This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the newsClick on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.

Elizabeth Ellsworth, Maven of Midcentury Modern – Preservation Nation

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Image via Preservation Nation

“After retiring from a career as a marketing executive, Elizabeth Ellsworth began buying and restoring once-beautiful homes that had been tarnished by lack of maintenance or improper additions. In late 2012, she purchased the Island House. Built in 1954, it’s one of three residences designed by Bimel Kehm in New Canaan, Connecticut.”

 Mary Todd Lincoln, Sally Field and a House – HerKentucky

“Earlier this week, Sarah wrote an essay here on HerKentucky about the moment when, while reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, she first saw Lincoln as an empathetic and very human man rather than as a historically exalted leader. As I read Sarah’s piece, I immediately thought of all the press surrounding Ms. Field’s visits to Lexington. I did a little research about the Mary Todd Lincoln House and realized that, perhaps, Ms. Field was onto something. Maybe the home where Mrs. Lincoln spent her teen years is a key to her character. “

Cold War Bunkers – NPR

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WBT radio’s bomb shelter in Charlotte, N.C., part of a government-funded emergency communications network, as it looked in 1963. Image NPR

“There’s an underground bunker at a radio station in Charlotte, N.C., where time has stopped. Built decades ago to provide safety and vital communications in the event of a nuclear attack, it’s now a perfectly preserved relic of Cold War fear that’s gained new relevance”

Interview Felecia A Bell: African Americans and the Capitol Building and the African American Museum in DC- The Square

Bell discusses her work as the director of education programs for the U. S. Capitol Historical Society, the African American History Museum, her research into the use of enslaved and free black craftsmen to construct the United States Capitol and her testimony (along with others) that resulted in a bill to name the Capitol Visitor Center’s great hall, “Emancipation Hall.”

How Historic Preservation Can Reverse Population Loss in “Shrinking Cities” – Preservation Resource Center

This gem popped up on Facebook from a number of different preservationists this week.  “In her citiwire.net column from July 20, 2012, Roberta Brandes Gratz makes the case for the relevance of preservation to cities facing these all-too-common issues as she did in her comments at the Louisiana Landmarks Society Blight Forum last night. She cites Donovan Rypkema’s PlaceEconomics report, commissioned by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, that found ‘the least shrinkage occurs in places where preservation is made a priority over demolition.'”

I’m a Little Country Boy Eight Years Old – National Archives

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FDR Ferguson, the original response, and his copy of the letter he wrote. Image via The National Archives

This is a wonderful example of the link between place and memory.  Seventy-six years  after FDR Ferguson wrote President Franklin D. Roosevelt (then in his third term in office) a letter, he could remember little of its contents.  His daughter, thinking she was on an impossible mission, contacted the Roosevelt archives and to her great surprise was able to obtain a copy of the letter her father wrote when he was just eight years old. (Hip hip hooray for archives and archivists!) Upon reading the letter he’d written so long ago, do you know what he remembered? He remembered his childhood home – writing on the the stone hearth. And when he saw the photograph of himself he’d included his missive to the president, he was most excited to see that the family’s cow barn was just barely visible in the background.

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