2010 Awards

Award-Winning Preservation: Bringing a Neighborhood Back to Life

Posted on: February 15th, 2011 by Guest Writer 1 Comment

 

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation. This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting 2010′s winners.

Written by Sean Thomas

The view from St. Louis Avenue, looking south.

The view from St. Louis Avenue, looking south.

When the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group and the Regional Housing & Community Development Alliance decided to take on the dead zone known as the 14th Street Pedestrian Mall, in the heart of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood, we knew we had our work cut out for us.  What we didn’t know, however, was just how big the project would become, how long it would take, or how much it would transform the community.

By the time we signed the first contract to purchase property in February of 2005, we were well on our way toward planning what eventually would become a $35 million, 27-building mixed-use redevelopment called Crown Square.  Reaching the finish line took quite a bit longer.  Although most of the historic rehabilitation of the buildings had finished by the end of 2009, it wasn’t until October 29, 2010 that cars could drive down the street again, just as we were walking across the stage to receive the National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation at the National Preservation Conference.

The award and the national recognition it has generated reflect a dramatic turnaround for a neighborhood that had been abandoned and given up on by many.  The transformation of what had been a symbol of urban decay into a showpiece for revitalization through historic preservation also changed attitudes among the diverse community of current and former residents.  Not too long ago, when former residents would return to their old neighborhood for visits, they usually went back home with heavy hearts as they reflected on how much had been lost.  Now, these former residents stick around for a while longer to walk up and down N. 14th Street to marvel at the beauty of the restored buildings dating from the 1860s to the 1930s.

Some of these individuals drop in to view the history exhibit in the offices of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, which now occupies a building that had been a Kroger grocery store 75 years ago.  As these former residents recount stories of shopping down the street at the first J.C. Penney in the city (which opened in 1928) or at the Woolworth store across the street, both of which are long gone, they cross paths with current residents who now live in apartments in those buildings.  One of the new residents at Crown Square, a 12-year-old boy named Tiger, helps distribute fliers along the street for the next movie night at the Old North Gallery, while an older woman who lived on the block in the 1930s stops in to view the new fashion boutique, which occupies a space that had housed a dress shop 50 years ago.  These interactions reflect the vibrancy of a community with deep roots and a bright future.  All of this was made possible because of a determined community and strong partners that recognized the value of its past and the importance of decent, affordable, and attractive housing for its current and future residents.

Crown Square Development, St. Louis, Mo.
Award Type: National Trust/HUD Award

Sean Thomas is executive director of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, a not-for-profit community development corporation pursuing the revitalization of the physical and social dimensions of the Old North St. Louis neighborhood in a manner that respects the community’s historic, cultural, and urban character.

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 editorial@savingplaces.org.

Award-Winning Preservation: Sustainable Commercial Rehab "Made in Oregon"

Posted on: February 11th, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation. This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting 2010′s winners.

White Stag Block, Portland, Ore.
Award Type: National Trust Board of Advisors Award

In one of America’s greenest cities, three long-vacant historic commercial buildings have been brought back to life in a textbook example of sustainable development.

Do you know of a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project? We are now accepting nominations for the 2011 National Preservation Awards. Learn 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.

 

Written by Jeanne Cyriaque

As I walked across the stage to receive an Honor Award for the Initiative to Save Rosenwald Schools, I reflected on what an incredible journey it has been to save these endangered African American community landmarks.

My interest in preserving Georgia’s Rosenwald Schools started in 2001, when I began to meet advocates, alumni, and preservationists across the South who shared a common bond in preserving these historic schools. My interest increased when I attended a conference in Alabama and saw an excellent exhibit on their schools. Wanting to find out what happened to Georgia’s Rosenwald Schools, I journeyed to Fisk University to search their database, photos and files, and when I located the Georgia list, I knew that finding the surviving schools in Georgia would be no small undertaking. I began to focus my field research on locating living persons in communities who could help me to find the buildings and associated stories.

A major break occurred when the National Trust listed Rosenwald Schools on its annual listing of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Shortly after this list came out, I became a founding member of the Rosenwald Initiative. The Southern Office of the Trust had a knack for finding people like me in every state who wanted to preserve these schools, and gradually we collectively formed a movement that resulted in numerous rehabilitation initiatives.

With help from the National Trust, the Rosenwald Initiative formed partnerships at many levels, culminating in a initiative with Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, who funded bricks and mortar projects. Dr. Mary Hoffschwelle and Peter Ascoli, members of the initiative, wrote new books about Rosenwald Schools and the philanthropist, while grassroots advocates returned the buildings to new uses in their communities. We held a Rosenwald School conference at Fisk University and obtained funding from Cracker Barrel to support the digitization of the photo images that are now linked to our website, www.rosenwaldschools.com. Alice Rosenwald established a grant program with the National Trust to aid planning related projects.  We established a contact person in each state to field inquiries about the schools.

Several states, including Georgia, prepared historic contexts and submitted multiple property nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. I continue to search for Georgia’s Rosenwald Schools, and have located 50 surviving buildings. My work with Georgia’s surviving Rosenwald Schools was featured in People 2 People, an Atlanta ABC affiliate. The video features the Noble Hill School in Cassville that is always my inspiration for both its story and achievement as an adaptively used Rosenwald School. The Noble Hill School was featured in a National Trust publication, Preserving Rosenwald Schools. The Griffin Vocational School/Fairmont High School is the newest surviving building that is featured in the video.

Initiative to Save Rosenwald Schools, Southern United States
Award Type: Honor Award

Jeanne Cyriaque coordinates African American programs in the Historic Preservation Division (Georgia State Historic Preservation Office) at the Dept. of Natural Resources. She represents Georgia on the Board of Advisors for the National Trust.

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation. This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting 2010′s winners. Do you know of a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project? We are now accepting nominations for the 2011 National Preservation Awards. Learn 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 editorial@savingplaces.org.

Award-Winning Preservation: Neighborhood Landmark Comes Back from Devastating Fire

Posted on: February 4th, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation. This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting 2010′s winners.

Eastern Market, Washington, D.C.
Award Type: Honor Award

Opened in 1873, Eastern Market, the oldest fresh-food and farmers market in the nation’s capital and a beloved community landmark, was gutted by fire in 2007 and then raised from the ashes and gloriously restored.

Do you know of a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project? We are now accepting nominations for the 2011 National Preservation Awards. Learn 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.

Award-Winning Preservation: Easements and Acquisitions Protect Historic Landscapes

Posted on: February 1st, 2011 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Each year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation. This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting 2010′s winners.

The Land Trust for Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn.
Award Type: Honor Award

In the brief decade since its founding, The Land Trust for Tennessee has protected over 52,000 acres and become a leading force for preservation across the Volunteer State.

Do you know of a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project? We are now accepting nominations for the 2011 National Preservation Awards. Learn 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.

 

Written by Charles M. Engberg

Southeast View of Milwaukee City Hall. The $65.9 million exterior restoration of this 1896 National Historic Landmark took four years to complete and will preserve this community treasure for many future decades. (Photo: Eric Oxendorf)

Southeast View of Milwaukee City Hall. The $65.9 million exterior restoration of this 1896 National Historic Landmark took four years to complete and will preserve this community treasure for many future decades. (Photo: Eric Oxendorf)

The historic Milwaukee City Hall recently garnered an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation at its Annual Conference in Austin, TX. For eight years prior to that event, the Milwaukee City Hall was the focus of our preservation planning, design, and execution. Once we were selected to be the design team for the landmark building’s exterior restoration, our collective team prepared the city leaders and the general public for what lay ahead, what was already in process, and what they could expect when the City Hall’s exterior was restored to its original grandeur.

The initial and informal forecast of work ahead was delivered to me while serving as Chairman of Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission. Then-Mayor John Norquist said,“Chuck, the City Hall tower is seven inches out of plumb at three hundred feet in the air, and we are beginning to find pieces of the building on the street. I can only guess at what that means.” He suggested that I speak with the DPW commissioner who was about to commission the initial forensic building report. I walked around this 394 foot tall building the next day and saw evidence that either “the sky was falling” or that the mayor’s concerns were more than warranted.

When you discover pieces of your favorite historic structure at your feet, as we did, these measures are suggested:

First steps taken should be with a person of authority walking the building perimeter to see where the trouble spots are located. If the danger level of falling material is minimal, take the time to discover what is happening under different climatic conditions over a period of months. The major culprit in most deterioration will be water, so discover where and how it is getting into your building.

Public safety issues should be quietly attended to with more severe exfoliation. Provide a sidewalk cover of sufficient width and length to protect passers by. Get netting installed to keep additional debris from falling.

Public relations messages should be crafted with a focus on the historic and present value of the building knowing that eventually your project will be a community feature on the news. Milwaukee handled most of the public relations on their own creating a professional quality video shown several times on the city's public access channel, at meetings of preservation groups, and at service club luncheons.

Engineering reports about the building’s material condition and the magnitude of the distressed areas must be the basis for any remedial work. Milwaukee had the foresight to engage two nationally known forensic engineering firms that repelled from the top down testing every material at the building’s surface and “sounding” the entire building envelope to test for solidity and material bonding.

Peer review of the engineering findings can be the best way to begin a preservation plan from the perspective of common sense, building science, and proven technologies. Milwaukee City Hall, with multiple building materials at all levels, proved to be a national laboratory for formulating methodologies and restoration techniques integrated by our architectural and engineering team when we eventually secured this amazing commission through a competitive interview process.

Other actions include the refining of planning, construction, and schedule contingencies. Public relations should be geared to pique the public’s curiosity and push expectations as the construction process builds momentum. When the process is thorough and open, and you have qualified design professionals with you all the way, your success is assured and your preservation ethic will remain intact.



Milwaukee City Hall Exterior Restoration, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Award Type: Honor Award

Charles M. Engberg, AIA, NCARB, is a partner in Engberg Anderson, Inc.

Do you know of a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project? We are now accepting nominations for the 2011 National Preservation Awards. Learn 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 editorial@savingplaces.org.