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 Intricate Makeshift Money of Germans Relied On Between World Wars – Gizmodo


The most complete collection of notgeld online comes courtesy of Brooklynite Miguel Oks. Image via Gizmodo

State-issued currency is the scaffolding upon which capitalism was built, but it’s always been prone to mayhem. For instance in 1920s Germany, extreme inflation forced German businesses to actually print millions of their own customized paper bills. Now largely forgotten, this notgeld, or “emergency money,” was once ubiquitous—amounting to an ornately-decorated I.O.U. in Weimar Germany.  Notgeld was a catch-all name for private currency, printed between World War I and World War II in Germany and Austria. There are hundreds—maybe thousands—of unique bills, each created for a specific amount of gold, cash, or even corn and grain. Each printer created (or commissioned) its own design, which ranged from beautiful turn-of-the-century engravings to modernist Bauhaus-inspired typography. Keep reading…

Nevermind the Price: Nirvana Legend Kurt Cobain’s Childhood Home For Sale – NBC News


The 1.5 story bungalow was built in 1923. It was the childhood home of Kurt Cobain. Image via NBC

The childhood home of legendary Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, complete with the mattress he slept on, was this week put on the market by his mom in the month that marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s final studio album In Utero. The home, last assessed at less than $67,000, is being listed for $500,000. In 2002, an Oregon couple bought a home in nearby Montesano for $42,500. When they learned that Cobain had lived there with his father from 11 to 15, they sold it for $210,000.

Ground Gives Way and Louisiana Town Struggles to Find Footing – NYT

More than a year after it appeared, the Bayou Corne sinkhole is about 25 acres and still growing, almost as big as 20 football fields, lazily biting off chunks of forest and creeping hungrily toward an earthen berm built to contain its oily waters. The town at its edge has been torn apart by the impending disaster. There are the hopeful who have remained. And then there those who have fled. “Much of Louisiana sits atop an ancient ocean whose salty remains, extruded upward by the merciless pressure of countless tons of rock, have formed at least 127 colossal underground pillars. Seven hundred feet beneath Bayou Corne, the Napoleonville salt dome stretches three miles long and a mile wide — and plunges perhaps 30,000 feet to the old ocean floor.” Companies have been drilling into the salt dome and storing propane, butane and natural gas, and to make salt water for the area’s many chemical factories. Read more!

The World’s First Inflatable Concert Hall – Spoon and Tamago


Image via Spoon and Tamago

Architects and designers have been trying to solve the problem of inexpensive and mobile structures for use during disasters for for decades. Generally designed to provide shelter,  most iterations focus on the basics. Not this one. Renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki teamed up with British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor to create an inflatable concert hall. Dubbed Arc Nova, the mobile venue will tour the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged areas of Tohoku, delivering hope and encouragement in the form of music. Click through for more photos and info.

One Man’s Epic Quest to Visit Every Former Slave Dwelling in the US – Smithsonian Magazine


It was his weekends as a Civil War re-enactor that urged Joseph McGill to campaign for the conservation of slave cabins. (Alan Hawes) Image via Smithsonian Magazine

Joseph McGill, Jr., who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, spends his leisure time as a Civil War re-enactor. Wearing the uniform of the 54th Massachusetts, the all black unit featured in the film Glory, he was inspired to do more than draw attention to the pivotal role of black soldiers in the Civil War.  When Magnolia Plantation near Charleston sought to publicize restoration of its neglected slave cabins, McGill proposed sleeping in one of them. It worked – and McGill began a mission to sleep in every former slave dwelling still standing in the United States in order to help save them and the history they hold. Currently, he’s on number 41. “Americans tend to focus on the ‘big house,’ the mansion and gardens, and neglect the buildings out back,” he says. “If we lose slave dwellings, it’s that much easier to forget the slaves themselves.”


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