Posts Tagged ‘National Trust for Historic Preservation’

I just wanted to quickly share this link to a recent National Trust Blog Post on saving the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit,  something that is essential to our Countries historic building stock and economy.

Spread the word and contact your legislators to save the Tax Credit!

The Hayden Building is a rare surviving H.H. Richardson commercial building that is being saved and converted in to mixed-use space thanks to state and federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.



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TGIF Readers! I feel like this is Friday #2 this week, with the holiday on Wednesday. Speaking of the 4th of July, since I am still coming down from my post-fireworks euphoria, I have decided to theme today’s Fantasy in honor of our recently passed holiday. As you may know (or may not, as I do have some foreign readers), Independence Day (often better-known as the 4th of July, for the date the holiday falls on) is an American Holiday in which the citizenry celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, by which the Founding Fathers of our nation stated that America was its own country and should be free of British rule. This act of treason led to war between Britain and the American colonies, which eventually led to the creation of the country we know today… and it all began on July 4, 1776 (granted, that’s the thumbnail sketch of the founding of the United States, as there were many acts of rebellion that led up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War, not to mention some confusion among when the Declaration was actually signed, but to avoid writing a book that’s been written several times over, I’ll leave us with the understanding that the holiday is on July 4th and we’re celebrating America).

Today, the 4th of July represents patriotism and love of country, both of which I can wholeheartedly support.  In honor of those sentiments, today’s Fantasy is tied to one of America’s most beloved Presidents: Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln was America’s 16th President, responsible for leading the Union through the Civil War, writing the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation, and he was also assassinated.  What many people don’t know about President Lincoln is that, although he loved the White House, he actually dearly loved another house in Washington, DC, more. This other  house was a seasonal retreat for Presidents.  It was (and still is) a cottage on the grounds of what was known as the Soldiers Home (Now known as the armed forces retirement home).

(Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Photo, by way of wikipedia)

The Cottage was built in 1842 for George Washington Riggs (who later went on to found Riggs National Bank… Yeah, I’ve never heard of that bank either, but the guy had enough money to found a bank, so there you go….) in the fashionable Gothic Revival style. However, it did not remain a private home for very long, as President Lincoln had taken up residence there by the summer of 1862. It is even said he wrote preliminary drafts of the Emancipation Proclamation in the cottage. (Photo from lincolncottage.org and Armed Forces Retirement Home)

The cottage underwent a major restoration beginning in 2005, and opened to the public for the first time in 2008.  The site was declared a National Monument by President Clinton in 2000, as well as a being included in the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark.   Today is is maintained and run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (Photo from National Geographic)

Hope you enjoyed this look at President Lincoln’s Cottage. If you are in Washington, D.C., you should check it out. If you won’t be in the D.C. area anytime soon, you can visit the Cottage Website here.

Have a great weekend!


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Happy Friday, Readers. Today’s fantasy isn’t a house but a house of Worship. It’s Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, and it is the oldest synagogue in America (building wise, anyway). I know, I am a bit late for Hanukkah, so please forgive me.  I had intended to post this last week,  but Ash and I had a change of plans for the holidays so this post got a bit delayed.

The Picture below is the exterior of Touro from the website Panaramio (by Dana Jensen)

Touro has a great website  and you can find it here. It also has a fascinating history.  In 1658, a group of 15 Jewish families came to Newport (from Spain) after they heard about the religious freedoms that Roger Williams proposed for the new colony of Rhode Island. They started a community there that grew for over 100 years, and in 1758, they colony adopted a spiritual leader named Isaac Touro, who was a Dutch Jew. The following year, they the congregation purchased land and hired well-known architect Peter Harrison to design their synagogue, which was finished in 1763. When the British occupied Newport in 1776, they commandeered Touro Synagogue for use as a hospital, which essentially saved the building from being burned or ransacked like so many others in the city.

After the British were defeated, the synagogue was used as a meeting place for the Rhode Island General Assembly and the Supreme Court. In 1790, Touro was mentioned by Washington in a letter telling the Newport Congregation that this new Nation would  “give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

Touro survives to this day as an active house of worship.

The amazing interior shot of Touro below comes from Stevens.edu, The older image is from Offbeat Travel and the last image is an historic postcard view from the National Museum of American Jewish History’s Jewish postcard exhibition.

Touro Synagogue: Newport, RI

You all know how much I encourage you to visit Newport, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but when you do go MAKE SURE you go to Touro. It’s breathtaking!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!


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Happy Friday, Readers. As some of you may know, Ash and I went on a small vacation recently. First, we drove down to Philly to visit my best friend, and then continued on to the Shenandoah River Valley in Virgina.  There we did a mini Presidential tour of Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and Ash Lawn-Highland, the home of James Monroe. Both of these properties (and the house we visited in Philly, but more on that next week) provided me with a lot of great photos and information for you.  However, as some long time readers may recall, I already covered Monticello here, so today, I present to you Ash Lawn-Highland.

Highland, the home of President James Monroe, was built in 1793. He called it his “Castle Cottage”, and while the original 1790s section of the house is very small compared to the grander Presidential homes located nearby, namely Jefferson’s Monticello and Madison’s Montpelier, the house has all the charm you could ever want. Today it exists with a c. 1870 addition on the front of the “Castle Cottage” but this addition is very easy to differentiate from the older part of the home, due to its striking yellow clapboards and burgundy trim, as well as subtle Victorian details.

Monroe chose this particular site for his plantation at the encouragement of his friend Thomas Jefferson so that they could be neighbors, and indeed, you can actually see Monticello from Highland when the trees are bare.  The Monroe family took up residence in 1799 and stayed until 1825, when Monroe was forced to sell the property to pay off substantial debts incurred during his Presidency (including the costs associated with furnishing the White House after its reconstruction after the War of 1812).  The property came to be known as Ash Lawn during the late 19th century, when the Massey family planted ash trees along the long, winding driveway and around the grounds, many of which remain today.
Below are some photos that Ash took while we visited. The site is absolutely beautiful and if you are in the area you should definitely visit!
Below is the back of the original house.
The next shot is of the new front entry created when the 1870’s addition was put on.
This is a view of the side of the addition. Look at those decorative vents, so cool!
This is a view of the slave quarters. It is now set up as three different interpretative spaces, one as guest quarters, one as slave quarters and one as a kitchen.
Below is a picture of the well house. Jefferson suggested that Monroe dig a 60 foot well.
Finally here is a shot of the alley of Ash trees planted after the Monroe’s left, which is what lead to the Ashlawn moniker.
Hope you enjoyed Ashlawn Highland. Have a great weekend!

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It’s been a good day today. The Transportation Enhancement program will be sticking around for another six months thanks to the Senate.

Read a bit more about it in this Preservation Nation Blog

I thought I’d share photos of these beautiful transportation resources in celebration.  The Keystone Arch bridges in Middlefield, Massachusetts are remarkable, entirely dry-laid stone edifices built to carry the Western Railroad over the Westfield River.  These soaring arches were constructed in 1840 and carried rail traffic for over 100 years.  Today, they stand sentinel over Massachusetts’ first-designated Wild and Scenic River on a bypassed section of the original 1840 railroad grade, which serves as an unbelievable trail for viewing the splendor of nature and man-made marvels side-by-side.  Providing access to natural and architectural treasures like these is what the Transportation Enhancements program is all about, and it can continue to bring the American public closer to our vast and unique country as long as we continue to support it.

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Hey everyone.

This post is a quick PSA.

It seems that funding is being cut everywhere you look in the current economic climate. However, Preservation doesn’t get much funding to begin with, and it seems even more of our funding is now in jeopardy.  The Transportation Enhancements Program may be on the chopping block and we Preservationists and Preservation enthusiasts need to speak up to save it!  This program has helped to preserve historic roads and bridges, to enhance historic downtown streetscapes, to maintain scenic and historic parkways and byways, and to rehabilitate and revitalize historic transportation resources that would have otherwise been abandoned or demolished.  It is the single largest funding source for historic preservation in the country, and has helped to save countless resources, from historic railroad stations and freight sheds, to stone arch bridges, to the acquisition of scenic easements to preserve our historic battlefields.  Examples of the great things that Transportation Enhancement funding has accomplished can be found at the National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse

For more information and a handy link to email your Senator, please visit this Preservation Nation Blog.

With so few jobs in our relatively small field, and with museums and historic interest groups reeling from the recent loss of funding to programs like Save America’s Treasures, the Preservation field desperately needs to save what little Federal funding remains, to keep professionals at work.  In a field that has been working over the past 40-plus years to gain the trust and assistance of state and local officials and the general public, working to ensure the preservation of our national, regional and local identity, and striving to be seen as more than the group of crazed anti-progress zealots often referred to as the “hysterical society”, we need all of the professional guidance and funding available.  Don’t get me wrong, volunteers are wonderful people and can often be the difference between a Preservation project succeeding or languishing indefinitely, but Preservation in this country can’t be accomplished by volunteers alone, and the sort of funding that keeps people in our field working is disappearing rapidly!

So, please get in touch with your Senator and let them know that the Transportation Enhancement Program is one that our country needs!


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Hello Readers.

If you are anything like a lot of Preservationists (or Old House enthusiasts, if you don’t feel you fall under the Preservationist label), chances are, you like to look at historic houses for sale. Whether or not you’re actually in the market, sometimes it’s just nice to dream!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has a great page where they list historic homes for sale,  They even have a  weekly blog that features some of the properties.  Here’s a recent post.

Now that you know of a couple of ways to kill an hour (or more) day-dreaming about what life would be like in these gorgeous homes, I’m going to feature something a bit closer to home for me, because I like to daydream. Fair warning, though!  I’ve been on a First Period/Georgian jag recently and this affects my choices…. Oh, and another warning…. please don’t hate me if you fall in love with this house immediately and start scheming up ways to sell your firstborn child in exchange for the amazing Samuel Davis House. Just in case you have an extra $800k lying about and you promise to at least give me a tour (or you want to get me an early Christmas gift….), here is a proper listing for the house. This listing is where many of these pictures are from, but there are more for you to ogle, if you actually go to the listing.

The Davis House was built in around 1680. It’s a fabulous Salt Box (have I mentioned my love of salt-boxes before?) and appears to be in pristine even “museum quality” condition… if you speak Realtor.

Can’t you just see your replica pewter tankards and redware in that corner cupboard? (Okay… maybe Ash and I are some of only a handful of people with replica pewter and redware… but you get the point)

Wallace Nutting called, he wants his photo-shoot back! Still though… Check out that hearth, even the gun seems “quaint” (again I’m channeling my inner Realtor).

And just in case you want to go fully Authentic, there is plenty of room on the grounds for you to plant your cuttings garden, so you can practice natural dying for your homespun textiles, flower and herb drying and midwifery!
Well, that’s all for today everyone, and I sincerely apologize for any drooling that your day-dreaming may cause!
Have a great weekend!

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