Tagged: Cleveland

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.

Saved from Demolition: The Cleveland House Where Langston Hughes Became a Writer – The Atlantic Cities


Former Cleveland home of poet Langston Hughes. Image via Atlantic Cities

“It’s a modest but substantial dwelling, a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath colonial built in 1890 at 2266 East 86th Street in Cleveland. Walking by, you might not even notice it.  But under the steeply pitched roof in the third-floor attic, high school-aged Langston Hughes rented a room between 1917 and 1919.  The milepost was in danger of demolition not long ago. The home, like many structures in this part of town, had been neglected and then abandoned. At one point it was condemned, despite its Cleveland landmark designation.  But now the space has been completely renovated by the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, a community housing organization, and put on the market for $85,000.”

MIT Study: Benefits of Placemaking Go Deeper Than Better Places – DC Street Blog


Cleveland residents led the design of “Intersection Repair,” cleaning and beautifying blighted areas. Image: Neighborhood Connections

“‘Placemaking’ activities like this one — defined as the ‘deliberate shaping of an environment to facilitate social interaction and improve a community’s quality of life’ – have important benefits that last far beyond when the street barriers are packed up and traffic returns, according to a new report by Susan Silberberg and her research team at MIT. According to their report — Places in the Making: How Placemaking Builds Places and Communities — the actual process of placemaking can be even more important than the physical outcome….Projects build social capital and empower citizens to drive change in their communities. And that can have a powerful impact long after the project’s completion. ‘The act of advocating for change, questioning regulations, finding funding, and mobilizing others to contribute their voices engages communities — and in engaging, leaves these communities better for it,’ Silberberg writes.'”

How An Aqueduct Turned Los Angeles Into a Garden of Eden – NPR

Los Angeles

Los Angeles saw a dramatic boom in growth after the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The system delivers water from the Owens River in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the city. Image via NPR

“‘The state of California would be different, arguably the world would be different, without the L.A. Aqueduct,’ says Jon Christensen, the editor of Boom Magazine. The publication’s latest issue looks at the 100-year anniversary of the aqueduct.  While the aqueduct brought water to Los Angeles, it also took it from somewhere else: Owens Valley. Christensen tells NPR’s Arun Rath that over the years there was a lot of anger and accusations that L.A. took the water by force.”

The Brains Behind Better Blocks – DC Street Blog

Better Blocks

Better Blocks project in Kansas City. Image via DC Street Blogs

“The Better Block project, founded less than 10 years ago in Dallas, Texas, is not only changing streets for the better — in many ways, it’s changing the urban planning process.  Better Block brings “pop-up,” temporary businesses into abandoned buildings, creates temporary bike lanes with chalk and cones, turns underused parking spaces into outdoor cafés, and generally celebrates the awesome potential of ordinary urban places. The strategy of using temporary installations — a prime example of ‘tactical urbanism‘ — allows people to reimagine their neighborhoods while circumventing time-consuming and potentially hostile regulatory and political processes.”

Report of Nazi-Looted Trove Puts Art World in an Uproar -NYT

German Art

Lennart Preiss/Getty Images
The Munich apartment building where the authorities were said to have found about 1,400 works of art that were confiscated under the Nazis or sold cheaply by owners trying to flee Hitler. Image via NYT

“The Bavarian authorities swooped in on Cornelius Gurlitt’s home and seized about 1,500 works estimated to be worth $1.4 billion, according to the news magazine Focus. German officials said the raid occurred on Feb. 28, 2012.  If confirmed, the discovery would be one of the biggest finds of vanished art in years. But word of it left almost equally big questions unanswered: Why did the German authorities let nearly two years pass before such a sizable find was disclosed? What will become of the recovered works of art? Did Mr. Gurlitt continue to make sales even after the raid? And where is he today?”

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.

Abandoned Walmart Now America’s Largest Library – Web Urbanist


Image via Web Urbanist

Big box stores abandoned by corporate entities are difficult to reuse because of their large square footage. In McAllen, Texas an unused Walmart was transformed into the largest single story library in the US! It is now a vibrant community hub, and the city saved a bundle on infrastructure. What other uses can you think of for adapting big box stores for new uses? Schools, Fitness Centers, Lazer Tag, Indoor skate park!?!

The Strangest Neighborhood in New York City – Scouting New York

Harding Park began its modern life in the early 1900s as a summer resort community for New Yorkers looking to escape the city. After WWII, they became permanent residences. Many of the tiny bungalows remain untouched, while others have been expanded. The neighborhood is charming and totally uncharacteristic of the Bronx. There are chickens!

If You Build It, They Will Come: How Cleveland Lured Young Professionals Downtown – The Atlantic Cities


Image via Atlantic Cities

“When the Maron family decided to redevelop an entire city block in downtown Cleveland, the area was so blighted no restaurateur would lease space there. A decade later, the East Fourth neighborhood is home to Food Network personalities, a House of Blues, and free Saturday yoga classes. Café-style seating spills into the pedestrian-only street. Apartments on the block are fully leased, and a 100-unit building under construction across the street has already reached full capacity.” Click through to learn more!

Dredging South Carolina’s River’s for Long Forgotten Lumber – NPR

In South Carolina, logging crews are cruising rivers in the hopes of finding old growth wood preserved in the mire deep below. Using old railroad maps as guides to find the sites of former saw mills and sonar technology they are able to harvest logs long buried in the muck. These old growth trees with tight growth rings and distinctive patterns are highly prized by carpenters, because they are rare. Long ago, most of South Carolina’s (and the US’s) old growth forests were logged.  A single log dredged from the river can fetch more than $800 on the market!

Eco-goats to Take Over Congressional Cemetery – Washington Post

A herd of more than 100 goats will be grazing at Congressional Cemetery — where luminaries including J. Edgar Hoover and John Philip Sousa repose — as part of a demonstration project to show off the animals’ ecologically friendly landscaping skills – “eliminating vines, poison ivy, ground cover and even fallen debris all the while fertilizing the ground,” promise the organizers of the event, the nonprofit Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery and Annapolis-based Eco-Goats. I would also think that using goats is more preservation friendly – using large equipment to mow the lawn, clear debris, etc always has the potential to damage monuments!  What a great idea!

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.

Midcentury Furniture + Grandkid Nostalgia = Modern Trend – NPR


“NPR’s Andrea Hsu paid $75 for her midcentury modern table and chairs, shown here in a 1963 Drexel Declaration catalog. She quickly realized it was a steal.” Image via NPR

So I think we all know that Midcentury furniture and architecture is a huge trend these days. But why? Turns out people tend to like what their grandparents liked and reject what their parents like. It happened in the 60s with Art Deco, as well.  Additionally, there is a lot of Midcentury Mod to be had. “After World War II, home ownership surged. People who bought homes in the 1950s and ’60s would now be in their 70s and 80s. Many no longer want or need houses full of furniture.”

Done on a Dime: Creative Reuse Method Aims to Save Neighborhoods -Freshwater Cleveland

1171 Addison Ave

Image via Freshwater Cleveland

In Cleveland, a developer is renovating homes scheduled for demolition for a fraction of the cost of a typical rehab by using inexpensive local labor and materials bought at places like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  He prefers historic homes with balloon frames because “which are strong enough to withstand the removal of interior walls and ceilings. The net effect is that Scaravelli can fix up his houses more cheaply. ‘I don’t have to fix that wall because it’s not there,’ he quips, gesturing at the open space.”  By inexpensively and creatively rehabbing vacant buildings and then renting them at reasonably rates, he is helping to strengthen Cleveland neighborhoods that are in decline. After seeing his success, other developers see his methods as a new model.

30 Terrific Tools for Small Businesses – Forbes

Small businesses and historic spaces/historic Main Streets very often go hand-in-hand, therefore, their success or failure can have a profound effect on the historic built environment. Small business face a lot of challenges, but Forbes is here to help. Here is a list of 30 great tools to help small businesses succeed!

To Be Saved Anatok (an African American and Religious) Needs Help TODAY – The Kaintuckeean


Image via The Kaintuckeean

Anatok is the birthplace of  Daniel Rudd. Born into slavery, Rudd would go onto establish the American Catholic Tribune and found the National Black Catholic Congress. Anatok is currently in danger of demolition as neighboring Bethlehem High School seeks to expand. Time is running out. Today is the last day for preservationists (who hope to partner with the high school to adapt and reuse the mansion as an education space) to receive matching funds for donations. According to Preservation Kentucky,  “if preserved, this historic site would be the only site directly associated with the rise of Black Catholicism in Bardstown – known as the cradle of Catholicism in the early 19th century on the Western Frontier.”

Please contact Preservation Kentucky at director@preservationkentucky.org if you can help save this important piece of  Kentucky, Catholic, and African American history.

Crowd Funding Success: Silo City Rocks – Adventures in Heritage

silo city

Image via Silo City Rocks

“Crowd funding is getting a lot of buzz in the heritage world. But there are very few examples of instances where its worked. At a recent #builtheritage chat the only cited example was the creator of The Oatmeal, who raised funds to buy the lab  (a historic building) of Nikola Tesla to  create a museum. They raised over $1 million. However, there is another recent example I’d like to share. It was a crowd funding campaign through Indiegogo to raise funds to turn a grain silo in Buffalo into a rock climbing gym. The new centre will be called Silo City Rocks.”

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.


Shocking Demolition of Frank Lloyd Wright Design – Hyperallergic


“Hoffman Show Room in 1955 (photographed by Ezra Stoller, via steinerag.com”

The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Mercedes Showroom (ca. 1957) on Park Avenue was quietly demolished this week. The showroom, which had been vacated by Mercedes in 2012 at the end of their lease. “As Crain’s New York reported, on March 22 the new owners were called by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to convey the city’s consideration of designating the showroom a landmark. Just after this on March 28 is when the owners of the building, Midwood Investment & Management and Oestreicher Properties, reportedly contacted the Department of Buildings for a demolition permit, which was approved that day. As Matt Chaban with Crain’s wrote: ‘Ironically, it was the Landmarks Commission’s good intentions, and a disconnect between it and the Department of Buildings, that doomed the dealership.'”

Cleveland Celebrates Superman, Its Hometown Hero – NPR


“Panels from Action Comics No. 1, the first Superman comic, adorn the site of illustrator Joe Shuster’s former apartment building, long since demolished.” Image via NPR

Cleveland is known for a lot of things: its rust belt city status, losing Lebron to the Miami Heat, Harvey Pekar, the Indians, Rock and Roll… Superman? Not so much. But, as it turns out,  Superman’s creators Jerry Siegal and Joe Shuster are Cleveland’s native sons. As we approach the 75th anniversary of the “Man of  Steel,” Cleveland is looking to promote Superman’s roots. ‘There’s only one Cleveland, there’s only one Superman. And why is it that we don’t embrace our legacy, our past, our history?’ asks Mike Olszewski, who heads the Siegel and Shuster Society.” Check out this fun article to hear how Cleveland plans to commemorate its super hero heritage.

The Problem With Calling Cities ‘Post-Industrial’ – Atlantic Cities

“Former heavy manufacturing hubs around the Great Lakes like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee often get roped together under the heading of “post-industrial” (when, that is, we’re not otherwise identifying them by their prevalence of rust). The term poses at least two problems, though: Industry still exists in many of these places, and the very notion of defining them by their relationship to the past can hamstring us from planning more thoughtfully for their future.”

The Return: What Happens When You Revisit a Memorable Place? – Preservation Nation Blog

“I recently spotted this great piece about re-reading books that we loved. Author Guy Gavriel Kay says, ‘There’s an anxiety I feel when picking up a book I loved when young, preparing to read it again. I think it has to do with how we define ourselves, in part, by what we’ve loved. Books (not only books, of course) that reach deeply into us at twelve or seventeen or twenty-two shape the person we see ourselves as being.’ Substitute ‘book’ with ‘historic places,’ and his words still resonate.”  How do you feel about historic and/or significant places when you revisit them as an adult? Are there any places too sacred to your childhood to mar with an adult’s critical eye?

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 Place Worth Living: Defending a Deeply Stigmatized Neighborhood – Rust Wire

This is part of a series on being a white person in the African-American Hough neighborhood of Cleveland. You can see the intro, why it’s like a small townMansfield Frazier’s responsehistory of the neighborhood, and @#!& black people say to white people.

“I know you can relate. We experience the Stigma of Place all through the Rust Belt. The Stigma is why I never know what to say at parties when someone asks me, “So what is it like to live in Hough?” I usually just say, “It’s a lot of things.” I find myself just telling about the good things, since I know they’ve probably only heard the bad. But sometimes I feel like they are just waiting for me to say I’ve experienced crime so they can say “Aha, I knew it” and confirm their Stigma. As a result, I’m constantly at a loss to explain my choice of place to even my family and friends because I don’t want to experience more of the Horrible Things: the look, the pat on the back, or the argument.”

Grande Central Station Turns 100 – Gothamist

Grande Central

Happy birthday, Grande Central! Image via Gothamist

On February 1, Grand Central Station in New York City turned 100!  To celebrate, Grande Central Shops and Restaurants rolled back their prices to 1913.  19¢ slice of cheesecake at the Oyster Bar & Restaurant?  Yes, please! I wish I could have been there!

Grey Gardens Estate Available as Summer Rental – HuffPost


Image via Hooked on Houses

“We just learned that you can now soft-shoe your way to the Hamptons and rent the legendary Grey Gardens estate this summer.

For just $125,000, you can reside in the home that was made famous by Jacqueline Kennedy’s cousins Edith “Big Edie” Ewing Bouvier Beale and Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale from June to July. And if you’ve seen the riveting documentary “Grey Gardens,” don’t fret. The home, from what we can see, is cat and raccoon-free, and has been restored to its past beauty.”

Spanish Tile Still Vibrant Amid Cuba’s Decaying Streets – RPRTPhoto


Image via rprtphoto

“Most of Havana’s once stately buildings are decaying to varying degrees.  Whether built of limestone, cement or stucco, the marine environment combined with decades of neglect have taken their toll.  Crumbling facades, peeling paint, rusting iron and decaying wood mar most of these lovely structures, but each building’s character and former grace always seem to shine through, even when the exterior walls are all that’s left.  It makes for a somewhat surreal setting, and some neighborhoods have an almost postapocalyptic ambiance. At times I felt like I was walking through a movie set and not a real city.”

How the Disintegration of Naples’ Cultural History Affects You – Florence and the Historian


Image via Florence and the Historian

“It would be tactless to say that issues like poverty, unemployment, and national debt are less important than maintaining a nation’s cultural heritage. However, we are all impacted by history every day whether we realize it or not: humanity would not be where it is today without all of the past events that have shaped the world in both big and small ways. In fact, history is being created every second, though we may not think that it is a big deal at the time, and we are all a part of it. Though there are and have been many, MANY histories since the rise of the modern human, all humans are connected with one another as a species. The degradation and loss of Naples’ history is a tragedy for the world and everyone in it.”

Documentary About Muffler Men – Route 66 News

“Stone Baker soon will launch “American Giants,” a series of online films about Muffler Men — the tall fiberglass figures that graced roadside America during the 1960s and ’70s.”  How fun is this?!

Town Branch Park – Herald Leader

town branch

Image via Herald Leader

In local news, “[a] New York City firm — Scape/Landscape Architecture — got the nod from a panel of five judges over the weekend to design Town Branch Commons, a new park to run through downtown Lexington.”  The Town Branch is a branch of Elkhorn Creek that was an essential resource to early settlers, but by the mid-19th century it was buried to expand valuable downtown real estate. It now runs beneath the streets and buildings, but may soon see the light of day if Scape’s project proposal is implemented. The scale and scope of the Scape’s proposed design is ambitious, but (supposedly – I’m a little skeptical) doable.  It’s also beautiful and transforms dozens of acres of black top surface parking into downtown oases. (No word on where people will park if the series of parks are built.) Exciting times for Lexington, Kentucky!