As fantastic as it is, the National Register of Historic Places can get a little confusing -- even for a seasoned pro. But fear not, because the PreservationNation blog has teamed up with Jim Gabbert, a historian with the National Park Service, to create our National Register Guide.


Episode Nine of our National Register of Historic Places Guide shared how to evaluate the historic integrity of a site as it relates to its significance. Episode Ten explains what types of resources your state historic preservation office (SHPO) can provide to help you with your goal of completing a National Register nomination.... 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.

David Weible

David Weible

David Weible is a content specialist for the National Trust, previously with Preservation magazine. He came to D.C. from Cleveland, Ohio, where he wrote for Sailing World and Outside magazines.


The metal accents on the Community Complex were restored to their original red color.

Back in 2007, Brad Traver was sent to the Petrified Forest National Park on a temporary assignment. The nearly 150-mile park, located in eastern Arizona, is best known for its large deposits of petrified wood, a beautiful natural phenomenon, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.

But what stuck with him the most after this work detail had nothing to do with the millennia-old fossils for which the park is so famous. Traver, interested in historic preservation his whole life, found that he was blown away by another of the park’s unique offerings: The Painted Desert Community Complex.

The Modernist building was designed by Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander.

This Modernist marvel was designed by renowned architects Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander as a part of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program, which worked to improve park facilities throughout the country after World War II. The Community Complex was, as Traver describes, “one of the most ambitious projects” to come out of the program, and was made even bolder through the Park Service’s choice of architects. However, this one-of-a-kind park facility remains relatively unknown to most Americans -- and as Traver admits, he was no exception.

“I didn’t know it was here. I’d lived in Arizona for 25 years at that point and didn’t know it was here. I was just blown away by how unique this place was,” said Traver. “That was an important milestone for me, because that was what made me want to come back here on a permanent basis.”

Work done by the AZCC focused on restoring original paint colors to both stucco and metal elements of the building.

Traver, now the park’s Superintendent, gets to spend most of his days in and around the Modernist jewel deep in the heart of the American southwest. Now, through his position with the park, and partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, he is hoping to give the building that had inspired him its day in the sun. But, as he will be the first to say, putting the Painted Desert Community Complex on the map is no small task.

“Of the 800,000 visitors that come to this park every year, I’d be surprised if 500 knew about the Complex. Most of the public doesn’t know anything about it. At least until we’re able to turn the tide here,” said Traver. “The Trust has been very helpful in getting that tide to begin to turn by naming it a National Treasure, and bringing in historic preservation partners in Arizona.”

In addition to naming the structure a National Treasure in 2014, the Complex has also been the site of a HOPE Crew project this summer. The project, overseen by preservation expert David Charlebois and undertaken by crew members from the Arizona Conservation Corps, has aimed to restore the original paint colors to the exterior, thanks to a paint analysis by the Historic Resources Group and a generous paint donation from Valspar.

This project was made possible in part by a generous donation from Valspar.

Beyond simply teaching crew members the basic skills of preservation on this project, Traver and Charlebois made it a point to inspire these young people by incorporating the history and significance of the building into their learning.

“If they did not have an appreciation, if they were not taught how this building came about, they would walk away from here with nothing more than the idea of how to put paint on a wall,” said Charlebois. “But now, they have a grasp of what the whole concept is: to preserve this building, give it new life for the next generation, so that their children’s children can see the beauty of the architecture, the beauty of the scenery, and how delightfully it blends together. What a gift that is!”

Charlebois, a veteran himself of thousands of preservation projects, also found himself inspired by the work of the crew itself. Not only did they prove themselves to be capable apprentices, they also showed they have what it takes to be stewards for this, and other important pieces of architecture, for years to come.

For David Charlebois, the learning aspect of HOPE Crew was just as important as the work itself.

“I’ve never worked with a group that’s been more attentive, tried as hard, and has done so well so quickly. This is an exceptional group,” said Charlebois. “These young men and women are showing that pride of accomplishment, and that’s a wonderful thing to pass on. I only have a few thousand more buildings to do, but one day I’ll set down my paintbrush, my hammer, and my trowel, and it will be up to others. I’m confident now that it will be in good hands.”

Through the HOPE Crew and National Treasures programs, the Painted Desert Community Complex has found itself in the news multiple times, including pieces featured on and in the Arizona Journal. It’s just the beginning, but work like this will continue to, as Traver says, turn the tide for a building that has touched these lives, and has the potential to inspire many more in years to come.

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.

Tom Wall

Tom Wall is the Associate Manager of Community Outreach. His background includes television production, journalism, nonprofit communications, and marketing. Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Tom is a graduate of the George Washington University, with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication.


By Walter Gallas, Executive Director at Louisiana Landmarks Society and former director of the National Trust's New Orleans Field Office

Walter Gallas in Holy Cross post-Katrina.

It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since Hurricane Katrina. I was living in Washington, D.C., and working at National Trust headquarters when the storm hit on August 29, 2005, and I watched the initial blows of this powerful storm in horror. Little did I know that I would soon be back in New Orleans, having left just one year before.

Just a few weeks after the storm, the National Trust's Richard Moe, Peter Brink, and John Hildreth made a reconnaissance trip to New Orleans, gaining access to the city through then-Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (today's mayor of New Orleans). Seeing the conditions firsthand, Moe made the decision to do whatever the National Trust could to help.... 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.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at


14906 Falling Waters Road -- Williamsport, Maryland

Daniel Donnelly House Seeks Finishing Touches to Restoration Project

I look good for a 1830s farmhouse, if I do say so myself. Considering that I’ve withstood not only the Civil War battle of Falling Waters, but also about 180 years of change, I think I’ve fared remarkably well.... 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.

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson

Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.

Weekend Reads from Curbed, The Buffalo News, and More

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


By Tim Mikulski

Welcome to Weekend Reads at the PreservationNation blog, wherein we share a handful of the most interesting preservation-related stories we've come across over the course of the week.

Friends of Memorial Coliseum from Brian Libby on Vimeo.

“The Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a massive modernist indoor arena in Portland, Oregon, is facing the ultimate existential crisis as City Council considers a demolition, partial upgrade, or total restoration (which could cost $65M more than the project budget.) Meanwhile, a community organization called Friends of Memorial Coliseum has been mounting a strong case for preserving the structure. Their argument, now articulated in a thorough sub-three-minute video, boils down to the building's architectural and cultural significance.” -- Curbed: To Save or to Raze – SOM’s Modernist Arena in Portland

“An art deco train station opened here to nationwide acclaim during the Great Depression, built by two renowned railroad architects a mile and a half from downtown. The station’s use peaked during World War II, but as trains gave way to planes and automobiles, the station fell into disuse and disrepair. That changed about 20 years ago, when Cincinnati turned the architectural marvel into the city’s largest cultural attraction – the renamed Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal...Many people in Buffalo yearn for that same outcome at the city’s Central Terminal. Both art deco stations share much in common, such as the same architects, Alfred T. Fellheimer and Steward Wagner, and the decline up to and after Amtrak left both stations in the 1970s. But that’s where the similarities end.” -- The Buffalo News: Transforming An Old Rail Station Into a Vital Cultural Center

“A national monument designation would mark the significance of this place where our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, developed a keen appreciation and respect for our country’s remarkable natural and cultural beauty. Roosevelt’s passion for the outdoors is now a part of our culture and his enthusiasm is embraced and shared by naturalists and Americans throughout our country. The vision for Elkhorn Ranch that we presented to the Billings County Commission is a proposal for congressional designation of a national monument managed by the U.S. Forest Service that would recognize all valid existing rights and traditional land uses like hunting, grazing and ranching.” -- The Bismarck Tribune: Setting the Record Straight on Elkhorn Ranch National Monument

“These days, buyers want new houses or those in move-in condition, preferring a bigger mortgage to a large rehab budget, local agents said...There is a market for older homes ‘as long as they are updated and in good condition,’ [Real Estate Office Owner John] Duffy said. Yet he said that if a property is ‘registered historic,’ most municipalities limit the changes that can be made and require prior official approval, which can scare off buyers. Most sellers understand that buyers want the house to be updated or ‘they will either walk away or come in with a very low offer,’ he said.” -- The Philadelphia Inquirer: Demand for Historic Houses Not What It Was

“When embarking on a campaign to save a historic resource, it is very important to document and share your progress. Otherwise, people won’t know what you are doing! In this post, we will look more closely into why documenting your campaign is important and share lessons we have learned from our ongoing campaign to save the James River from Dominion Virginia Power’s proposed transmission line project near historic Jamestown.” -- Preservation Leadership Blog: Down to The Wire – The Importance of Documenting Your Campaign

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.

[Historic Bars] Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge in Milwaukee

Posted on: August 27th, 2015 by Lauren Walser 1 Comment


Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge is located in Milwaukee’s Historic Mitchell Street Neighborhood.

Bryant Sharp had an idea. And it was a very good one.

Two years after he opened his beer hall in 1936, he decided to turn it into a cocktail lounge. Out went the jukebox and in came the record player. The wooden floors were carpeted, and wallpaper was hung. The windows were blocked, and the lights were dimmed.

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge was dark. It was swanky. It was the first cocktail lounge in Milwaukee.... 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.

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser

Lauren Walser is the Los Angeles-based Field Editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys writing and thinking about history, art, architecture, and public space.