Preservation Photos #79

Shoreham Congregational Church in the Shoreham (Vermont) Village Historic District, which is listed in the State Register and eligible for inclusion in the National Register. Shown at sunset in March 2011.


Drive-by Survey Quiz

Located on Route 22A in Bridport, VT.

Nice house, right?

I love to drive, even if I’m driving alone, but the downside is that the level of sight-seeing is less than if I were passenger (generally speaking; I suppose it could just be a different perspective). So, as I’ve passed this house from time to time, I’ve thought a variety of things (please don’t judge me based on my split second drive-by thoughts):

Ooh, cute house.

Nice house.

Central chimney. Pedimented windows. Wood shingle roof.

Something looks different about it.

It’s too perfect.

Is that new construction? It’s a good imitation of historic. It’s going for connected architecture, I guess.

Clearly a new garage.

One of these days I’ve got to take a picture.

It must have a nice view.

Finally, earlier this week, I stopped on the side of the road to take a picture (and my car was greeted by a large German shepherd…oh the perils of roadside photography). Since I wasn’t just driving by, I could actually look at the house, in all of its confusing manner.

New or historic? Where are the front steps?


Aside from the too-perfectness, what gives it away?

Click on the picture and zoom in. Check out the foundation. It’s poured concrete; a concrete slab. A historic house with a massive central chimney would not have a poured foundation — among other things.

Bridport, VT.

What do you think?

Do you agree? What would you say about this house?

Is it an example of new construction to blend in with surrounding historic homes? Or is it too confusing? Maybe you can spot the obvious new characteristics right away, but I have to admit that this house perplexes me more than others.

Flamingo Cake

Last year's absolutely delicious, fun birthday cake from my dear friend Katie M. You know you have a good preservation friend when she bakes you a birthday cake and draws a flamingo and adds a TON of sprinkles ... and puts it on one of the few plates she keeps in her kitchen. It stil makes me smile. Katie, I miss you this year -- so far away!

The Pink Flamingo Murders

Whacked with a pink lawn flamingo. More heinous than vinyl siding. Pride in a neighborhood.

How’s that for eye-catching for someone with a blog relating to pink flamingos and who despises vinyl siding as much as replacement windows? This book is custom written for a bunch of people I know, mostly readers of this blog.

The Pink Flamingo Murders by Elaine Viets is an entertaining murder mystery set in St. Louis. To begin with, the story centers around the rehabilitation of North Dakota Place. The characters live in beautiful houses that they restore slowly. There is gossip galore and petty fights — perhaps like Desperate Housewives without the housewives and with less glamorous abodes?

Viets provides St. Louis pop culture and landmarks throughout the story, likely a treat for anyone who knows the city well. The characters are charming or interesting enough that you’ll care about the end of their stories. Francesca, the protagonist and a writer for the fictitious St. Louis Gazette, keeps a quippy, smart mouth on her, one that will make you laugh throughout the book as you try to unravel the neighborhood murders along with her.

While the book will not teach you about rehabilitation or historic homes, as there are only a handful of terms tossed throughout the book, it was a fun read. Of course, I might be partial because of the hilarity of pink flamingos and rehabilitation in the same book. Seriously, this book was published in 1999? Where has it been hiding? If you love pink flamingos, local color, and a mystery, I’d recommend this book.

FREE! TODAY! Historic Bridge Rehabilitation Webinar

From Mead & Hunt

“Approaches to Historic Bridge Rehabilitation,” the second webinar in a series by the Historic Bridge Alliance, will be held Thursday, April 7, 2011. This FREE webinar is hosted by the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Institute.

The program includes presentations of three case studies of rehabilitation projects that preserved historically significant bridges. Projects in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Minnesota will be featured. Presenters will provide lessons learned and how Section 106 requirements were met. The program will also include a brief update on the efforts of the Historic Bridge Alliance (HBA).

Webinar details:

* April 7, 2011

* 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Eastern Time)

Below is the information you need to participate in the conference:


You can still participate – just sign in at 11:30 — everyone is invited. The emails about this webinar are flying everywhere. And thanks to bloggers like the Missouri Route 66 Association for helping to spread the word (and subsequently reminding me to do the same). The more who know about historic bridges, the better!

Historic Preservation Basics No. 6

Series introduction. No. 1 = Ideas You Should Not Believe About Historic Preservation. No. 2 = Vocabulary for Translating and Holding Your Own in a Preservation Conversation. No. 3 = Let’s Talk about Architecture / The Very Beginning of Describing Buildings. No. 4 = Let’s Talk about Buildings A Bit More.     No. 5 = The National Register of Historic Places (What You Should Know).

No. 6 = The History of Historic Preservation

As a recognized, formal academic and professional field, historic preservation is only about fifty years old. Organizations, ordinances, laws, and motivated individuals have been the backbone for establishing historic preservation in the United States.

Because preservation is connected to many other fields and its individual recognition is recent, the movement can be defined in different tracks, with a never-ending list of events. Books and professors can easily give you a long, thorough discussion on preservation’s history, so this post will highlight a few of the dates that are important to historic preservation in the USA. This particular list, assembled here, owes credit to Thomas Visser’s HP304 class lecture at the University of Vermont and to the book Historic Preservation by Norman Tyler. (Much of that same information can be found on this EMU webpage. I’ve simply compiled from the two and chosen which would be most relevant to readers.

You’ll note that the earliest efforts of historic preservation are centered on saving buildings and recreating environments. When that is under control and understood for the time, policy enters into the picture. As the years progress, policy plays an even larger role and the reaches of preservation are widened.

Now, for your very brief lesson in preservation history… enjoy! Feel free to add dates in the comments.

1813: Independence Hall (Pennsylvania State House) is purchased by the City of Philadelphia in order to save it from demolition.

1856: The Mount Vernon Ladies Association was chartered by Ann Pamela Cunningham in order to save George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, after Congress refused to purchase the property. The MVLA served as a basis for the structure of historical societies and organizations: run by women, raising money and restoring individual, landmark-worthy buildings in order to benefit the American public.

1872: Yellowstone National Park is designated as a federally protected area.

1876: The Columbian Exposition in Philadelphia introduces such items as the telephone, telegraph, linoleum, typewriter, and features an exhibit, The New England Kitchen of 1776, which will create an interest in Colonial architecture and style — hence, Colonial Revival.

1879: The Boston Antiquarian Club was founded in order to prevent the Old State House from being moved to the Chicago World’s Fair.

1901: William Sumner Appleton forms the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), which is now Historic New England (HNE).

1906: Antiquities Act, the nation’s first historic preservation legislation, designates monuments on federal lands and imposes penalties for destroying federal owned sites.

1912: Wallace Nutting (1861-1941), a  minister, photographers, preservationist, who wrote Old New England Pictures, acquired and restored a “Chain of Colonial Picture Houses” that were open to the public for a fee and serve as backdrops for historical photographs.

1916: The National Park Service is established.

1926: Colonial Williamsburg begins receiving funds from John D. Rockefeller, ,lead by Rev. W.A.R. Goodman. The 130 acre site is “weeded” to 18th century structures with important missing buildings reconstructed. Restoration guides the philosophy.

1927: Storrowton Village formed in West Springfield, MA using buildings relocated from MA and NH.

1929: Greenfield Village formed by Henry Ford by replicating and moving buildings.

1931: Charleston, SC establishes its “Old and Historic District,” which is the country’s first designated historic district. The district collectively develops restrictions in the general interest of the city.

1933: The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) is formed; it is the nation’s first federal preservation program.

1935: Historic Sites Act, passes by Congress, establishes preservation policy in the United States: “to preserve for public use historic sites, buildings and objects of national significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States.”

1936: The Vieux Carre is established as a historic district in New Orleans, LA.

1949: National Trust for Historic Preservation – established by Act of Congress as membership based organization, partially supported by federal appropriation.

1963: The demolition of Pennsylvania Station in New York City mobilizes the preservation movement.

1964: The country’s first historic preservation academic program is established at Columbia University by James Marston Fitch.

1966: National Historic Preservation Act is passed, establishing federal, state, and local government preservation responsibilities. Also established was the National Register of Historic Places.

1969: The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) is formed by the National Park Service.

1970: Vermont’s Act 250 Land Use & Development Act, of which Criteria 8 states that proposed projects will not have undue adverse effects on aesthetics, beauty, historic sites, or natural areas.

1976: Tax Reform Act removed the incentive for the demolition of historic buildings.

1978: Revenue Act – passed by Congress and established incentive (investment tax credits) for rehabilitation of historic buildings.

1978: Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties introduced.

1980: The Main Street Program is established by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The NHPA of 1966 is amended to include Certified Local Governments.

1988: The National Trust for Historic Preservation launches its 11 Most Endangered Places List. (The entire state of Vermont is listed in 1993 and 2004.)

1991: New Orleans Charter for the Joint Preservation of Historic Structures and Artifacts, drafted by the Association for Preservation Technology and the American Institute for Conservation, in order to address how preservation interests and collection considerations could co-function. The result is that both are important and require care. A set of 10 principles is adopted.

1995: The Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties is revised to adopt the four sets of standards: preservation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, and restoration.

1998: The National Trust for Historic Preservation chooses to become independent of federal funding.

2000: The Historic American Landscape Survey (HALS) is established by the National Park Service.

2005: 1897 Century Building in St. Louis, MO demolished, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation supported demolition. A New York Times article “When Preservation equals Demolition,” covers the story. This serves, to some, as a wake up call for ethics.

2007: The National Trust for Historic Preservation begins addressing historic preservation and sustainability issues.

2008: The Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation is released by the National Trust. It addresses how to make the existing environment sustainable. Read it here.

Preservation Photos #78

New Haven - Weybridge Bridge No. 26: Steel, double-intersection Warren through truss built in 1908 by the American Bridge Company on Town Highway 7 (Pearson Road) across Otter Creek

A Life in the Trades: April 2011

Series introduction. October 2009. November 2009. December 2009. January 2010. February 2010. March 2010. April 2010. May 2010. June 2010. September 2010. October 2010. November 2010. December 2010. February 2011.

This is Nicholas’ final blog post in the Building Preservation & Restoration Program at Belmont Tech in St. Clairsville, OH. Nicholas will be continuing on the preservation trades path and, hopefully, will keep readers updated on his journey. In the meantime, I’m sure readers share my sentiments in saying thank you to Nicholas. It’s been a great opportunity to read along with your lessons and adventures while in school, and to learn along the way.

By Nicholas Bogosian

This month I wanted to share with you all the recent arrival of PiP to the BPR program.  PiP stayed for a day and we were happy to give a tour.


a life in the trades april 2011_1

PiP on the bridge. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP in the fridge. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP and Renata. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP playing in the hydrostone. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP getting off the elevator. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP starts to miss home. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP meets with Cathie for prospective student info. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

PiP meets with Cathie for prospective student info. Courtesy of Nicholas Bogosian.

Historic Preservation Basics No. 5

Series introduction. No. 1 = Ideas You Should Not Believe About Historic Preservation. No. 2 = Vocabulary for Translating and Holding Your Own in a Preservation Conversation. No. 3 = Let’s Talk about Architecture / The Very Beginning of Describing Buildings. No. 4 = Let’s Talk about Buildings A Bit More.

No. 5 = The National Register of Historic Places (What You Should Know)

If you find yourself standing in a group of historic preservationists, you’ll probably find that half love the National Register and writing nominations and the other half are not so keen on writing nominations. It’s likely that they’ll answer that while they appreciate the National Register, they’d rather find other avenues of preservation besides writing nominations. I’ll admit, I never thought much of the National Register in my undergrad days. I found the nominations difficult and when I learned that the NR couldn’t guarantee that a historic building would be saved, I wondered why even bother?

Things change. Preservationists mature. No, the National Register will not protect your historic building from eminent domain. But, the National Register will guarantee that your property will receive state and federal review on projects that require evaluation of the effects of projects on historic resources. And an NR listing can provide help in winning grants. If we revisit the core of the National Register, it can also be considered a record national pride and heritage. Soon enough, I changed my tune when it came to the NR, particularly for property protection in state and federal projects.

Is every NR eligible property listed in the National Register? No. There is endless work. It is quite possible that your property is eligible, but not listed in the National Register.

Consider this post an overview crash course of NR basics for everyone, as well as clarifications about the NR.


Officially, the National Register of Historic Places is defined as:

“The National Park Service administers the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the official federal list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. National Register properties have significance to the history of their community state, or the nation. Nominations for listing historic properties come from State Historic Preservation Officers, from Federal Preservation Officers for properties owned or controlled by the United States Government, and from Tribal Historic Preservation Officers for properties on tribal lands. Private individuals and organizations, local governments, and American Indian tribes often initiate this process and prepare the necessary documentation. A professional review board in each state considers each property proposed for listing and makes a recommendation on its eligibility. National Historic Landmarks are a separate designation, but upon designation, NHLs are listed in the National Register of Historic Places if not already listed.”


Most often people have questions about restrictions that a nomination or a listing on the NR places on their properties. The short answer? A listing does not change your ownership rights or restrict what you do to the property unless the project is funded by federal (or state) money. Local ordinances may have restrictions, so it’s best to ask your local officials, such as the Design Review Board or the Architectural Review Board. And you can always contact your State Historic Preservation Office. I assure you that they are more than happy to help you understand your historic property and get the answers that you need.

Evaluation for Listing

In order to be listed on the National Register, a property must be evaluated and nominated. Properties are buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts, which must pertain to at least one of our criteria:

A. That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or

B. That are associated with the lives of significant persons in or past; or

C. That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or

D. That have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory.

The National Register nomination can be thought of as making a case for your property. So how does that property exemplify the significance of one of the above criteria? You have to establish a historic context in order to judge significance. The National Register Program uses areas of significance in order to build context. For example is the area of significance transportation? You’ll need to narrow it down (highways of the 1920s, perhaps, or metal truss bridges in Vermont pre-1927 flood) and develop a context for the area of significance. 

Yes, it sounds complicated. I will not pretend to be an expert. After all, even experience professionals that I know will tell me to constantly refer to the National Register Bulletins. The Bulletins go over every part of the nomination. Essentially, if you can make a strong enough, thorough enough, sensible discussion/argument for your property’s significance, then it has a good chance of being listed on the National Register. Some properties may be more difficult (like, say, a ski area) than others, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

50 years?

The 50 year rule is not a rule; it is a guideline. For example, the Cold War related historic properties are exceptionally significant and have achieved their significance in less than fifty years.


The Louisiana Division for Historic Preservation has a succinct list of myths and facts about the National Register. The myths are as follows:

    • DOES NOT restrict the use of the property. (For example, an owner can continue to live in a listed house, convert a listed property to another use, continue to farm ground where a listed archaeological site may be located, conduct new construction on the site, etc.)
    • DOES NOT restrict the sale of a property; unless under the jurisdiction of a federal agency.
    • DOES NOT require continued maintenance of private property.
    • DOES NOT require that any specific guidelines be followed in a rehabilitation (unless the owner is using federal funds or receiving the Investment and/or Homeowners’ tax credit). (For example, the owner of a listed property may paint his building any color he chooses.)
    • DOES NOT require the owner to give tours of the property or open it to the public.
    • DOES NOT guarantee funds for restoration.
    • DOES NOT require or guarantee perpetual maintenance of the property.
    • DOES NOT provide a National Register plaque or a state historic marker for the property (although property owners are eligible to acquire such markers at their own expense)

Clarification: Historic/Eligible and Old/Ineligible

Suppose your property is 100 years old, but is not eligible for the National Register. Why not? It would mean that integrity has been lost (the seven aspects of integrity). Perhaps too many renovation projects have erased the historic fabric and the building cannot be read as historic. If its character defining features are lost or if the historic property is out of context, then it will not be eligible.

This is where we revisit historic v. old. Professionally, historic means eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Old means a property that is ineligible.

However, do not take this to mean that an “old” building is unimportant.  It may not be important to the entire region, state, or nation, but all old buildings have meaning to those in and around them. Existing buildings should be cared for and maintained. Existing buildings are existing resources – embodied energy. While the National Register is an excellent foundation for historic preservation and determining what is significant, historic preservation goes beyond the NR. Old buildings are members of sustainable environments and communities. Old buildings are wonderful, whether historic or not. Old buildings can be beautiful old homes up and down the street.

So, why the distinction? Well, in a society that is constantly building new and bigger, it is important to recognize what snapshots of our heritage should be preserved. For the purposes of historic preservation, not every building age 50+ can be saved. Some are just old, without National Register significance, no integrity at all — and quite often we are forced to choose. In that case, it is important to know which resources have a higher significance to the heritage of our culture. But in terms of loving buildings and using existing resources, old buildings are much more plentiful and worth the love.

“Historic” is tossed around by everyone, but if you’re dealing with preservationists, consider which is appropriate: old or historic.

Got it?

Still have more questions? The easiest way to answer your questions about the National Register is to visit the FAQ page of the National Park Service National Register page. Check out this list of questions — click to head to the NPS NR FAQ page.

Frequently asked questions about the National Register of Historic Places.

Want to share your love of the National Register? Check out these new, stunning posters made by the National Park Service. You can download a PDF for free, print it, and display it in your office or classroom or anywhere. (And if you’re lucky like me and you have a mother who likes to laminate, then you’re all set!)

National Register poster page 1. Click for original.

National Register poster page 2. Click for original.