I’d love to be traveling home by train this Thanksgiving, but the Vermont to New York trains only run south in the morning. While I love to drive, the train is a great way to travel, too. How are you traveling home, if you are?
Happy week of Thanksgiving, everyone!
Thank you to everyone who has emailed and commented on the questions about home. Your thoughts are great. It’s not too late if you haven’t shared your thoughts yet.
Why am I asking all of these questions? Consider this casual research, but I’m interested to see overlaps and variations between people all over the country. Do we all have similar feelings? The feeling of home is innate, I assume, but our definitions of home can be different. It can take a long time for a place to feel like home for some us (I find it takes years). And how do we work at making someplace home? I aim to piece together a tapestry of answers from everyone, just in time for Thanksgiving, when we’re with family and friends, presumably someplace that is home. So if you would like to part of this Thanksgiving story, please share (as much or as little as you’d like).
I forgot to ask you: how long until you feel like where you live is home? What are the deciding factors?
Let’s ponder adaptive reuse and vacant buildings. It’s a sad day when a chain store buys out a smaller company, whatever the reason. Does it sting any less when that chain store now occupies the existing building? What if it’s just a larger chain buying a smaller chain? Does it hurt less than any chain buying an independent store? What happens when that chain store subsequently relocates, leaving the former mom & pop store location unoccupied? It’s akin to a big box store building a massive store outside of town and then relocating to an even larger store, and leaving its original site vacant.
While in Indianapolis, I came across this closed Dunkin Donuts building with the Googie style sign.
A bit of searching revealed a long history of Roselyn Bakery, a regional franchise of 40+ locations throughout Indiana. See this photograph of the Roselyn Bakery sign. The bakery operated in many stores until 1999, at which point the business shut down bakeries and began selling only to grocery stores. Following the bakery, a Panda Express Chinese Restaurant occupied the building for a while until Dunkin Donuts moved in, operating from 2008-2013.
And now? Plans are under review. Let’s hope the Googie sign remains. Roselyn’s Bakery signs still exist around Indy. Check out Down the Road and Visual Lingual.
What is your barometer for businesses buying one another? Or do we chalk it up to capitalism and business plans? My preference is local businesses, smaller chains, and then larger chains that respect historical significance of location and building. So, it does sting a bit less when a big business makes an effort to be a part of an existing community, as opposed to trying to compete for a removed location. And while some buildings have a greater presence in a downtown block, it’s important to consider the bigger picture. Every occupied building makes a difference for an urban core or downtown.
The trouble with fun events like the National Trust conference or any sort of vacation is that they come to an end, and you have to turn that car around and head home. Returning home is always nice, but following an excellent trip, it tends to be bittersweet. To give the journey home some excitement and adventure, I like to throw in a few surprises and let the preservation spirit guide me. This time I ended up in Buffalo, which was on my way home anyway. Knowing a handful of preservationists in Buffalo, I thought I’d drive into the city to see what it was like. After following Bernice & Dana on Twitter & Instagram, and hearing so much about Buffalo time, it seemed like a good time to visit.
Wanting a cup of coffee, I recalled many of Bernice’s instagram posts about Sweetness 7 Cafe, so I thought I’d check it out.
And the best part of this visit into Buffalo? I met Bernice and Jason at Sweetness 7, because they happened to be there when I was. Both are preservation forces in the City of Buffalo; their work is incredible. How lucky I felt to meet another social media preservation pal. In one trip I met so many inspiring preservationists who I knew via social media relationships prior.
Buffalo, I’ll be back!
The National Trust conference always offers field sessions, many of which take attendees on a tour of the host city. My schedule did not permit such a tour, but I did spend an afternoon wandering around Indianapolis. Here are buildings that caught my eyes, all within walking distance of Union Station. Not being an Indy expert, please consult Historic Indianapolis or Indiana Landmarks if you have a question. I’m simply admiring the city.
Indianapolis, you were such a pleasant surprise. I hope to return with time to explore and learn more.
Have you traveled to Buffalo? On my way back from Indianapolis, I drove through Buffalo for the first time and was amazed by the architecture stock, including this breathtaking city hall buidling. I could stare at this building all day. And next time I’m there, I’m taking a tour.
To those who served the United States of America and our citizens, thank you from the bottom of my heart. We in America live the good lives we do because of your sacrifice and your patriotism.
If you see a Veteran today, thank him or her.
Now I want a rooster lamp.
As mentioned, the preservation conference can feel like a whirlwind, in a good way. There are many field sessions and events to choose from, in addition to the education sessions. Even if you’re indecisive, you’ll likely to end up in a good place. Some events, however, are not to be missed.
The Opening Plenary is the official opening for conference attendees (though meetings and field sessions do occur prior), wherein the President of the NTHP, conference chairs, et. al, and the guest speaker welcomes everyone and gives opening remarks. This year’s opening plenary was held in the Hilbert Circle Theater in Columbus Circle in Indianapolis on Wednesday October 30.
Time for Three (self proclaimed world’s first classically trained garage band) began the plenary with a captivating performance. The group is in residence with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and has won and Indiana Innovation Award. With two violins and a double bass, this was one of my favorite live performances.
Stephanie Meeks, NTHP President, spoke about historic house museums and how our go-to system just isn’t working. Saving buildings by converting them into house museum is seldom the best use, unless you are Mount Vernon or Monticello. That model, which was once our way we knew how to save a building (think Ann Pamela Cunningham and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association) needs to be reprogrammed. Meeks based her talk on discussion from the book New Solutions for House Museums by Donna Ann Harris. (Read her entire speech here.) Meeks suggests that it’s time to reconsider how our buildings operate; in other words, bring noncommercial (i.e. museum or nonprofit) and retail side by side. Give the building life all of the time. Recharge it! We’re rethinking historic sites. The National Trust is leading by example – moving out of its current home (Dupont City HQ) to the historic Watergate building. While a difficult decision, it was the right move for the building and for the NTHP, and the building is sold with preservation easements. Agreements like this can help interested buyers and sellers to protect historic buildings while giving them the proper use.
Another highlight of the plenary was the guest speaker Henry Glassie, Professor Emeritus of Folklore at Indiana University. If you are a Mary Washington Historic Preservation graduate like me, it was a flashback to Professor Gary Stanton’s lectures about vernacular architecture. Glassie gave a lighthearted, but well informed overview of Indiana architectural history; he is a wonderful speaker. Did you know that the I-house was named so because architectural historian Fred Niffen found this style in Indiana and Illinois? All these years, I had no idea. Glassie also offered that the mobile home and the log cabin have similarities including geographic distribution in that they are both shelter of the working poor. A thoroughly enjoyable evening!
Following the opening plenary, everyone headed to the opening reception at the Athenaeum Building in Indy, built in 1890 for the culture of the community. The reception spanned multiple floors including The Rathskeller (the city’s oldest restaurant, estab. 1894) which is in the basement. Attendees mingled, talked preservation, made introductions, and enjoyed some food and drink. The event was also a host for the #BuiltHeritage Tweet-up. Finally, an opportunity to meet my preservation social media friends (wherein I hugged everyone)!
By the end of the night, I had scribbled notes in my #presconf notebook already filled with quotes from Meeks and Glassie; I met (sort of new) friends; experienced just a few of Indy’s beautiful historic sites, and felt that sense of preservation happiness being among “my people.” Overall, what a great evening and a fantastic way to kick off the conference.