Preservation Photos #229

The lenticular truss bridge in Highgate Falls, VT.

The lenticular truss bridge in Highgate Falls, VT.

This two-span wrought iron lenticular truss bridge was constructed in 1887 by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company in Highgate Center. It currently serves pedestrians. A bit about lenticular truss bridges (and other metal truss bridges here):

Lenticular trusses consist of both upper and lower curved chords, giving the bridge the shape of a lens (hence the name lenticular). This bridge type gained popularity during the early 1880s, and a number were constructed in Vermont. 

Boston Marathon Day

Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts, which commemorates the first battle of the American Revolution. Today is also known as the day of the Boston Marathon to us runners. Boston in an important race, this year more so than others due to the tragic events of the 2013 race. Some are running for those killed, those injured, in support of Boston and runners everywhere, and for countless other reasons. To many runners, Boston is THE race. Since you have to qualify based on time and age, it’s often a personal triumph to marathoners. The spirit of the Boston Marathon is contagious. Having not run Boston myself (maybe some day), I’m cheering on a few dear runner friends today, wishing them the absolute best experience.


A few Boston facts for you.

  • The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897, though it was only 24.5 miles as opposed to the full 26.2 miles that we know today.
  • Why the Boston Marathon? The 1896 Olympic Games in Athens included a marathon race, which was based on Pheidippides’ fabled run from Marathon to Athens. When the Boston Athletic Association wanted a race in 1897 of similar style for the New Patriots Day, they chose a route from the Revolutionary War. (See more in this article from The Atlantic).
  • The race begins in Hopkinton and ends on Boylston Street in Boston (see map).
  • Heartbreak Hill is at mile 20.5. While it’s not the worst hill by itself, any hill at mile 20 is not welcome (at least the uphill part). And since mile 20 is often referred to as “the wall,” this hill packs an extra punch.
  • Women were not allowed to run in the marathon until 1972 (no joke!). From the History Channel: Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb couldn’t wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.
  • There are approximately 36,000 people racing Boston today. 

Are you watching? Have fun!

Preservation Photos #228

Marble staircase in the old post office in White River Junction, VT. Now home to the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Marble staircase in the old post office in White River Junction, VT. Now home to the Center for Cartoon Studies.

A bit of history from the Hartford Historical Society:

Built in 1934 as a WPA Project, this building has seen life as a post office, Vermont District Court and as a privately owned office building. Located at the northeast corner of South Main and Gates Street, it is  a Neo-Classical Revival-style brick building with a round, arched opening and the inscription “United States Post Office” on its front. The first post office in White River Junction opened in 1849 after the town became a major railhead and was located at or near the train depot. It moved in 1890 to the Gates Block and subsequently relocated to this building in 1934. It was replaced by a new distribution center, built outside the historic district in 1964.


Abandoned Vermont: Brandon House

Please note that this house is for sale, not abandoned. But I cannot answer to how long it’s been for sale. 

House for sale can hold the appearance and aura of abandonment. Of course there are reasons for this. Perhaps a family member died and it’s an estate sale. Or it was a seasonal home, rarely used. This house in Brandon, Vermont gives that longing look, the look that abandoned or neglected houses carry. It strikes me as a house filled with relics of the last family to the live there; culturally interesting items, but not much that someone would want to truck back to his or her home.


Aside from that modern garage door, the house maintains much of its architectural integrity.

White house in the white winter snow. The windows look dark and cold, and the house immediately seemed to have that abandoned lure.

White house in the white winter snow. The windows look dark and cold, and the house immediately seemed to have that abandoned lure.


A beautiful ca. 1850 Greek Revival house.


For sale by owner, the sign says.


With a beautiful barn.

Cross your fingers for this house; all it needs is a new owner and some love.

Preservation Conferences All Around

Spring is conference season! Everywhere you look, there’s a new conference. Get ready to be invigorated by preservation and inspired by colleagues. Check out this brief list below. Add your own in the comments:

I’m excited to announce that Preservation in Pink will be featured at the Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference as part of the session “Getting Social for a Cause: Social Media and Historic Preservation.” (See the conference brochure, page 12, session C2.) With a theme of “Pride in Preservation” and an opportunity to share my love of social media and historic preservation, I’m honored to be included!

Session C2: Hope to see you there and meet new faces.

Session C2: Hope to see you there and meet new faces.


A great program. Click to read about the conference.

Will you be there?

Preservation TV: What to Watch

Winter remains. I know, I’m a broken record. How about the bright side of a long winter? Ready? Historical documentaries. Who’s with me? A cold night, a bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine and good company make the perfect setting for absorbing history and the perfect antidote to winter. My top three favorites are:

(1) The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns (PBS)

If you’ve read The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan, this film will sound familiar. The story of the Dust Bowl is incredible. With amazing images and interviews, you’ll come to understand the greater context of the Dust Bowl in American society and beyond.

(2) The Men Who Built America - the History Channel

John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, and Henry Ford – their stories are weaved together in a way that you’ve never thought of or realized. It’s fascinating.

(3) New York: A Documentary Film by Ric Burns (PBS)

In full disclosure, I’m not yet finished with this eight part series, but I’m completely engrossed. There are so many pieces of history left out of history class. Did you know Wall Street in NYC is called as such because there was originally a wall from Dutch settlements? There were riots led by Irish immigrants. The NYC subway was constructed in only four years. From the beginning of New York (New Amsterdam) to the modern day (pre 9/11/2001, however), this is entirely engaging.

Telling history accurately while captivating the audience is a true art form. I’m grateful to those who do it so well.

What are your favorites? Please give me more to watch and study!

St. Patrick’s Day

The nation turns green today – food, drinks, clothing, rivers – and we feast on Irish Soda Bread, corned beef & cabbage, and perhaps have a drink or two, and wish each other Irish blessing. While we do this, it is important to remember that the Irish were among the waves of immigrants to New York who toiled for low wages, lived in sordid conditions, and struggled on a daily basis to make end’s meet and to make the lives of their children and grandchildren better than their own. Let’s be grateful to everyone who fought so hard, and respect those who continue to fight hard for better lives ahead. Are you Irish? Where from? With a name like O’Shea, I can’t hide the Irish (not that I would!)

Previous St. Patrick’s Day posts on PiP: Irish Soda Bread & A brief history of St. Patrick’s Day & an Irish blessing.



Christ Church in Island Pond

As mentioned, now is the time to register for the Vermont Preservation Conference (May 2, 2014). The day before, please join us for a work day to aid in the restoration of Christ Church in Island Pond. You don’t have to be experienced, just able to follow directions and willing to help. A few photos of Christ Church in its current condition show the siding that needs to be replaced, windows repaired, and painting to be done. The interior is beautiful, and also needs some cleaning. Come join, it’ll be a preservation party!