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.

The Inspiring Story of Hamburg, NY – Better! Cities & Towns


Image via Better! Cities & Towns

An upstate New York village defied the Department of Transportation and created a human-scale Main Street that restored community to a downtrodden downtown. the New York DOT proposed 12-foot travel lanes — the same width as Interstate highways — and other design details that are standard for urban arterials all across the US. The village rejected the state’s proposal and suggested an alternative. “Hamburg’s Main Street was redesigned to slow vehicles, a technique known as traffic calming. Two lanes, instead of the three that had been planned, were built, and the lanes’ width was shrunk from 12 feet — highway-size ribbons that invite drivers to go fast — to 10 feet. That created more room for trees; on-street parking, which is good for businesses; and “safety lanes,” which provide room for drivers to open car doors safely and also serve as de facto bicycle lanes.” Since the redesign, car accidents on the road of dropped by 66% and “business owners, inspired by the new road, spent a total of $7 million on 33 building projects.

Hawaii Before Statehood – Life

hawaii laundry

Washing hung out to dry, Hawaii, 1959. Image via LIFE

Fifty-four years ago this week, Hawaii was admitted into the Union. presents a slide show of beautiful color photographs from 1959, the year Hawaii officially became America’s 50th state. In a March 1959 article, “Hawaii — Beauty, Wealth, Amiable People,” for which these pictures were made, LIFE painted a largely rosy picture of the place.

The Stahl House photographed by Julius Shulman. Image via Modern Capital DC

The Stahl House photographed by Julius Shulman. Image via Modern Capital DC

“The Case Study Houses have finally made the National Register of Historic Places (well, 11 of them have). The modest, modern, houses–built through an Arts & Architecture magazine program launched in 1945–helped establish Los Angeles as the American center of mid-century modern architecture (participants included Richard Neutra, Charles Eames, Pierre Koenig) and of mid-century futurist living (they were meant to be easily replicable, made with “new materials and new techniques in house construction,” and were of course car-centric and single-family). The newly-landmarked include Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House (aka CSH #22), which might just be the most famous house in Los Angeles, thanks to a photograph by Julius Shulman, along with the Entenza House in Pacific Palisades and Koenig’s CSH #21 in the Hills.”

‘The Las Vegas Tapes’: Remarkable footage of Sin City from 1976 – Dangerous Minds


Las Vegas post card via Danger Minds

“In 1976 Scott Jacobs and Valjean McLenighan decided to do a video documentary of life in Las Vegas, and the resultant 29-minute movie was made with the title The Las Vegas Tapes. To accomplish their goal they chose the simplest strategy imaginable—they simply went around with a video camera and asked people questions….There are no great revelations herein, merely a pungent documentation of Fremont Street before it became the “other” strip in Las Vegas, which today is dominated by Caesar’s Palace and the Luxor and that huge neon Paris balloon.”


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