The Biltmore, America’s largest house, is lavishly decorated for the holidays each year. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau took six years and 1,000 men to build and is a National Historic Landmark open to the public today. It takes a staff of 1,800 over a month to light and decorate over 100 Christmas trees, hang 10,000 feet of fresh garland, miles of ribbon and hang thousands of ornaments for the more than 300,000 visitors that visit during the holiday season… [read more]
This holiday season, Best Buy featured the house from the 1983 classic A Christmas Story in one of it’s commercials. I’ve never actually seen the entire movie from start to finish, but I’ve seen each scene (out of order, backwards and forwards) probably hundreds upon hundreds of times. (Ours is one of those families that turns on TBS’s A Christmas Story marathon on Christmas Eve and doesn’t turn it off until every present is unwrapped and every treat eaten on Christmas Day. It is the soundtrack to our entire holiday! And I’m happy to report that when it comes to A Christmas Story trivia, I’m the reigning office champ!) So when I saw the commercial, I was intrigued by the preservation effort, to say the least. I did a little Googling and discovered that the project is really quite interesting – and not a preservation effort at all. And although the nugget of my heart that is devoted to A Christmas Story is delighted, the big huge preservationist chunks of my heart are cringing and appalled! … [read more]
The National Trust works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Incorporated in 1894, The National Trust is one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom. It owns and operates heritage properties, including historic houses and gardens, industrial monuments and social history sites, most of which are open to the public free of charge. During the holiday season, the Trust opens many of its most important homes and landscapes for special events including visits from Santa, decorating and cooking workshops, Dickens readings and concerts… [read more]
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.
Jobs House Added As ‘Historic Resource’ – San Jose Mercury News
The humble home where Silicon Valley tech titan Steve Jobs built some of his first computers and co-founded Apple was added to a list of historic Los Altos properties Monday night. The designation will add another layer of review if renovations to the home are ever sought. The commission would be able to make a recommendation to the city council about any proposed changes.
A recap of one of my favorite sessions from last week’s National Trust Conference in Indianapolis by the inestimable Vince Michael, who moderated the discussion. The question posed: how do we get more minorities and inner-city dwellers involved in preservation? The answer: “Wrong Question. They are involved. … The question was more appropriately, how do we integrate our efforts with theirs? This is the same question National Trust President Stephanie Meeks (president and CEO of the National Trust) has been asking – how do we reach local preservationists?” To answer the question, “the Diversity Task Force has been talking with the National Park Service about Standards and Practices and how they might be amended or altered to create and recognize more diverse historic sites.” Read more for some of the panel’s conclusions!
In a daring gamble, the mayor of Paris recently shut off a major vehicle thoroughfare through the city, the highway along the Seine River. The move is part of his plan to reduce traffic in the city. The new space delighted Parisians and tourists this summer, but many wonder if it’ll be such a hot idea during the cold winter months. Xavier Janc, the head of the Berges project at Paris City Hall, says it’s designed to give Parisians what they want: nature, culture and sport. “But most of all we wanted to get rid of this urban highway that marred the historic heart of the city,” Janc says. “We wanted to give the river back to people who love Paris.”
A Discovery Becomes a Dilemma – Rembrandt’s Room
“In an earlier post I reported on the recent discovery of 17th century ceiling paintings in the Trippenhuis, the home of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. They were hidden behind an early 19th century plaster ceiling and the dilemma arose whether the plaster ceiling should be preserved or whether the 17th century paintings should be uncovered. In order to do the latter, the entire plaster ceiling would have to be removed. A seeming dilemma – but is it? Time to take a closer look. Last week I was able to visit the house which is not normally open to the public and to take photos.”
The Brooklyn Bridge Painstakingly Redesigned in Letterpress – The Atlantic Cities
Sarasota, Florida-based designer Cameron Moll spent three years researching and designing an intricate illustration of the Brooklyn Bridge composed entirely of type. In creating the drawing, Moll tried to capture some of the history behind the bridge. He chose fonts that honor the Germanic heritage of the the bridge’s architect, John Roebling. And he incorporated the names of Roebling, his son, and the last names of the men who died during the bridge’s construction into the design.
See! Save! Celebrate!
May is national Preservation Month! That means that people all over the country (from preservation organizations to local businesses to civic organizations) will be celebrating history and historic places with special events, community service opportunities, and demonstrations. This year’s theme is See! Save! Celebrate! Visit the National Park Service’s Preservation Month page, your State Historic Preservation Office Website, or the National Trust’s calendar for a list of activities in your area.
Lordy, lordy, look who’s forty!
Since 1973, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has sponsored Preservation Month with the help of local preservation groups, state historical societies, and business and civic organizations across the country. The program is designed to promote historic places for the purpose of instilling national and community pride, promoting heritage tourism, and showing the social and economic benefits of historic preservation.
All Atwitter about Preservation
While you are out and about enjoying all that Preservation Month 2013 has to offer, use Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to share photos and spread the word. Let everyone know just how awesome (and important) preservation is! The official hashtag for Preservation Month 2013 is #presmonth.
If you are in the Lexington, Kentucky area and are looking for a way to kick off Preservation Month, you should join the BGT for a deTour of Michler’s Florist and Greenhouse tonight at 5:30. After a tour of the 112 year family business, we’ll be walking over to Latrobe’s Pope Villa for refreshments and to celebrate Benjamin Latrobe’s 249th birthday, the 200th year of the house and Preservation Month.
I think this is an important point as we all look for meaningful ways to actually use old structures. They can’t all be museum houses, but they can be saved and be useful, if enough care and thought is put into them.
-Merry Powell, Interior Designer
Over the past 30 years Historic Tax Credits created 2.2 million jobs, leveraged $100 billion in investment, and rehabilitated more than 38,000 existing buildings.
This little factoid via The National Trust for Historic Preservation. If you are interested in learning more about HTCs or the threat to them during this fiscal crisis, please visit http://www.savehistoriccredit.org/.