Preservation ABCs: W is for Window

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.

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W is for Window

W is for Window.

W is for Window.

Of course W is for Window. Windows are significant features of every building, indicative of technology, design, trends, architectural style and period. Original windows give much character to a building. When original (historic) windows are replaced, the ability to read a building’s architectural style (it’s identity) is lost, at least partially.

Original windows are better quality than most replacement windows, especially vinyl windows. Please do not replace your windows. The money you spend on replacement, you will not recoup. A better bet is to install storm windows or to do easy, inexpensive energy saving tricks like weather stripping or energy shades will go a long way. And most of the energy loss leaves through your roof, not your window! This is an excellent window guide with a labeled window diagram (learn your sash from your sill from your stile) from the National Trust.

Historic preservationists discuss windows often because there are many rumors against keeping original windows, even those that can be repaired. New windows will never look the same. Look at the window in the photograph above; can you imagine how much character would be lost with another window?!

If a window cannot be repaired or must be replaced, it is best to replace a window in-kind (i.e. a wood window for a wood window with the same sash pattern). But if you can, save your money. Save your windows. Here’s a tip: most historic windows can be repaired because they were made with older growth timber. The wood we have today is not the same.

Next time you see a historic house that you love, take note of the windows. I’ll bet the windows are original or are appropriate replacements.

Georgia, VT Schoolhouse

This schoolhouse – District No. 2 in Georgia, Vermont – is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been restored according to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards. It is also known as the Georgia Stone School.

View of the schoolhouse from the road.

View of the schoolhouse from the road. The stone section was built in 1843. The frame addition was constructed to bring the school to education standards.

National Register of Historic Places.

National Register of Historic Places.

These windows are replacement in-kind.

These  8/8 windows are replacement in-kind. The window bank is an easy identifier of a schoolhouse.

A small parking lot is set away from the schoolhouse and visitors walk through the trees. The cars do not obscure the historic setting of the building, as they are out of sight.

A small parking lot is set away from the schoolhouse and visitors walk through the trees to this view. The cars do not obscure the historic setting of the building, as they are out of sight.

Looking inside the ell.

Looking inside the ell.

Another view inside the ell.

Another view inside the ell. See the chalkboard on the back wall.

The stone school house has historic photographs and documents on display.

The stone school house has photographs and documents on display.

What a beautiful restoration it is. The schoolhouse is privately owned, and is open for private special events. It’s nice to see historic buildings rehabilitated for personal use.

Pondering “My Place”

Some people grow up and grow old in the same place, whether by never moving away or by returning home. Others wander around like gypsy souls, waiting to find that place to set down roots, personally, professionally, or both. And others are content to wander always, finding home wherever their feet land.

Where do you fit in? Counting my current residence, I’ve lived in 14 different houses/apartments in five states. It’s clear that I like to move within states, even within the same town. There’s always another building to love, a new neighborhood to call home. I’ve learned the fine skill of packing, moving, and downsizing (but only when necessary).

Why do I move so often? Life, school, job opportunities, restlessness – the same reasons as anyone else. And I suppose all along I’ve been looking for my place. We’re all told to find our people; those who get us, who support us and who help a place become home. Well, we also need to find our place; where we fit in, where the landscape and the built environment make sense to us, where we want to be. Aside from growing up in New York, I’ve lived in Vermont longer than any I have lived in any state. In fact, after one year in Vermont, I declared that it had cured my geographic commitment phobia and my gypsy soul tendencies. And four years later, has it? For now it has, which is good enough for me.

Burlington, VT: one of my places.

Oakledge Park and Lake Champlain looking to Burlington, VT: one of my places.

Lately I’ve been realizing that my place has many locations; I’ll never have just one, for all chapters of life will fit in different places. And those chapters might take me someplace new.  Slowly, I’m realizing that that’s okay. There’s no rule that I (or you) have to live in or feel at home in just one place. Not every town or city will feel like home, but then I’ll find it in the next one.

Instead of a geographic place, I find my place in other ways. Take, for instance, a track. Give me a 400 meter running track (preferably with a red surface) and I’m completely at home. Nine years of competing on a track team and four years of coaching and years after of running workouts, a track brings a calm feeling to me, one that is filled with good memories, strength, clarity, comfort and a knowingness of who I am. Or give me an open window with a breeze coming off a body of water and my heart swells with the feeling and memories of Point Lookout and family, my favorite place to be. And even though I’m not there, the comfort of that breeze brings a smile to my face. Give me sunshine and warmth or a crisp fall day, and I’m supremely happy to exist in that moment, wherever I might be.

So what defines my place? Aside from landscape and climate, maybe much of it is intangible, varying for all of us. Memories from previous places help to fill a new place and keep me connected from one to another. Yet, I move to find something new, so memory triggers are not the entire list of attributes of my place. Each place, geographic or otherwise, gathers its own memories.

It’s a complicated topic, perhaps one that deserves additional discourse. I’m learning that I’m happy to have my gypsy soul tendencies, and I’ll love new places because I know that I can always find home in each of them, at least in some elements. Yet, I know that Burlington, VT is one of my places, whereas Omaha, NE was not, even if I have good memories there. So maybe I take those memories with me and move somewhere new that becomes (one of) my geographic places, one of the places that I do feel at home. And then that gives me a complete place; my place.

Tell me, what do you think? How would you define your place? Is it geographic? Is it anywhere your family and friends are? How do you know when you found your placeDo you have one or more? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

Preservation Photos #200

20130924-091549.jpg Standing at a train station in Brooklyn. The view from the elevated railroad is fascinating, as you get to view buildings at the cornice and look below to the neighborhood.

Preservation Pop Quiz

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Bonus points if you know this location!

Happy Monday! Here’s a pop quiz. (Anyone else think actual pop quizzes are just about the worst thing in school? Luckily this if for fun, not grades.)

How would you read this streetscape? Specifically, why is there a fire hydrant in the street?

Love to Colorado

Dear Colorado, 

Here in Vermont, we send our love, support, sympathy, empathy, and help to those of you affected by the recent flooding. Tropical Storm Irene struck us in 2011. It’s tragic and shocking and something none of us would wish on anyone, anywhere. To see your homes destroyed; your roads washed away; to see your family, friends, even strangers in your own state suffering – it’s unlike anything else. It’s something that none of us understand until it’s our own backyard.

Once the shock fades, recovery begins (well, sometimes it’s concurrent), but you will survive because you are strong. We are Vermont Strong. And you are Colorado Strong. You do what you have to do. Take it hour by hour, day by day, task by task. Join with your neighbors. Accept help. Offer help. Take a deep breath. Know that everything you do is getting you closer to recovery. You will recover. It will take time, and for a while there might not be a light at the end of the tunnel. But you’ll get there. We promise. We know, because we’ve been there. It was two years ago, and there are still lingering recovery tasks, but overall we’re  a stronger state.

And you can lean on us for support. Our state officials and state agencies are already connected and talking about immediate response, followed by long term recovery. We’re two states so far away from one another, but we want to help. We feel your pain. Everything will be okay. You can do this.

Love, Vermont

Waterville, Vermont Playground

You never know where or when you will come across an awesome historic playground! The small town of Waterville, Vermont is such an example. The current library and town offices are housed in the former Waterville Central School, which is a classic 1930s two-room schoolhouse (a relatively common building type in Vermont). The school sits on a hill above the road, with its playground in front, basketball court and playing field behind the school.

The Waterville School.

The Waterville Central School.

Rear of the Waterville school - the window banks are classic indications of schools. This building had two classrooms as indicated by the windows.

Rear of the Waterville school – the window banks are classic indications of schools. This building had two classrooms as indicated by the windows.

This ramshackle playground remains on the property grounds, though it’s fallen into disrepair. A passerby mentioned that a couple used to take care of the playground, but he’s not sure what happened in recent years. Still, it’s a great look at a historic playground. I call this one historic because it has presumably original equipment and it is located in its historic setting.

View of the playground from the school.

View of the playground from the school.

The playground sits below the school.

The playground sits below the school.

Look at that slide built into the hill!

Look at that slide built into the hill!

Obviously, I had to test the slide!

Obviously, I had to test the slide!

The worn merry-go-round and swings in the background.

The worn merry-go-round and swings in the background.

One seesaw where there used to be two.

One seesaw where there used to be two.

This leads me to guess that it's a handmade seesaw.

This leads me to guess that it’s a handmade seesaw.

Playground swings.

Playground swings.

Another view of the swings.

Another view of the swings.

A swingset on the playground with a seesaw, swings, and steps to nowhere - probably previously to a slide.

A swing set on the playground with a seesaw, swings, and steps to nowhere – probably previously to a slide.

Only two steps on the swing set.

Only two steps on the swing set.

A slide would have been here, it seems.

A slide would have been here, it seems.

How old is this playground? Many of the apparatuses appear homemade, which makes it more difficult to determine. However, based on the type of equipment it is plausible to say that playground dates to the early days of the school, ca. 1930s. Anyone have any thoughts on that? Maybe there was even a giant stride on the playground (sadly, no signs of one). But, what a great playground, right? Now it just needs some TLC.

Flamingo-grams Special Edition: Flamingos in NYC!

Just a lovely blur of weekend with some of the flamingo gang as we toured New York City. Expect more to about our trip, but here’s a collage for now, posted for the benefit of those who do not follow PiP on instagram or Twitter (@presinpink on both).  Enjoy! There are many more photos to come! {Click the individual photos for larger images and full captions.}

Sunday Snapshots for Summer #15

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All too many options for a photo today. See Monday for more. What have you been up to this weekend?