An Urban Beach

What are you planning to do with your last unofficial weekend of summer? Are you spending it on the beach, on some body of water? Not everyone  lives near a beach or someplace with access to usable waterfront. Some they live in a town or area that is landlocked or perhaps in a city that has yet to reclaim its industrial era waterfront land, often land previously used for shipping industries, grain elevators, railroad yards and related structures and infrastructure.

So, imagine you live in a town or city without beach access, with a waterfront that was full of potential. What if you could construct a “beach” for residents? What if that beach had clean sand, beach umbrellas and chairs, but no place for swimming? How does that sound? The concept exists in practice and is known as an “urban beach” or a “city beach.”

The Clock Tower Beach in Montreal, Quebec is such a thing. The waterfront in the Old Port has undergone extensive revitalization and a recent development is this beach. People pay an entrance fee and have access to sand, umbrellas, chairs, misting stations, restrooms, a snack bar and great views of the St. Lawrence River and the Montreal skyline views.

Clock Tower Beach: A manmade urban beach on the river in Montreal, Quebec.

At first the concept struck me as absurd: a beach that is just sand and no swimming? What fun is that? However, it is a unique alternative to additional grassy areas of a park. It’s summer – who wouldn’t want to put their toes in the sand and get some sun next to the water, lying in the sand, as opposed to sunbathing on grass.

The beach is open June – September. I wonder what it’s use will be in the winter. Will the sand be covered? Removed? If this area is only open for a few months out of the year, is that good land use planning?

Clock Tower Beach: Looking the other direction down the St. Lawrence River (nice truss bridge, too).

There is a traditional boardwalk promenade and tree filled grassy park in the Old Port, but this new beach is one of the most unique features. How inspiring to hear of new revitalization efforts thinking outside of the box. And, Toronto already has a beach – designed by the same company. Urban beaches exist in a few places, with only one in the United States listed.  Any others?

What do you think of an urban beach?  Want to visit? Here’s more information.

Preservation Photos #146

District #7 Schoolhouse in the Jericho Rural Historic District in White River Junction, VT. Currently it is the Jericho Community Center.

Read more about the Jericho Rural Historic District here.

Preservation in Pink on Instagram

You might be aware that Preservation in Pink can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and now Instagram. It’s a lot to keep up with, but all are linked (and I apologize for the duplicate posts on all of the social media sites, as I have not figured out otherwise). Instagram is most easily followed on a smartphone, but you can get the links through Twitter and Facebook when they are posted. What is Instagram? Basically, it’s a photo sharing app through which you can add effects to photos, geotag them if you choose, add captions and share them with your followers. It’s fun and free.

I like Instagram for images that may not require an entire post, when sharing a quick photograph fits the bill. Sometimes I’ll add additional clues to the pop quizzes on Instagram. Again, those appear on Facebook and Twitter because all are linked, so you’re not missing out if you don’t use Instagram.

Preservation in Pink can be found on Instagram as “presinpink” with pictures of buildings, flamingos, books, road trips, antiques, family, playgrounds, sisters, etc. Here are just some of the recent Instagram photos from the world of PiP.

 

Do you have an Instagram account? Is it building, place, preservation or flamingo related? Let me know!

p.s. speaking of pop quizzes: there are a few still waiting on answers. I haven’t forgotten!

Abandoned New Hampshire: Westboro Rail Yard

A quick jaunt out of White River Junction, Vermont brings you to West Lebabnon, New Hampshire on the east side of the Connecticut River. This is the site of the abandoned Westboro Rail Yard, which is designated a brownfield and awaiting redevelopment and migitation. Though adjacent to a large asphalt paved area of land, the buildings themsevles are fenced off and hidden by overgrown trees and brush.

Westboro Rail Yard.

The NH Division of Historical Resources wrote a brief history and evaluated the condition of the site. Read it here.  A 2009 public policy study conduted by students at Dartmouth College includes a brief history of the site:

“The site served as a rail yard from 1847 until the 1970s. It was then vacant until the state of New Hampshire purchased the 19.1-acre property from Boston and Maine Railroad Company and “restored rail service in 2000 under an operating agreement with Claremont Concord Rail Company.”2 The northern acre, the parcel being considered for cleanup and revitalization, was first developed during the mid 1930s and early 1940s to be used as a bulk oil storage facility for Tidewater Oil Company, who leased the land from Boston and Maine Railroad Company. Concrete above ground storage tanks (ASTs), which were removed from the site in the 1970s, contained an unknown amount of an unknown oil type. Tidewater Oil Company shut down in the 1960s. Over the next 25 years, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) removed all remaining concrete ASTs and off-site buildings before using it as a temporary roadwork equipment storage area.”

View towards the roundhouse.

The roundhouse.

Overgrown.

The roundhouse showing the fence and many alterations.

Beyond the roundhouse is a building shell; look closely and you can see the exposed roof framing.

Industrial areas – the gritty, blue collar society places of work – are becoming more in vogue for redevelopment. Maybe this site has a bright future. Check out some site proposals here.

Preservation Photos #145

A church in South Royalton, VT that is currently a private residence.

Though difficult to decipher from this photo, this church building is in need of repair.

Preservation Adventure in Montpelier, Vermont

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is participating in the 2012 Pacifico Beer summer promotion, Make Adventure Happen, and is competing for a portion of $100,000. As part of the contest, the National Trust “partnered with five preservation fans to highlight preservation adventures in cities and states across the country.” Preservation in Pink is thrilled to be one of those partners! This post about a preservation adventure in Montpelier, VT was written for the National Trust, and hopefully cross-posting it here on PiP will raise awareness and votes for the National Trust. This is the second adventure in the series.

Thank you to the National Trust for the opportunity, and the fun introduction:

Kaitlin writes the blog Preservation in Pink, which is one of the Trust staff’s favorite preservation-related blogs out there! According to her bio, she “loves a good preservation conversation complemented with a strong cup of coffee and accented by flamingos.” Who doesn’t?

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Overlooking the City of Montpelier.

First things first: how many of you know the capital of Vermont thanks to that 1990s Cheerios commercial?

Nestled in central Vermont’s Green Mountains along the Winooski River and the historic Central Vermont Railway, Montpelier is beautiful year-round. An entire day’s itinerary can be within walking distance in this city filled with Vermont character, locally-owned businesses and eateries and architecturally picturesque and historic streetscapes; Montpelier is the perfect place for a traveling preservationist. Though more bustling during the work week or when the legislature is in session, the weekends show no shortage of residents and visitors.

At the corner of Main Street and State Street.

1. Eat, Stroll, and Shop on State and Main

Begin on State and Main Streets — the heart of Montpelier’s historic commercial district, where you’ll find restaurants, cafes, retail shops, and professional offices housed in the colorful historic building blocks.

Grab breakfast and a cup of coffee at the Coffee Corner diner or at Capitol Grounds Café & Roastery (free wifi!), or enjoy a more leisurely breakfast at Kismet. Once you’re caffeinated and fueled, you’ll be ready to browse the practical and quirky stores nearby. Whether you’re looking for used books, new books, stationery, antiques, toys, new clothes, vintage clothes, outdoor gear, house wares, jewelry, candy, pet toys, groceries, hardware, pharmacies – you can find it all in downtown Montpelier.

As you’re browsing the stores, do yourself a preservation favor and look up: turn your eyes to the ceilings of the building interiors as well as beyond the first story of the exterior. There’s always something interesting to see above your line of sight.

The Vermont State House.

2. Lunch & a tour of the Vermont State House

Grab lunch from one of the many options on State and Main (try Pinky’s for a good sandwich). If you’re visiting during the week, there are likely to be many street vendors near State and Elm Streets.

On a Saturday, swing by the farmers’ market. If the weather is nice, get lunch to go and head down State Street to the 1859 Vermont State House. Montpelier has been the capital since 1805, but this Greek Revival building is actually the third state house — the first two were lost to fires. The granite steps or the green lawn are both perfect places to pause for lunch on a warm day.

After lunch, head inside the State House for a tour, guided or self-guided. With its granite columns and steps, interior marble floors and plasterwork, the State House is a breathtaking. The house and senate chambers — the oldest in the country — are remarkably intact.

The pedestrian bridge on the recreation trail. The Taylor Street Bridge can be seen to the far right.

3. Bridges, Houses, and Parks

After lunch, a tour, and maybe resting again on the State House lawn, take to exploring. However you like to enjoy the scenery and outdoors, you have options. If you prefer walking neighborhoods for the architectural entertainment, you’re in luck. Montpelier’s neighborhoods can keep you entertained for hours. Research some walking tours to get you started.

The recreation path along the river brings you across and adjacent to the many truss bridges of Montpelier, including the 1929 Taylor Street Bridge, a steel parker through truss, which was recently rehabilitated. The path on Stone Cutters Way will take you along the rail line, through the industrial section of town, with signage along the route about Montpelier’s rail and granite industry history. Visit the historic 1907 rail turntable, a small park on Stone Cutters Way. Further down the street are the Hunger Mountain Coop and the Granite Street truss bridge.

Or, if you seek some peace, quiet, and nature, walk (though you might prefer to bike or drive) toHubbard Park for miles of trails through the forested park, recreation fields and a stone observation tower. Hubbard Park is about 194 acres, 125 of which were gifted to the City of Montpelier in 1899.

The Capitol Theater on State Street.

4. Take in Dinner and a Show

After all that sightseeing and walking, you’ll be ready for some evening entertainment. You can catch a live show at the Lost Nation Theater in the 1909 City Hall or a movie at the Capitol Theater (which has a great neon sign).

You have your choice of many nearby restaurants — a short walk and you’re sure to find something you like. Try Sarducci’s in a former grain storage building, Positive Pie, or Julio’s Cantina, both in the historic building blocks on State Street. Following the show, grab a drink at one of the local establishments, where you’re sure to find locally brewed Vermont beer or a good glass of wine.

Historic buildings, excellent natural scenery, local coffee and food, shopping, good entertainment — all in a city that is livable and walkable? Preservationists, come visit Montpelier. You’ll love it!

You can support our preservation work by voting daily at  www.PacificoAdventure.com. A contest code is required to vote — codes are available on specially marked packages of Pacifico beer, in bars and restaurants, by texting 23000, or by clicking “GET CODE” online.

Preservation Pop Quiz

How would you read this building?

Orleans Village, VT Municipal Building. Click and zoom for greater detail.

What do you think of the different brick? The entrance? The front facade?

New Interior Storm Windows

Historic windows are some of the most significant defining features on a building; windows hold the potential to completely alter the appearance and impression of a structure. Sometimes, as we know, the windows are replaced completely. Other times, the wood storm windows are removed and if replaced, it is often with aluminum triple track windows. When talking energy efficiency, storm windows can be one way to retain the historic windows and meet energy standards. Yet, new storm windows (assuming they are not wood like the originals) can change the building’s historic integrity. Original storm windows (such as those in yesterday’s Preservation Photos #144) are a rare sight.

A creative solution is to use interior storm windows, which retains the appearance and integrity of the building’s exterior.

Interior storm windows on Debevoise Hall located on the campus of Vermont Law School in South Royalton, VT.

Interior storm windows.

However, the windows are then altered on the interior: losing the depth of the window casing and losing the window sill, and some of the feel of the historic windows. What is your impression?

Interior storm seen from inside the building.

So, if you had to choose, what would you do? Interior storms? Exterior storms? Good replacement windows? Perhaps interior storms that are not white would be a better fit, and could fade into the background. This is an issue that is often considered with tax credit projects and energy efficiency ratings.

Preservation Photos #144

A rare, but appropriate summer scene: wood storm windows in their proper use. Note how the storms are tilted out from the top and held open with a latch, and a screen inserted when the lower sash is raised. Beautiful!

As found on College Street in Montpelier, VT.