Black Friday

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and most of the people I know are exhausted or shopping or decorating for Christmas – possibly all three. Amongst all of the hubbub today and the ensuing chaos of holiday shopping, do your best to remember the local businesses this time of year. Spending your dollars locally will be better for the economy and probably a more pleasant experience than big-box chain stores.

Check out the 3/50 blog for a good post that includes this:

So take a moment and ask yourself: Which three businesses would you miss if they were gone? Stop in today and tell them thanks for doing all they do…for providing what you want and need…for smiling with sincere appreciation when you walk in the door…for providing you an alternative to cold big box stores…and for putting so much back into your community.

And hey–as long as you’re there, pick up a little something. Buy boxed holiday cards at the corner stationery store. Stroll down the sidewalk to the neighborhood coffee shop and grab a cup. Pick out your Christmas tree at a locally owned garden center. Tired of turkey? Snag a bite for dinner at a local cafe.

It’s the only way to assure they’ll still be here next Thanksgiving week, after all.

We can all make a difference, one purchase at a time.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Wherever you are, whatever you do, have a wonderful with family and friends. Today is a day of tradition and togetherness, good food, laughs, cozy homes, and hopefully nothing but happiness.  With my family, one of our favorite traditions is watching the parade in the morning while we bake and watching Miracle on 34th Street after dessert. We do not partake in Christmas festivities until after Thanksgiving, so Miracle on 34th Street is the perfect movie to tie the holiday season together. If you have never seen this 1947 movie starring Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn, Robert Payne, and Natalie Wood. The best way to describe this classic movie is by saying it involves hope, faith, the Christmas spirit, and it will warm your heart.  (Parts may be a bit sentimental or cheesy, but it’s perfect.)

“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.” Click here for the clip. Or watch the original trailer – unlike most trailers today, it does not tell you the entire movie!  Now, go watch the movie.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving and remember to give thanks for your favorite traditions and people.

1929: Lake Champlain Bridge

Since we are so far removed from the past, often it is hard to imagine why something was so significant at a certain time, e.g. just how much of an impact the Lake Champlain Bridge had on the lives of citizens, the economy of New England and New York, and technology.  And even if you are a history buff or a preservationist, stepping into history can help to understand the significance of a structure, building, or event.

Watch the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s short film titled, The Champlain Bridge. There is a short introduction and then wonderful footage from opening day on August 26, 1929. It is only about 7 minutes in length and worth your time.

A Historic Preservation Survey

What does historic preservation mean to you? Is it a movement, a field of study, an avocation, a trade? How do you classify yourself: student, professional, amateur? Lately I’ve been wondering how people in the field view preservation and how they view themselves in the context of the field. If you can, please take the time to read the questions below and leave a comment (anonymously is fine if necessary). Choose an answer and explain. If you a reader of Preservation in Pink, your answers will interest me. I am hoping to work it into the next newsletter.  Thank you!

Question 1: What is Historic Preservation to you?

a) a field of study

b) a profession

c) a movement

d) a trade

e) an avocation

f) a lifestyle

g) more than one: list them

h) other

 

Question 2: Categorize yourself.

a) student

b) professional

c) concerned citizen

d) other

 

Please add any other comments that you feel relate to this matter.

 

Preservation Photos #7

Montpelier, VT. Anyone care to make a comment about some of the architectural elements of this house?  There are some good conversation pieces.

Newsletter Deadline Update

To all who are contributing and/or considering contributing to the next issue of the newsletter,

Please note the change in deadline from December 15 to before Christmas. Many people are likely to be consumed by end of the semester exams and papers around December 15, and I do not want that to affect their ability to contribute. This issue might be more of a January 2010 than December 2009 issue, but hopefully that helps everyone interested. Let me know. If you have told me that you want to contribute but don’t know what to write, I will get back to you with ideas this week.

-Kaitlin

History Flashback: 1961, Part II

By Ken Loyd

In my blog post of October 30, I shared some quotes from my 1961 3rd grade history book, Our America. I only got halfway through the book, so today I’ll continue. Be sure to read between the lines!

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  • On “carpetbaggers” after the Civil War: “To make matters worse, dishonest men came down from the North. They didn’t care a thing for the South. All they wanted was to fill their pockets with Southern money, if there was any to be had. For a while it was no wonder that the Southern people did not trust anyone from above the Mason-Dixon Line.
  • On Edison’s invention of the electric light: “Now, when you press a button or turn a switch to get light, do you thank Thomas Edison? Probably not.”
  • On Henry Ford: “Henry Ford began to make his famous automobile in 1903. Some people called it a “flivver,” and others called it something else. But it did not cost an awful lot of money. So, soon workmen, farmers, and college boys were rattling around in Fords. Also money began pouring into Henry’s cash box.”

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  • On the 18th Amendment (1919)– ‘Prohibition’: “And now let’s look at the amendment which caused the most trouble. This law said that no one in the United States should make or sell any liquors that make people drunk. Beer, wine, whisky, and rum were some of these liquors. Men had always drunk them. And now they claimed the right to drink when and what they wanted. Uncle Sam said, ‘No!’ Let’s see what happened. Gangs of men, called ‘bootleggers,’ made liquor in secret. People drank in spite of the law, and the bootleggers grew rich. It was easy to see that this amendment was doing the country no good. But it was not repealed until 1933.”
  • On President Harding: “Warren G. Harding was a tall, fine-looking man, who made friends easily. He was a “good mixer,” as we say. Sometimes he mixed with the wrong kind of people. Then he was in trouble.
  • On the founding of the American Legion: “A lot of American soldiers met at Minneapolis, Minnesota, after the war (World War I). They formed the American Legion. The members swore to keep the spirit of patriotism alive in Our America. They wanted to fight in peacetime for the good things of life that they had fought for in the war. Perhaps your dad is a member of the American Legion.
  • ***NOTE*** As an aside, many people know that World War I was once called “The Great War.” But if you had looked it up in the 1925 World Book Encyclopedia (a mere six years after the war ended), you would have found it under “The War of the Nations.” I love reading about history in contemporary sources, such as period magazines and newspapers, before history can be “spun,” as is so often the case nowadays.

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  • On the Great Depression: “The Stock Market crashed in 1929. There was much weeping and wailing and cries of, ‘Our money is gone! It’s Hoover’s fault!’ But poor Herbert was not to blame. The people did not think of their own foolish spending. We all know what it is to ‘feel low’ or ‘blue.’ We say that we feel depressed. The whole country was certainly depressed after 1929. Everyone went around short of money and with long faces.”
  • On Franklin Roosevelt’s remedy: “President Roosevelt thought that he could cure Uncle Sam of his depression blues. ‘What the old gentleman needs, ‘ said Franklin, ‘is some of my New Deal medicine. The New Deal was made up of things with long names, like Agricultural Adjustment Administration and National Recovery Administration. Whew! These names were hard enough to say, without trying to remember what they meant. So letters took the place of the full name. The Agricultural Adjustment Administration became the A.A.A. Then we had the N.R.A., the C.C.C., and the F.E.R.A. Also the P.W.A., the C.W.A., and the W.P.A. And so on, and so on, and so on.”

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  • On the evolution of war from 1776 to 1945: “In 1775, the Minute Men of Concord fired ‘the shot heard round the world.’ In 1945 the earth echoed to the terrible atom bomb. That finished our war with Japan. It also destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The atom bomb marked a big step ahead in wholesale slaughter. In the wink of an eye whole cities could now be destroyed. People could be killed by thousands, and nations wiped out. What a wonderful invention for the gods of war!”
  • On Television: “Many houses had queer-looking gadgets attached to their chimneys. TV had arrived. All in all, Our America seemed to be doing OK.”
  • 1961–The State of the Union: “We live in a wonderful country today, filled with wonderful things. Such things as the early settlers never even dreamed of. How they would stare at our cities with tall buildings reaching toward the sky! At our automobiles, buses, streamlined trains, and great jet planes.”

A history book of today (if 3rd graders had such things) might read similarly: “We live in a wonderful country today, filled with wonderful things. Such things as Americans of 1961 never even dreamed of. How they would stare at our personal computers, DVD players, digital cameras, cell phones, camera phones, satellite TVs, Netflix, Tweeter, microwave ovens, DVRs, GPS, Wi-Fi Internet, I-Pods, Wii, XBox 360, PlayStation. And so on, and so on, and so on.”

I hope you enjoy these history flashbacks. This may be my last post about the book Our America, but I have some other history topics coming up soon.

Lake Champlain Bridge

The Lake Champlain Bridge is a continuous steel truss bridge that opened in 1929, linking Chimney Point, VT and Crown Point, NY, serving as the gateway to New England or to the Adirondacks. The engineers Fay, Spofford, and Thorndike set the location in an especially scenic and historic pass over the water and the land. For the past 80 years the bridge has connected the livelihoods of many New Yorkers and Vermonters, has served tourism, and has provided a beautiful, landmark example of engineering.

In July 2009 the bridge was shut down to one lane of traffic at a time as repairs were conducted on the other side. On October 16, 2009 the bridge was closed indefinitely. On November 9, 2009, the engineering report suggested the bridge be demolished.  Why? In a nutshell, the engineers found the deterioration of concrete piers to be unpredictable and potentially disastrous. Rehabilitation would be more expensive than replacement. For the long version of this see the news and reports from NYSDOT’s Lake Champlain Bridge webpage.

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Ground level view of the bridge from Chimney Point, VT. November 8, 2009.

However, ethically and legally there is more to the issue than just an engineering report. This bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and has a National Historic Landmark nomination on the table. Take in the federal laws of Section 106, 110, and 4(f) and all options must be analyzed and exhausted; because a historic resource is involved a bridge cannot just be slapped in place. This gives the pro-rehabilitation candidates more weight than just passion. (I won’t get into the preservation laws at this point, but this issue is a topic for my preservation policy class, so I will at a later date.)

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The bridge is impressive and immense - note the gentleman in the photograph. November 8, 2009.

What is the fate of the bridge? We don’t know yet. It is more complicated than other bridges because it is jointly owned by New York and Vermont. The communities on either side have had to rely on ferry service across the lake, which will last only as long as the unusually warm weather remains. Lives are inconvenienced and businesses are shutting down as a result of the loss of this main thoroughfare. This has been in the Vermont/upstate New York news for months now, and there is no shortage of articles and opinions.

Stay tuned for more information and discussion. Any if you’re familiar with the old General Sullivan Bridge in New Hampshire, it is the twin of this bridge. It has been closed since the mid 1980s. That itself adds additional levels pf conversation, huh?

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Bridge closed. November 8, 2009.

Proud to be An American

Thank you to all of the servicemen and women who have fought for our rights to be Americans, for our liberty, our freedom, and for justice. The sacrifices you have made and continue to make cannot be understood by all of us civilians, but we are eternally grateful and offer the utmost respect to you, today and everyday. Happy Veterans Day.

God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone

I’d worked for all my life,

And I had to start again

with just my children and my wife,

I’d thank my lucky stars

to be living here today,

‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom

and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American

where at least I know I’m free,

And I won’t forget the men who died

who gave that right to me,

And I gladly stand up next to you

and defend her still today,

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land

God Bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota

to the hills of Tennessee,

Across the plains of Texas

from sea to shining sea.

From Detroit down to Houston

and New York to L.A.,

well There’s pride in every American heart

and it’s time we stand and say:

that I’m proud to be an American

where at least I know I’m free,

And I won’t forget the men who died

who gave that right to me,

And I gladly stand up next to you

and defend her still today,

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land

God Bless the U.S.A.