to admit, I frequently brought up the rear. Yes, in a group of thirty- to sixty-somethings, I was back there with our “sag wagon,” a white pickup poised to sweep up the wimps.

Our first stop was a Cass Gilbert-designed mansion, and, as our group was staring at it, a friendly Midwesterner (so redundant) came out and shouted, “Do you want to come in?” But we rode on, stopping at a park with a fountain designed by the sculptor who did the Rockefeller Center Prometheus, a church-turned-theater that the city had snatched from the jaws of demolition, and two colleges, where impossibly young kids flopped in the grass, studying in the October sun.... 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.

Good Work, Rewarded

Posted on: October 5th, 2007 by Sarah Heffern

 

I spent part of yesterday evening in St. Paul's beautiful Fitzgerald Theater (where Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" is taped weekly), as the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced its annual Honor Awards.

I was amazed by the breadth of work honored, and found the presentations to be a fantastic way to see the many varied, unexpected ways that historic preservation touches people's lives.

Here are the winners:

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.