The Lincoln Memorial, site of the “the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”
Dedicated in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial honors President Abraham Lincoln. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech from its steps on 28 August 1963. Just eighteen steps below Lincoln’s statue, the exact location where MLK, Jr. stood to address the crowd of more than 250,000 is marked by an engraving. The memorial was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.
A weekly round-up of my favorite preservation related stories from around the web and in the news. Click on the title of each story to jump through to the original article/blog post.
Theories of Significance – Tom King
A great discussion about the different theories of significance preservationists use to justify listings in the National Register of Historic Places and how those theories break down into 6 different worldviews: the commemoration and illustration theory,the uniqueness-representativeness school, the scholarly value school, the ambience retention school, the kitsch school, and the community value school.
Architectural domes were the masterpieces of Rafael Guastavino whose amazing structures were built on the principle he created and patented: The Guastavino Tile Arch System. He famously designed the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and Carnegie Hall. But what most don’t know is that Guastavino retired to North Carolina where he continued to design magnificent arched spaces, including the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville, his final resting place. Click through to hear more!
Highly Specific Kitchenware: The Tomato Server – You Grow Girl
“Nothing should ever be touched with one’s fingers. This was one of the principles behind Victorian dining etiquette and it resulted in a plethora of highly specialized utensils and serving pieces, including the Tomato Server, a decorative slotted/pierced spoon designed specifically for serving slices of fresh tomatoes.”
In honor of the upcoming holiday weekend, a post about the cook out! Ever wonder when the “cook out” became a thing” or when we started using charcoal briquettes instead of wood or who invented the grill? Click through to find out!
Why List Case Study Houses? – LA Times
Ten Case Study houses from Los Angeles, Ventura and San Diego were listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Los Angeles Conservancy announced last week. The listing includes homes designed by household names of California modernism, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra and Pierre Koenig. All were part of the Case Study program organized by John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, in 1945. The L.A. Conservancy’s Modern Committee spearheaded the National Register nomination. Adrian Scott Fine, the conservancy’s director of advocacy, spoke with the LA Times about the importance of this national recognition, what it means for the historic houses and why an 11th home, Case Study House No. 23A, was deemed eligible to be listed but wasn’t because of the owner’s objection.
The Inspiring Story of Hamburg, NY – 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
Fifty-four years ago this week, Hawaii was admitted into the Union. LIFE.com 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 Las Vegas Tapes’: Remarkable footage of Sin City from 1976 – Dangerous 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.”
The National Register of Historic Places has a Flickr photo stream with over 10,000 historical and recent photographs of historic places. It includes sets of photos that cover a range of topics including Women’s History, American Indian, and Historic Hotels, as well as sets for individual states.
Just a warning, if you click this link, you may lose your afternoon! What a great/fun resource!
A new and hilarious resource for persuading stubborn ant-National Register types that listing is no big deal! “Basically, National Register listing is supposed to be a no-strings-attached honor, and the simple act of accepting this honor doesn’t compel you to do anything. In rare cases, there may be problems stemming from overlapping jurisdictions with state or local historical societies, or over-enthusiastic preservation groupies. Just do your homework, and except [sic] your honor, and everything will be fine.”
With Detroit’s bankruptcy in the news this week, TWC put together a beautiful (if you are into the whole ruin porn thing) slide show of Detroit’s abandoned and deteriorating historic buildings.
Gateway Cities Don’t Need a Silver Bullet – Boston Globe
Almost every year some silver bullet — a sports arena, a casino, a conference center — promises salvation and rebirth for legacy cities ( medium-sized metropolitan areas struggling with manufacturing decline and population loss are a never-ending project in many parts of the country). The truth is the silver-bullet syndrome can inhibit revitalization. A megaproject can become an important asset, but it is not a strategy for change in itself, unless it is integrated into larger schemes to make a meaningful contribution to the city’s future. A more incremental approach built on collaboration and partnerships — combined with a fresh appreciation of existing assets (like having faith in dense, walkable downtowns ), beginning with the physical urban form of these cities — holds more promise for rebuilding. The author goes on to suggest a number of other ways to reinvent struggling cities including, “don’t be afraid to demolish.” Thoughts, anyone?
Unlike in the US, China does not have eminent domain laws that allow it to take the property of private citizens for public works. As a result, builders sometimes have to elaborately construct around the property of owners who refused to sell, creating unbelievable islands of history in a sea of progress called “nail houses.” Click through for a gallery of this phenomena. You have to see it to believe it!
Just as street car stops spurred commercial and residential development in 19th century, the promise of a new streetcar line in Cincinnati is driving occupancy rates in formerly (nearly) empty commercial buildings.