Preservation Photos #153

A salt kettle in Marion, VA.

The plaque reads:

Once used industrially in nearby Saltville, brine from wells was evaporated to solid salt in these kettles over wood fires. From 1790 to 1895, such salt was shipped throughout the southeast and was the cause of important battles during the War Between the States.

Kettle donated to Smyth County, Virginia by Dr. D.C. Boatwright and the heirs of Charles J. Duncan.

Plaque donated by Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation, Saltville, Virginia.


Preservation ABCs: F is for Flamingo

Preservation ABCs is a series that will work its way from A to Z, bringing words into conversation that are relevant to historic preservation, whether it’s an idea, feature or vocabulary term. The idea is to help you see preservation everywhere you look and wherever you go. Enjoy! See previous letters.


F is for Flamingo

Historic preservation and the flamingo: an obvious connection to some, yet a puzzle to those new to the Preservation in Pink world. The beginning of the link between historic preservation and flamingos dates to Mary Washington College, ca. 2003-2006. You can read that story here. In brief, the flamingo has been the underlying bond between eight of us since graduation when we scattered across the country, and it became a way to tie each other together throughout studies, conversations and eventually across the world. Sending each other pink flamingos reminded us of our shared passion and the fact that there was a group of classmates and friends for support in any way. Admittedly, it has grown a bit out of control. (And it’s so easy now because flamingos are very much in vogue everywhere!)

The pink flamingo says to everyone that preservation is not all academics and only for professionals; it is a wide reaching field that applies to everyone. Preservation can be connected to folk art and material culture kitsch like the pink flamingo in addition to serious topics like national policies, building restoration, quality of life issues, transportation, local businesses and shaping the future of our communities. Preservation discussions can be held in the classroom, a board room, at a coffee shop, casually or seriously.

In the world of Preservation in Pink, the flamingo will always be a focus. Hopefully when you see a pink flamingo, you’ll think of the positive outlook and good effects that historic preservation has in your world, and you can teach others about it.

Keep sending flamingo links, thoughts, photos, etc.

Abandoned Vermont: Simonsville Meeting House

Churches and meeting houses and similar institutional buildings are so often neglected and used only sporadically as populations and congregations age, people move elsewhere and the community shifts. Sometimes the building no longer serves a purpose to the community or people favor a new building over their historic buildings. So it sits, awaiting use and suffers from the elements. The Simonsville Meeting House in Windsor County, VT is an example of a building that fell out of use.

Simonsville Meeting House in Windsor County, VT, constructed 1848.

Leaning steeple and roof repair.

Chipped and peeling paint on the clapboards.

Looking up from the back of the meeting house.

On the side of the building are large shutters over the top sashes.

View through the side windows.

Front door knob.

Closer view of the steeple.

Record shot.

The building seems solid and square still, assuming the roof repairs are maintained and the steeple is repaired. Anyone have creative ideas for an adaptive reuse project?


Some recent Preservation in Pink adventures, including a flamingo wedding*! If you follow PiP on Twitter or Instagram these might be repeats, so I’ve thrown in a few new images. Where have you been lately? Anywhere fun? Do tell.

For a change of pace, more posts coming this weekend.

*I should clarify that by flamingo wedding, I refer to one of the “flamingo girls” who was married this past weekend in Virginia. We flamingos flock from all corners of the world to attend each other’s weddings. Congratulations Elyse & Adam!

Preservation ABCs: E is for Economics

Preservation ABCs is a series that will work its way from A to Z, bringing words into conversation that are relevant to historic preservation, whether it’s an idea, feature or vocabulary term. The idea is to help you see preservation everywhere you look and wherever you go. Enjoy! See previous letters.


E is for Economics

The corner of State Street and Main Street in Montpelier, VT.

Historic preservation is good for the economic health of your town, city, state and country; the two fields are inherently related. Investing in existing buildings in cohesive commercial cores brings people, dollars and life to your historic downtowns and city centers. Here the environment is often human scale and has grown organically, meaning that people can live comfortably in such locations. When people are able to shop, work, live and play in a central location, quality of life improves and happiness improves. Over the decades, historic buildings and downtowns have been neglected, forgotten and eventually reinvigorated. Interest in reinventing the existing built environment continues to grow as people find value in the well built historic buildings and locations.

Why does historic preservation help the economy? Many of the reasons relate to the sustainability of working within the built environment, and the fact that historic preservation is sustainable development. Donovan Rypkema, of Place Economics, speaks best to this subject: read one of his presentations here.

In brief, historic preservation is good for your economy because it brings businesses to your community and creates cultural and economic life. Historic preservation work offers tax credits. Historic preservation is sustainable, and thus, a good financial, economic decision. Historic preservation creates jobs. Historic preservation creates heritage tourism, which brings revenue to your community. Here’s a brief fact sheet from the Georgia Trust. And here are economic studies provided by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

This topic can and should continue in greater depth, but it’s important to know that historic preservation is entirely related to economics, and therefore applicable to all of us. It’s good for you and your community.

Preservation works. Preservation makes cents (pun intended). Preservation is good for your economy.

Preservation Grammar: “In” v. “On” the National Register

When referring to a historically significant property, do you say that it is listed “on the National Register of Historic Places” or “in the National Register of Historic Places?”

Think about for a minute. Write it down. Which is your preference? Which sounds correct?  Is there a correct answer?  Considering how interchangeable “in” and “on” seem to be in relation to the National Register, it may seem like either one is correct. While both tend to be accepted, there is a right answer.

In the National Register” is the proper phrase.

The National Park Service National Register Bulletin says this, “Properties listed in the National Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture.”

And consider this. The Register is a list. Properties are in that list, among other properties – a part of something (the register). They are not on the list. Think of it like a group of properties or in a crowd of properties – in that group, not on that group. Make sense? Would anyone care to parse this discussion further?

What’s your success rate with “in” or “on” and where did you learn the difference?


Previous Preservation Grammar posts: 

Preservation ABCs: D is for Door

Preservation ABCs is a series that will work its way from A to Z, bringing words into conversation that are relevant to historic preservation, whether it’s an idea, feature or vocabulary term. The idea is to help you see preservation everywhere you look and wherever you go. Enjoy! See previous letters.


D is for Door

D is for Door. This door is on State Street in Montpelier, VT.

Architectural styles are defined by all elements of a building, from siding to windows to shape to massing, ornamentation, details and doors. As much as preservationists discuss the negative effects of window replacements, door replacements are often overlooked, yet just as detrimental. Doors are replaced for a variety of reasons: security, fire codes, new locks, damage, updates, etc. It might seem that one opening of the entire building elevation would not have such an impact of the architectural integrity and the impression of a building, but when you consider the fact that doors are the entrances, the focal points, the main thoroughfare into a building, they begin to have more influence.

Imagine a 19th century house with original windows, clapboard siding and a brand new, vinyl door (the kind with the oval window, for example). The image doesn’t match, does it? Or sidelights and transoms blocked in when the door is changed. Door styles are part of architectural style. The number of panels in doors, the methods of construction, details of hardware, height of the doorknob, type of wood, overall size of the door, type of door surrounds, are all indicative of a particular time period and influence.

Think about historic storefronts with generic metal frames and glass doors, the same doors that you can find in any strip mall. It completely changes the feeling of entering a historic building, aside from the architectural design. When a door is replaced with an incompatible door, the historic integrity and therefore historic significance of a building suffers.

The next time you look at a building, look at the door. What do you think? Original? Replacement? Appropriate? Incompatible? Save the historic doors!

Preservation Photos #151

Brilliant historic storm window design. Being able to open the storm windows rather than have to switch them completely from storm to screen would possibly save more original windows.

Preservation Pop Quiz


Architectural historians, here is a question for you. How would you define the recessed brick sections on this building?