Power Trip

Posted on: October 3rd, 2007 by Margaret Foster 1 Comment

 

Southeast Heating Plant, MinneapolisIs it nerdy to care about renewable energy? Since I was wearing safety goggles and a canary-yellow hardhat a few hours ago, perhaps I’m not the best judge. I don’t understand words like biomass, but I like the idea of green anything, so this morning I tagged along on a hardhat tour of a 1905 power plant that—get this—heats most of downtown St. Paul with wood chips. Fifty truckloads a day of lawn trimmings, and boom: plenty of hot water, cold water, and heat all year long.

For the bargain price of $1, a power company bought the riverfront plant in the 1980s, hoping to provide heat and electricity to the adjacent downtown via 20 miles of pipe. Standing in the rattle and hum of the cathedral-like space, our group learned that we’re not the first to tour the grounds. ... Read More →

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Mrs. Bennett is Home at Last

Posted on: October 3rd, 2007 by Walter Gallas 1 Comment

 

A worker putting the finishing touches on the Bennett house this morning.It was nearly two years ago when we were first introduced to Mildred Bennett and her pink shotgun house on Dauphine Street in New Orleans’ Holy Cross neighborhood. Last Friday, Kevin Mercadel (the National Trust's field office program officer) and I met at the Bennett house for another walk-through of the house with the general contractor and Mrs. Bennett’s granddaughter, who has been steadfastly pushing this project to completion. With the construction materials removed from the rooms, the floors cleaned, and the ceiling fans operating in every room, the place began to feel like a someone’s home again. We have had many failed predictions in the past, but I am happy to report that Mrs. Bennett’s homecoming happened today.

Welcome home, Mrs. Bennett.

Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.

(Updated to replace photo.)

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, City of Lights

Posted on: October 3rd, 2007 by Margaret Foster

 

St. Paul CathedralThere’s something about St. Paul that makes me feel like I’m in Paris. Maybe it was the rain blurring my vision, but driving the span between the dome of the 19th-century capitol and the deliberately taller dome of the Cathedral of St. Paul reminded me of a Parisian bridge. And then, take a left at the cathedral and head down the city’s grandest street, its residential Champs-Elysées, and wow, you forget all about Paris and just gape at those mansions. (Thursday night: Candlelight tour of Summit Avenue houses.)

I got a glimpse of Grand Avenue today—a friend told me not to miss it—and while I’d like to spend hours in the classic Main Street, with Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn tucked neatly into early-20th-century brick storefronts, my credit card would prefer not to. I’ll spend my nickels at the farmer’s market in Lowertown, a funky, New Urban mecca in an 18-block historic district on the waterfront.

I admit to knowing little about St. Paul before I stepped off the very delayed plane other than the fact that it’s the hometown of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who left town and rarely returned, busying himself with revelry in Paris and all.... 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.

From Gateway to Greenway

Posted on: October 2nd, 2007 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

 

Marquette Plaza, Minneapolis, MNI spent my day today on a tour called "From Gateway to Greenway: Modernism in Downtown Minneapolis." The weather wasn't ideal for a day outdoors, so I'm soaked from the rain in addition to worn out from walking, but I can say honestly that I think I am a little in love with Minneapolis. I found it to be an incredibly cool city, with a nice mix of historic and modern buildings, lots to do and see, and more green space than any city I have ever visited. It's also very pedestrian-friendly, with paths and footbridges making it easy to get around. (As a person who doesn't own a car, I have a soft spot for cities that like those of us who travel by foot.) Tour leaders Liz Gales and Todd Grover, along with several guest guides, did a fantastic job of sharing both their knowledge of the city's history and architecture and their enthusiasm for the place they call home.

... 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.

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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: October 2nd, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

The Morning Round-Up is on break this week while I'm attending the National Trust's annual conference in St. Paul, MN. Pls check back for postings later this week on some exciting sessions we'll be hosting on sustainability and preservation.

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.