A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news. Click on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.
Top Ten Cities of Historic Preservation – Livability
“Many cities face increasing pressure to tear down old schools, factories and homes to make way for more modern structures. But there are communities that have challenged the notion new is better and strive to keep the look and feel that drew residents to their towns in the first place. On this list you’ll find some of the best examples of preservation, from cities that have set the standard to towns that have recently begun efforts to protect and restore historic areas.” The list includes cities from all over the US!
Jack White Lends Hand to Detroit’s Masonic Temple – Preservation Nation
What a feel good story! Rock musician Jack White (of The White Stripes) grew up in Detroit. His mother worked at the Masonic Lodge, a neogothic building with over a thousand rooms including a state-of-the-art theater, ballrooms, and banquet halls. The largest of its kind in the world! His first gigs were just a half block for the temple. And after he made it big, he played it. In recent years, the temple fell on hard times. News outlets reported that the building had been foreclosed on and that it owed the city of Detroit over $150,000 in back taxes. When he heard of the buildings plight, White stepped in. Click through to learn how he saved this iconic 1926 structure!
Olive Oil Saving Old Buildings – Mental Floss
Mental Floss take another look at how olive oil may save historic stone structures from environmental pollutants (like acid rain), beginning with York Minster Abbey.”Its chemical construction is what makes olive oil so useful for those trying to save buildings from disrepair. The liquid we use to cook with contains between 55 and 83 percent oleic acid, a key ingredient that has the unique quality of being able to let water out from the limestone it covers, while preventing water coming in with a coating a single molecule thick.”
Ancient Underwater Forest Uncovered by Hurricane Katrina – The Huffington Post
“The Bald Cypress forest was buried under ocean sediments, protected in an oxygen-free environment for more than 50,000 years, but was likely uncovered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said Ben Raines, one of the first divers to explore the underwater forest and the executive director of the nonprofit Weeks Bay Foundation, which researches estuaries. The forest contains trees so well-preserved that when they are cut, they still smell like fresh Cypress sap, Raines said. The stumps of the Cypress trees span an area of at least 0.5 square miles (0.8 kilometers), several miles from the coast of Mobile, Ala., and sit about 60 feet (18 meters) below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. Despite its discovery only recently, the underwater landscape has just a few years to be explored, before wood-burrowing marine animals destroy the ancient forest.”
“In many ways, the story of modern Birmingham starts on Center Street, a leafy hill lined with neat brick ranch-style houses. In the 1940s, Center Street was the city’s color line. To some, the west side was the white side and the east side was in transition.” When the first black families tried to cross the racial divide, the street became volatile. The Klu Klux Klan burned African American property and shot out the windows of African American homes. Forty plus unsolved bombings earned it the nickname “Dynamite Hill.” But those first few families pioneered on despite the danger to themselves and their property.