Women’s Heritage

 

Before 2008, M. Rosalind Sagara didn't know many details about the history of the Chinese community in Riverside, Calif. Now, you could say she is one of the most engaged experts on the story of the area’s early immigrants, as she leads her community’s efforts to preserve the very beginnings of their Chinese American history.

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Sagara (center) on the George Wong History Walk in Riverside, Calif. George Wong was the last resident of Riverside’s Chinatown, and the walk takes guests on a tour of his life. ... 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.

Emily Potter

Emily Potter is a copywriter at the National Trust. She enjoys writing about places of all kinds, the stories that make them special, and the people who love them enough to save them.

 

(l.) Lydia Ely Hewitt, President, Wisconsin Soldiers' Home; (r.) Fanny Burling Buttrick, Vice President, Wisconsin Soldiers' Home. Photos courtesy Milwaukee County Historical Society
(l.) Lydia Ely Hewitt, President, Wisconsin Soldiers' Home; (r.) Fanny Burling Buttrick, Vice President, Wisconsin Soldiers' Home

The Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home was one of the first soldiers’ homes in the country, and the only one where it’s still possible to experience the buildings and designed landscape together in something close to their original form. The 90-acre campus has served veterans continuously since shortly after the Civil War and includes some of the oldest buildings in the entire VA system.

But this special site would not have been possible in the first place without the dedicated efforts of the West Side Soldiers' Aid Society, a group of women in Milwaukee committed to creating a place for veterans to heal and recuperate. This is their story.
... 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.

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi

Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.

 

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The Frederick Douglass House in Washington, D.C.

There are many inspiring and extraordinary tales of passionate women to tell during Women’s History Month. Preservation has our own influential set of female advocates who are paving the way in protecting our county’s heritage, past and present, and we’re excited to highlight some of them this month.

Helen Pitts Douglass was one of the very first of these passionate women in preservation. As the daughter of parents who were both active in abolitionist and suffragist movements, Helen developed early on a determination to stand up for what she believed in. She became a teacher at the Hampton Institute in Virginia, a school founded for the education of black men and women, and was involved with the feminist newspaper, Alpha, before she went to work for Frederick Douglass in 1882.... 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.

Emily Potter

Emily Potter is a copywriter at the National Trust. She enjoys writing about places of all kinds, the stories that make them special, and the people who love them enough to save them.

Women in Preservation: Nancy Schamu Reflects on Four Decades of Saving Places

Posted on: March 7th, 2013 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

This profile, written by Byrd Wood, originally appeared on Preservation Leadership Forum blog. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Nancy Schamu. Credit: Nancy Schamu
Nancy Schamu

Preservationists often jokingly refer to some of the early pioneers in the preservation movement as "little old ladies in tennis shoes standing in front of bulldozers." But the movement changed dramatically in 1966 following the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act, when a wave of young history graduates, eager to assume positions in the recently created state historic preservation offices, soon began to replace the feisty, determined volunteers of the early part of the century.

Nancy Schamu, who is retiring this month after 26 years with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), was one of them, and she strode confidently into the new preservation profession with all the energy and idealism of her 1960s generation. From the early days of rousing Section 106 battles over elevated highways to today’s advocacy efforts to protect the tax credits, Schamu has been more than willing to "raise her hand," as she puts it, to speak out clearly -- and often quite forcefully -- in favor of preservation.... 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.

Pioneering Women Architects of Kansas City, Missouri

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 by Guest Writer

 

Written by Gayle L. Goudy, PhD

The tour route. (Click for PDF)

One hundred years ago, women in design fields in Kansas City faced overt and unrepentant discrimination from men in the profession. Many women in this era chose gender-neutral professional names (N.E. Peters, A.E. Evans) to avoid discrimination when only their drawings or ideas were presented. Unfortunately, once her gender was known, professional names provided no protection. The all-male staff at A.E. Evans's first job vowed to walk out if a woman was employed there (the threat was never realized). In 1930, Evans won the American Institute of Architects' Kansas City Chapter's Honor Award in the residential design category for a house under her professional name with her gender unknown to the jury panel. At the awards banquet, Edward Tanner, an architect affiliated with the J.C. Nichols Company and president of the chapter, announced that women should not be in the architectural field and had her gender been previously apparent, she would never have received the award. Furthermore, the AIA denied Mary Rockwell Hook admission based on her gender. In reparation, on her 100th birthday, in 1977, they presented her with a plaque for distinguished service.

Last month I led a trolly tour through Kansas City, Missouri to honor and celebrate the work of these skilled architects. Read along to follow our tour and learn about four women who left their mark in the urban fabric of Kansas City despite considerable discrimination.

N.E. Peters, Ellison Hotel at 308 W. Armour, 1927. (Photo: Gayle L. Goudy)

N.E. Peters (Nelle Elizabeth Peters) (1884-1974) had her own practice, designed nearly 1,000 buildings in Kansas City, and had her design for The King Cole Hotel featured in the Architectural Record (Vol. 67, March 1930, p. 244). In 1903, with an interest in mathematics and drawing and no formal training, she sought work in an architect's office in Sioux City, Iowa. After all the firms turned her down, she tenaciously went back to the offices that refused her. At Eisentrout, Colby & Pottenger, she recalled, “I talked and talked and at last I talked myself into a job.” Colby believed in her and made a bet with his partners. In 1909, she began her own practice in Kansas City and continued to 1965.

Peters firm specialized in apartment-hotels and was associated with builder and developer Charles Philips of the Philips Building Company from 1913 to 1948. They benefited from Kansas City's expanding housing needs due to a building hiatus imposed during World War I and a balooning population. Nelle E. Peters's signature design features several buildings grouped around a courtyard, which had two benefits. First, it allowed more windows per building and gave residents some green space. Second, since most of these hotels were built on speculation, individual buildings allowed the developer to pace each building with the rate that the new quarters were rented.

N.E. Peters, Poet District Buildings on the Plaza, viewed from Brush Creek Bridge on Broadway. (Photo: Gayle L. Goudy)

Along Broadway and Armour, we saw the Valentine Hotel (1927), Ambassador Hotel (1925) and the Ellison Apartments (1927). We then circled around and passed Roanoke Court (1923), which is a low-to-middle-income residential complex. At the end of the tour we saw the Poet District Buildings located on the Plaza - nine buildings named after poets built between 1928-1929.

Annie J. Scott (1876-unknown) grew up an orphan on a dairy farm. By age 14, she had enough saved to enroll herself in a teaching program at the State Normal School in Warrensburg, Missouri where she graduated in 1894. Three years later, she came to Kansas City to become a Methodist home missionary at the Scarritt Bible and Training School. Unfortunately, that same year she was hospitalized for work-related stress. She then refocused her energies and earned a degree in medicine at the University of Kansas in 1897, graduating third in her class. She then switched her energies again into real-estate.

Annie Scott, two houses along State Line Road near 43rd Street showing the stone foundations characteristic of Scott's development in this neighborhood. (Photo: Gayle L. Goudy)

In 1902, she invested $2000 into an 11-acre plot of land here at 43rd Street and State Line. She divided and sold the land earning $5000 net profit. She continued investing in land and began participating in all aspects of home building from drawing plans to overseeing material purchases and construction management. She even branched out and purchased her own stone quarry. From 1904 to 1909, she built and sold over 200 homes in the Kansas City area. She then married and retired from her professional life to focus on her family and her poor heath due to exhaustion. As we drove down the corridor between 43rd and 45th Street along State Line, the houses with foundations and first floors of stone are Scott's houses.... 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 editorial@savingplaces.org.