Tagged: London

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


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

Savage House

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


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

white war

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

centennial baptist

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.

Explore America’s 11 Most Endangered Places – Preservation Nation


The Worldport Terminal at JFK Airport also made the list this year. Image via Preservation Nation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its list of the most endangered historic places in the US. Among them are  the James River (threatened by a proposed power line project), the Mountain View Black Officers Club at Fort Huachuca, Houston’s Astrodome, and the historic rural school houses of Montana.  Click through to learn more about theses places and why they are in danger.

SoHo Meets The Hamptons – Architizer


Rendering of completed Watchcase development. Image via Architizer

“Like its cufflinks, cut crystal chalices, and acute alcoholism, the Hamptons’ architecture is quite often inherited. Such is the case with the historic Watchcase factory in Sag Harbor—but rather than taking the form of a nearly Mayflower-era beach bungalow, this previously deserted piece of industrial infrastructure is being revamped as loft-style condominiums. Maintaining its timepiece namesake, Watchcase presents a new urbanized proposition to the sleepy-chic streets on Long Island’s East End. In a village where a driftwood tchoctke atelier rubs elbows with a Donna Karan concept boutique, Beyer Blinder Belle Architects (of Grand Central Terminal and Brooklyn Navy Yard renovation acclaim) has brought a bit of street to the beach. Grey Gardens, meet city mouse.”

Turning Sad Suburban Office Parks Into Mixed Use Destinations –  Co.Exist

“Suburban office parks today are depressing and life-sucking places to spend eight hours a day. But turning them into mixed-use developments is exactly what people should be doing. These developments make the suburbs more livable and ensure that residents don’t have to travel all over the place to do the things they want–eat, shop, go to a movie, etc.”

Change Is On The Horizon For London Skyline – NPR

Cheese Grater

London’s 122 Leadenhall Street (nicknamed the “Cheese-Grater”) is shown under construction on March 5. Once complete it will be London’s second-tallest building. The recent construction of numerous skyscrapers has sparked concern that views of historic landmark buildings, such as St Paul’s Cathedral, are being obscured. Image via NPR

Heated battles have erupted in Britain as growth and development in London has resulted in a changing skyline. “Until recently, London has been a low-rise city.
 Even now, a 12-story building is considered rather tall.
 But a spate of new skyscrapers is raising questions about the kind of city London should be.”  Taller building and a changing skyline effect London’s many historic buildings – views of them and views from them.  This has preservationists and UNESCO worried. Jump through to find out which London landmarks have been most effected by the changes, which might lose their World Heritage Site status, and what a compromise between developers and preservationists might look like.

20 Photos of Iconic Structures Mid-Construction – Gizmodo

Manhattan Bridge 1909

Construction of the Manhattan Bridge, 1909. Image via Gizmodo

“Still, for most of us, it’s hard to imagine that iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building ever didn’t exist. In the same way we take these buildings and bridges for granted, we also rarely consider what cities were like before—or during—their construction. So, with that in mind, check out 20 of our favorite vintage construction photos below. And keep in mind, this is just a jumping off point—post yours in the comments, below.”


Have a fantastic weekend, everybody!

This Week

A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news.

New York, You’ve Changed

North by Northwest title shot. Image via Scouting New York

In case you missed my gush of excitement yesterday, Scouting New York is my new favorite website.  Written by film location scout, Nick Carr, the site chronicles his exploration of the city in search of the perfect place to film a scene.  His quest often takes him to historic parts of the city and he’s always discovering interesting nooks and crannies (historic or not).  In this post, he compares screen shots from Alfred Hitchcock’s film North by Northwest with the actual New York locations where they were filmed as they appear today.  We can see what has changed and what hasn’t since 1957 and what is real and what is a set created for the film. The blend of side by side comparison and film trivia makes for a super fun read!   While you are at it, don’t miss Part II!

Menokin Glass House

Rendering of Menokin glass and steel structure. Image via Preservation Frame of Mind

Built in 1769, Menokin, the former home of Frances Lightfoot Lee and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe, is currently a ruin.  Since 1995, the Menokin Foundation has painstakingly worked towards its rescue. Luckily, the house was well-documented by HABS in the 1940s, so the Foundation has a great source to work from. They have cataloged and organized and planned and now that have an incredibly innovative plan.

How many times have you visited an historic site only to discover mid-tour that most of what you are seeing is a recreation? Pretty disappointing, right?  The Menokin Foundation agrees. Rather than reconstruct the building, they plan to build a glass and steel structure tied to the existing frame work that will mimic the original massing, form, and detail of the building.  “With this glass concept, there is complete transparency regarding what’s new and what’s historic. The glass is intended to be a demonstration of the original fabric’s absence, a separate artifact in its own right.” Check out Preservation Frame of Mind’s post for more information about the plan for Menokin’s future, as well as its current state.

Tomb of Mayan Queen Discovered

Carved alabaster vessel helped to identify the Mayan queen’s tomb. Image via the Global Heritage Fund

“Not far from Mirador, in the Petén region of northern Guatemala, lies a pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site called El Perú-Waka’.  Some 1,600 years ago, El Perú-Waka’ was a powerful city with tens of thousands of residents, ideally situated for trading along the San Pedro River.  Recently, it became the site of one of this year’s most exciting archaeological discoveries:  the tomb of Lady K’abel, considered the greatest ruler of the Late Classic period.”   – The Global Heritage Fund

Rooftop Camping for Preservation

Athenaeum in Indianapolis. Image via Historic Indianapolis

Preservationists are always working hard to raise money and awareness for their projects. This week the director of the Athenaeum Foundation camped out on the historic clubhouse’s roof to raise funds for its preservation.  She did so in honor of the 20th anniversary of former director, David Wilkie’s 60 day rooftop camp-out that also raised funds for one of Indianapolis’ oldest clubhouses still used for its original purpose.  Other events on the rooftop, including sunrise yoga, a film screening and a concert, were also planned and open to the public. Visit Historic Indianapolis‘ website for more information on this unique fundraiser and public awareness event.

From the Highline to the LowLine and Now an Urban Mushroom Farm!

Proposed Mushroom Farm beneath Oxford Street, London. Image via Architizer

A few weeks ago, I told ya’ll about a proposal to adaptively reuse a former underground New York trolley terminal as an underground urban park in the same vein as the use of the former railroad tracks for the popular Highline project. This week, London announced the results of its own competition to create a Highline-type space.  And the winner is an underground mushroom farm that will reuse abandoned tunnels under Oxford Street.  You couldn’t even make this stuff up!  Head over to Architizer for more details (like the planned mushroom restaurant!).

Coal Miner’s Daughter

Lorretta Lynn’s birthplace. Image via Backroad Vagabond

When Lorretta Lynn sang, “Well, I was born a coal miner’s daughter/In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Hollow,” this is the house she was crooning about. Deep in the hills of Johnson County, Lynn’s brother now curates the family home and offers tours from Webb’s Country Store for just $5.  Recently, the Backroad Vagabond made the trek to far Eastern Kentucky to check out the holler.  Read all about her adventure and the small coal mining community here.

Tour of Places with Art

Hollingworth’s painting Elevator, Tower Building ca 1935. Image via the Mississippi Museum of Art

History, historic places and art are often intertwined. Yesterday, the Mississippi Museum of Art explored this concept by offering a tour of the places Mississippi artist, William Hollingsworth, painted in the 1930-1940s in and around Jackson, Mississippi.  How cool is that?! I can imagine this concept being used for so many other artists in communities worldwide! It could even make a great fundraiser.  Thank you Preservation in Mississippi for spreading the word about this creative tour!