This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news.

New York, You’ve Changed

North by Northwest title shot. Image via Scouting New York

In case you missed my gush of excitement yesterday, Scouting New York is my new favorite website.  Written by film location scout, Nick Carr, the site chronicles his exploration of the city in search of the perfect place to film a scene.  His quest often takes him to historic parts of the city and he’s always discovering interesting nooks and crannies (historic or not).  In this post, he compares screen shots from Alfred Hitchcock’s film North by Northwest with the actual New York locations where they were filmed as they appear today.  We can see what has changed and what hasn’t since 1957 and what is real and what is a set created for the film. The blend of side by side comparison and film trivia makes for a super fun read!   While you are at it, don’t miss Part II!

Menokin Glass House

Rendering of Menokin glass and steel structure. Image via Preservation Frame of Mind

Built in 1769, Menokin, the former home of Frances Lightfoot Lee and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe, is currently a ruin.  Since 1995, the Menokin Foundation has painstakingly worked towards its rescue. Luckily, the house was well-documented by HABS in the 1940s, so the Foundation has a great source to work from. They have cataloged and organized and planned and now that have an incredibly innovative plan.

How many times have you visited an historic site only to discover mid-tour that most of what you are seeing is a recreation? Pretty disappointing, right?  The Menokin Foundation agrees. Rather than reconstruct the building, they plan to build a glass and steel structure tied to the existing frame work that will mimic the original massing, form, and detail of the building.  “With this glass concept, there is complete transparency regarding what’s new and what’s historic. The glass is intended to be a demonstration of the original fabric’s absence, a separate artifact in its own right.” Check out Preservation Frame of Mind’s post for more information about the plan for Menokin’s future, as well as its current state.

Tomb of Mayan Queen Discovered

Carved alabaster vessel helped to identify the Mayan queen’s tomb. Image via the Global Heritage Fund

“Not far from Mirador, in the Petén region of northern Guatemala, lies a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site called El Perú-Waka’.  Some 1,600 years ago, El Perú-Waka’ was a powerful city with tens of thousands of residents, ideally situated for trading along the San Pedro River.  Recently, it became the site of one of this year’s most exciting archaeological discoveries:  the tomb of Lady K’abel, considered the greatest ruler of the Late Classic period.”   – The Global Heritage Fund

Rooftop Camping for Preservation

Athenaeum in Indianapolis. Image via Historic Indianapolis

Preservationists are always working hard to raise money and awareness for their projects. This week the director of the Athenaeum Foundation camped out on the historic clubhouse’s roof to raise funds for its preservation.  She did so in honor of the 20th anniversary of former director, David Wilkie’s 60 day rooftop camp-out that also raised funds for one of Indianapolis’ oldest clubhouses still used for its original purpose.  Other events on the rooftop, including sunrise yoga, a film screening and a concert, were also planned and open to the public. Visit Historic Indianapolis‘ website for more information on this unique fundraiser and public awareness event.

From the Highline to the LowLine and Now an Urban Mushroom Farm!

Proposed Mushroom Farm beneath Oxford Street, London. Image via Architizer

A few weeks ago, I told ya’ll about a proposal to adaptively reuse a former underground New York trolley terminal as an underground urban park in the same vein as the use of the former railroad tracks for the popular Highline project. This week, London announced the results of its own competition to create a Highline-type space.  And the winner is an underground mushroom farm that will reuse abandoned tunnels under Oxford Street.  You couldn’t even make this stuff up!  Head over to Architizer for more details (like the planned mushroom restaurant!).

Coal Miner’s Daughter

Lorretta Lynn’s birthplace. Image via Backroad Vagabond

When Lorretta Lynn sang, “Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter/In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Hollow,” this is the house she was crooning about. Deep in the hills of Johnson County, Lynn’s brother now curates the family home and offers tours from Webb’s Country Store for just $5.  Recently, the Backroad Vagabond made the trek to far Eastern Kentucky to check out the holler.  Read all about her adventure and the small coal mining community here.

Tour of Places with Art

Hollingworth’s painting Elevator, Tower Building ca 1935. Image via the Mississippi Museum of Art

History, historic places and art are often intertwined. Yesterday, the Mississippi Museum of Art explored this concept by offering a tour of the places Mississippi artist, William Hollingsworth, painted in the 1930-1940s in and around Jackson, Mississippi.  How cool is that?! I can imagine this concept being used for so many other artists in communities worldwide! It could even make a great fundraiser.  Thank you Preservation in Mississippi for spreading the word about this creative tour!

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