We visited the Franklin Middle School campus today; the AISD board considered demolition contracts yesterday so that a new elementary school can be built on the site. Putting our hard-core preservation hat aside for awhile*, we went over to do a survey of what might exist there that would have meaning for the thousands who attended Franklin over the years since it was built as North Junior High during World War II.
One of our APL members had brought up the question of what will happen to some of the memorable items at Franklin. The AISD archives hopefully have saved some of the history of the school. Our member was wondering about some of the small items, such as a cutout Bronco that was part of the sign. There’s also a plywood logo with another Bronco over the west entrance. It’s not in great shape, but hopefully it can be restored and preserved somehow. In the cafeteria/auditorium there is a colorful full size bronco painting to the left of the stage. We couldn’t get a good photo of it due to reflections.
The cutout over the sign looks like metal, but may need to be redone, because it looks like it might de-laminate before too long without some paint on it. But the peeling surface does look kinda cool in an antique sort of way.
If you would like to somehow help save some of these Franklin items, let us know.
*And when we do put our preservation hat on again, it makes us say, “why would we want to tear down this building and send the materials to the landfill and then build a new one that won’t last nearly as long?”
Just a thought.
As of September 1, here’s the look at 1910 North 3rd. Our mason has completed the reconstruction of the two original chimneys. In recent years only one chimney has extended through the roof, but the column of brick existed for both, plus photographic evidence of the chimneys’ look. Next will be the shingles, going on this week.
Premieres at the Paramount September 9th at 7pm
Jay Moore’s documentary series, “History in Plain Sight” continues with the next eagerly anticipated installment: Wooten. Mr. H.O. Wooten is legendary in Abilene for building the Wooten Hotel, Abilene’s tallest building for many years, and what remains as its most opulent movie palace, the Paramount. You’re invited to attend a free premiere of the video at the Paramount on the night of September 9th at 7:00 p.m. The video will begin running on AISD-TV Channel 7 (Suddenlink Cable) after that. Copies of this DVD and the other three installments will be available at the Abilene Preservation League in the Elks Arts Center, 1174 North First Street, M-F during business hours.
J.D. Magee house from southeast, July 22, 2010, showing cypress columns removed in foreground.
The framer has really moved fast, and as you can see from yesterday’s photos, the roof is on–at least the felt part. The wraparound porch has been removed and will be reconstructed to be more like the original. The four majestic columns have been taken down for restoration and the capitals are safely inside the house. We’re currently getting prices on the painting. The new lead paint rules are something we’ll need to learn about. Shingles should be coming before too long.
J.D. Magee house from front, July 22, 2010
This morning took a tour with Blake Riley of Jeff Luther Construction of the fast-moving progress at the J.D. Magee home. The framers are going to town on the roof framing, and by next week the decking will be going on. Here’s some photos of the way it looked this morning. I remember when one of the rooms had 5 feet of debris in it.
We are still enjoying thinking about how much fun yesterday was at the Hunter Welcome Center. Bruce Shackelford, our keynote speaker, gave a fascinating look at the market for collectibles from the appraiser’s point of view. That includes some hilarious observations about his work as a guest appraiser for the popular PBS television series, “Antiques Roadshow.” Bruce went on to give some sage advice about the cultural value of historic preservation. We’re grateful for Bruce coming back to Abilene.
Cindy Deegan spoke some poignant words in her acceptance of the $700 first place prize for the Deegan’s home at 302 Riverside Dr. The house was vacant for more than four years before the Deegans adopted it and went to work. Sons Robert and John helped, often driving in from Austin. “We love broken things,” Cindy said. See the winning houses here.
Don’t miss next year, with another set of interesting homes. It will be Tuesday, May 3, 2011.
The APL is announcing this week that the Texas Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America will receive the Heritage Stewardship Community Service Award at the annual luncheon on May 4.
“The Preservation League at the Swenson House has benefited greatly from a number of Eagle Scout leadership projects which have enhanced the grounds,” said Bill Minter, Executive Director of the League. “Beginning with Hudson Beard’s restoration of the fish pond, which had not had any water in it for more than 60 years, there have been five Scouts to date who have completed their projects,” Minter said. “We are so grateful for the work these Scouts have done, and want to recognize the good that the organization does through the area governing council, the Texas Trails Council.”
Tickets to the luncheon are available for $45, or a table of eight for $500. Reservations may be made online or by calling the APL offices at 325-676-3775.
Increasing numbers of Americans are opting to live in close-in communities, preferring walkable neighborhoods and neighborhood schools. The proportion of home building that occurs in central cities has doubled since 2000 in 26 metro areas, writes Jonathan Hiskes in Grist.
In Memphis: new homes compatible with early 20th century designs
Recently in Memphis, we toured the historic Midtown area, home to the Evergreen historic district. Along with the mix of early 20th century homes was a brand new development of homes that were designed to be harmonious with the surrounding community. The shot at right shows one of them. Every lot was sold and every home was occupied by people who are taking great care of them. Such a shift in development trends is great for preservation!
Initiated in 2009, the Beautiful House Award recognizes homeowners who have made improvements to their homes in a historically compatible manner.
The work can be either from the recent past or simply a recognition of good maintenance practices over a long period of time.
The intent is to recognize families who have increased their home’s attractiveness and its contribution to the overall desirability of the neighborhood.
Today’s young families can rarely afford a new $150,000 “starter house” in one of the outlying neighborhoods. They need encouragement and examples of successful rehabilitations in older neighborhoods. This will contribute to a realization of the city’s infill goals, and it is more environmentally sustainable.
The result is more stable neighborhoods and increasing the ratio of homeowners to rental property in our historic neighborhoods.
I recently ran across some reading you might be interested in about how the “new normal” economy might affect historic preservation. Donovan D. Rypkema is a real estate and economic development expert with Place Economics in Washington, D.C. In his article for the National Trust Forum, “A 20/20 Vision into the Future: Preservation in the Midst of Economic Chaos,” Rypkema identifies twenty trends he believes will shape the future of historic preservation. Among the observations are…
- There is beginning to be a significant push for, and acceptance of, density in development.
- A rapidly increasing shift to using public transportation
- A renewed interest in neighborhood schools
- More multigenerational households
- A rather ominous use of historic designation as a NIMBY tool
Rypkema goes on to identify ten risks for the future that need to be addressed carefully. For example, the “green building movement” people need to be educated that there is nothing green about tearing down a historic building to replace with a “green” building. The article is available here
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