Category: This Week: Weekly Round-up

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.

A Preservationist’s (Photo) Year in Review – Raina Regan

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The Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis. Image via Raina Regan

One of the best parts about being a preservationist is access to interesting historic places. A second best part, is learning to look at the places around us in a different way. A graffiti covered barn is no longer the work of a hooligan, but is public art. The stoplight that catches you every morning on the way to work is not (only) a nuisance, but an opportunity to study what is happening outside the car windows. Preservationist and artist Raina Regan captures this beautifully in her year-end (photo) review. Be sure to click through for photos of Raina’s home base in Indianapolis and her far-flug travels.

The Young Preservationists and the Not Young Preservationists? – Preservation in Pink

Have you noticed the “young preservationist” trend? Not sure exactly what at means? You’re not alone. PiP explores the question and it’s implications in this post and in a follow up, Young Or Not Roundup. Her conclusion? “Preservation is a field that requires a united front, so let’s keep it that way. Avoid “young,” go with something more fitting such as “emerging professionals” and be glad for seasoned professionals. Together we are formidable opponents working to improve the quality of life through the appreciation of our heritage.” Here, here!

The Prettiest Building in Time Square Saved – Scouting New York

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Before and after of one of the statues and niches on the building. Image via Scouting New York

A turn of the century building in Time Square left to decay by a defunct TGIFriday’s was recently saved by Express. The fast fashion house meticulously restored the exterior of the I. Miller Building and the results are fantastic. Way to go Express!  Check out more photos of the building and details about its history after the jump!

Molly Hatch: Tea Cups – Today is going to be awesome.

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One of the teacups painted by Molly Hatch. Image via Today is going to be awesome.

“Last year, ceramics and visual artist Molly Hatch was so inspired by an article written in Selvedge Magazine about a curator at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, Sweden who spent her entire career hand-painting a catalog of objects in the museum (pre-color photography) that she decided to embark on her own cataloging project. Yep, (with their permission, of course) Molly has been painstakingly painting the tea cup collection of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. – Amongst its vast holdings, the Clark Art Institute has a sizable collection of historic teacups. According to Molly the majority of the cups were acquired over a lifetime of collecting by the museum founders Francine and Sterling Clark. Molly challenged herself to make a small painting of 300 of the cups in the collection. ‘These paintings serve as an artistic response to the historic archive of the collection, an effort to view the historic collection through the eyes of a contemporary ceramic artist and designer,‘ she says. In creating them, her paintings become a hand-painted artistic catalog of the collection. The cups Molly painted were originally collected by one family and are all 18th century porcelain. Molly chose these 300 because they are from the same era during which the curator in Sweden was painting her catalog.” Love, love, love this project! To see more of Molly’s beautiful and whimsical paintings click through to the original post.

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These Weeks

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.

I missed last week, so here is two weeks worth of HP stories!

London’s Cheeky Skyscrapers – NPR

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The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe at 1,016 feet, was inaugurated in London in 2012. It got its formal name when the builders adopted the term used by critics, who called it a “shard of glass” in the city’s skyline. Image via NPR

What most struck NPR’s Ari Shapiro on a recent tour of London, was “the sheer number of cheeky, irreverent names that Londoners” give the 21st-century skyscrapers that which pierce their historic city.

National Register Rap – Mary Washington Historic Preservation Students

If you’ve ever struggled to understand the National Register of Historic Places or explain it to a friend, try the National Register Rap on for size. Created by Historic Preservation program students at the University of Mary Washing, the NR rap takes us through the entire “bag of tricks” and even some of its limitations. (As much as I love this fresh take on a quintessential part of historic preservation, I do have to admit it makes me a little uncomfortable. Cultural appropriation has been a huge top of discussion recently, and I have to admit that I sometimes don’t know where the line between appropriation and admiration -as in imitation is sincerest form of flattery- is drawn exactly. Am I alone in this?)

Virginia Savage McAlester – Leading the Ultimate House Tour – New York Times

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Fit for a Queen of Historic Preservation: Neither leukemia nor a daunting number of new constructions kept the author of “A Field Guide to American Houses” from extending her life’s work. Image via NYT

Virginia Savage McAlester co-authored THE book on American domestic architecture, A Field Guide to American Houses.  On the long awaited publication of Ms. McAlester’s  revision (which catches us up from 1940, where A Field Guide left off, to today), the New York Times gives us a sneak peak into her ancestral Dallas home and into the life of the woman who literally defined the American house.

Field Guide Update Introduces Several New Home Categories – The Columbus Dispatch

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The new Field Guide to American Houses calls McMansions “millennium mansions.” Image via Dispatch

Because I’m so excited about the publication of the 2nd edition of A Field Guide to American Houses, here is an article the focuses on the content of the book rather than the author.  The new edition, written by McAlester alone, “clocks in at 880 pages — 350 pages longer than the first.  The edition not only brings American styles into the 21st century but also expands earlier sections.  The heart of the updated book, though, lies in the new categories. Some, such as ‘ranch’ and ‘split-level,’ might seem obvious, while others required new terms. McAlester came up with the phrase ‘millennium mansion,’ for example, to describe the two-story, multigabled suburban homes that many think of as McMansions.”

Timeline of the Destruction of 100 Year Old Franklin County, NC Records – Heritage Society of Franklin County, North Carolina

In Franklin County, North Carolina century old documents were discovered in the basement of the county courthouse. Anyone who has ever done any sort of historical research knows that these types of records (marriages, deeds, court dockets, ledgers, etc) are invaluable. Arrangements were made for their preservation, and almost immediately work was underway. Soon, inexplicable road blocks surfaced halting the preservation work. And eventually, the documents were incinerated despite protests from the Heritage Society and the community… Click through to learn more about this intense and disturbing story.

Melting Glaciers in Norther Italy Reveal Corpses of WWI Soldiers – The Telegraph

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Image via The Telegraph

The bodies, when they came, were often mummified. The two soldiers interred last September were blond, blue-eyed Austrians aged 17 and 18 years old, who died on the Presena glacier and were buried by their comrades, top-to-toe, in a crevasse. Both had bulletholes in their skulls. One still had a spoon tucked into his puttees — common practice among soldiers who travelled from trench to trench and ate out of communal pots. When Franco Nicolis of the Archaeological Heritage Office in the provincial capital, Trento, saw them, he says, his first thought was for their mothers. ‘They feel contemporary. They come out of the ice just as they went in,’ he says. In all likelihood the soldiers’ mothers never discovered their sons’ fate.

Couple Celebrates 66th Anniversary with a $15 Room at the Waldorf Astoria – HuffPo

A Staten Island couple’s love story just got even sweeter, thanks to a saved receipt.  On Sunday night, Tony and Jo Fioravante celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, the same place they spent their wedding night, ABC News reported.  The octogenarian couple even paid the same hotel rate that they did in 1948 — $15.75.  They were able to snag the deal due to a tradition the hotel has of honoring the original rate paid by couples who spent their wedding night there and are now celebrating an anniversary of 50 years or more, according to Conde Nast Traveler.

A Black Church’s Dilemma: Preserve A Building, Or Our Identity? -NPR

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Centennial Baptist Church. Image via NPR

Heritage tourism is a growing industry but in smaller towns like Helena, Ark., finding the resources to save lesser-known landmarks is a challenge. Inside Centennial Baptist, pigeons roost along the hardwood floors and pews where parishioners once worshiped.This isn’t just an endangered, beautiful building from the turn of the last century. Centennial Baptist Church is a National Historic Landmark. However, restoration plans have stalled because  of a clash of personalities, and age-old racial mistrust…

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.

Then Historic Places Saved This Year – Huffington Post

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Completed in 1975, the Peavey Plaza is one of the few landscape architecture sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Thought the City Council of Minneapolis voted to destroy it in 2012, preservationists fought the plan and succeeded. It will now be restored. Image via Huffington Post

“Every year, The National Trust for Historic Preservation highlights 10 places saved in the past year, as well 10 places that were unable to be saved from demolition or similar fates.  Here are 10 historic places that you’ll still be able to visit in the years ahead thanks to preservationists.”

A Brooklyn Church Uncovers a Long-Hidden Celestial Scene – New York Times

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Image via The New York Times

“At Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights, long-hidden stars have been uncovered in the ceiling of the building, a 165-year-old Episcopal church at Hicks Street and Grace Court, under a $5 million renovation that includes a new copper roof, new insulation, new lighting, new wiring and a much-needed cleaning of many of the 3,200 organ pipes. What had looked until a few months ago like a dull ceiling of plain wood planks turned out to be a dazzling celestial extravaganza of eight-pointed stars in gold, yellow and red — so lacy they might be taken for snowflakes — set in an expansive vault of royal blue.”

Memphis to Redevelop Abandoned Sears Distribution Center into Ambitious Health Care Hub – Next City

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Image via Next City

“Preservationists in search of good news this month can turn to Memphis, where the city council voted unanimously to shell out $15 million in local, state and federal funds for the Crosstown Redevelopment Project.  The vacant Sears Crosstown building, constructed and expanded in phases between 1927 and 1965, will be transformed into a $175 million mixed-use project. Sears stopped retail operations there in 1983 and the building has been abandoned since the company closed its distribution center in 1993. Blight has marred the neighborhood, now one of the poorest in Memphis, ever since.”

X is for X-Ray – Preservation in Pink

“X-rays are not just for people in hospitals or luggage in airport security; x-ray technology provides non-destructive testing techniques to aid in building forensics as well as art and object conservation. Non-destructive testing allows for greater exploration without unnecessarily harming historic fabric. X-rays can detect voids in building materials as well as leaks, cracks, and other signs of deterioration. Part of this is to understand the structure and ensure the safety of the researchers/contractors.”

A Conversation with Bob Vila – Preservation Nation

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Image via Preservation Nation

Ever wonder how Bob Vila came to love old houses? About his work with Ernest Hemmingway’s house in Cuba, Finca Vigia? Or what people do to their old houses that makes him cringe? Click through for a lovely interview with America’s favorite handy man.

Six Stories – 99% Invisible

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Image via 99% Invisible

“Elevators are old. History is full of things that lift other things. In ancient Greece, and China, and Hungary, there were systems of weights and pulleys and platforms designed to bring nobility–or their meals–to new heights.  And somewhere below were draft animals, or even people, tasked with turning wheels to bring these early elevators up and down. These elevators were dangerous. Ropes would snap, and then anything getting raised or lowered would plummet to the ground. Fall one story and you break your leg–fall two stories you break your neck. And this fear of falling kept building heights low. People only wanted to ascend as high as they could walk. The tallest buildings at the time were churches and lighthouses–buildings made up primarily of empty space.

And then came Elisha Otis…”

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.

Stunning Photos of 1940s Pittsburgh: Life Before Effective Air Pollution Laws – Take Part

Robert Moses Was Born 125 Years Ago Today: 10 Ways to Celebrate/Mourn His Controversial Legacy – The Bowery Boys

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Robert Moses. Image via The Bowery Boys

One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, Robert Moses was unleashed upon the world, born in New Haven, Connecticut, on Dwight Street.  He remains today one of the most powerful civic figures in American history, and obviously one of the most controversial.  Because of Moses, we have the modern New York City.  Many of its strengths and its difficulties can be traced, in some way, to decisions he made, from roads and housing to parks and waterways.  Can you really “celebrate” Robert Moses?  Of course you can.  Here’s ten particular ways you can ruminate upon the changes he inflicted upon the city, from the mighty highways to the large, concrete-heavy parks.

 

Spite Houses Ranked by Spite-ness – Hairpin

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The Montlake Spite House in Seattle. Image via Hairpin

A spite house is a house built for the express purpose of pissing someone else off. Personal comfort, adequate living space, and compliance with local zoning laws all come second to this all-important goal. Spite houses come in all shapes and sizes, but the best are absurdly small and very angry indeed. Here are a few of my favorites, ranked from least- to most-spiteful.

Celebrating 100 Years of Christmas Lights – Outside the Lines

Can you imagine celebrating the holiday season without Christmas lights? In North America, it is expected that festive strings will illuminate trees, homes, and city centers throughout the month of December. But the Christmas lights we have today have been a long time coming. Its evolution began in 18th century Germany and continues to progress each year.

Instagram Tour: A Wintery Mix of Pic of Historical Places From Around the Country – Preservation Nation

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“Fisher fine arts library #philly #upenn #snow #furness” — @knitterjenn, Philadelphia, Pa. Image via Preservation Nation

The best snowy shots from historic places from the @savingplaces Instagram feed.

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.

Scaffolding is All Over, Here’s Why The Monuments Still Look Majestic – Smithsonian Magazine

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Scaffolding designed by Michael Graves & Associates circa 2000. Interested in the specifications for the dramatic structure currently enshrouding the Monument? Check this excellent graphic from the Washington Post. Image via Smithsonian Magazine

There’s been so much scaffolding recently in Washington D.C. that it looks like the capital is recovering from an incredibly ruthless alien invasion, a knock-down drag-out superhero brawl, or some other action film-level disaster. In a city as widely visited as Washington D.C., a city where it seems that even structures of the smallest import are national landmarks, it’s not exactly desirable to have the monuments, memorials and buildings concealed behind wood and metal cages.  As a result, D.C. architects have gotten creative.  They are using enormous scrims printed with the image of the building/monument (a practice long used in Europe). And they are using beautifully designed illuminated scaffolding, like that on the Washington Monument.

Fort Lyon Treatment Facility in Colorado– Here and Now

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Fort Lyon was once on Preservation Colorado’s most endangered list. Image via Preservation Colorado

Fort Lyon, a former Army fort and sanitarium that opened after the Civil War feels like an Ivy League college campus – some people call it the Princeton of the Plains. It was a minimum security prison until two years ago when the state shut it down because of the budget shortfall.  Now it has a new life as an experimental drug treatment facility. When the prison closed, it was a huge blow to the region’s economy. State leaders eventually directed more than $10 million to reopen the facility for its new use. Preservation can happen in the most unexpected of ways.

The Awesomely Insane Heaven and Hell Nightclubs of 1890s Paris –  io9

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Le Ciel et l’Enfer was only one of your options if you wanted a morbid night club experience in 1890s Paris. Image via i09

Turn of the century Paris was choc-a-block with macabre night clubs where one could ponder mortality and be heckled by Satan while sipping on cocktails named after pestilence and disease.  Not my cup of tea, I’d probably rather have my libations free of plague and Satan, but these photos are pretty amazing!

Why Do Old Places Matter? – National Trust of Historic Preservation

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The stone walls and moat of Fort Monroe. Image via NTHP

“This series of essays will explore  the reasons that old places are good for people. It begins with what I consider the main reason—that old places are important for people to define who they are through memory, continuity, and identity—that “sense of orientation” referred to in With Heritage So Rich.These fundamental reasons inform all of the other reasons that follow: commemoration, beauty, civic identity, and the reasons that are more pragmatic—preservation as a tool for community revitalization, the stabilization of property values, economic development, and sustainability.”