With Your Coffee

Welcome to the weekend! How’s it going? The flamingo in the photo above is from my sister who is exploring the wild American west (specifically Las Vegas as of lately). Of course, I asked for flamingos and she obliged. She sent some live flamingo photos, too, but you know I cannot resist flamingo kitsch. This week I worked on some blog formatting changes. If you haven’t noticed, check out the Series page and the drop down menu when you hover over it. I’ll be working to tidy up the blog and making it more accessible. Hope you like it! Now, for some links.

Have you read anything good this week? Please share!

Coffee cheers! Have a great weekend.

Ca. 1860, Georgian plan, decorative shinglework on the second story, two interior chimneys… what a beauty in Ferrisburgh, VT. #presinpink

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Live at 5:25 – CCTV with Preservation Burlington

Today at 5:25pm, I’ll be joining Preservation Burlington on their monthly TV show to talk about social media + historic preservation. Watch it LIVE or catch it at another time in the Preservation Burlington CCTV archive (this episode).

Social media + historic preservation is a topic near and dear to my heart, of course, and I’m excited to join the hosts, Ron Wanamaker & Liisa Reimann, and another guest, Erin Barnaby of the Shelburne Museum.

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While I love presentations, I’ve never been on live TV, so fingers crossed for a good first TV experience! If you have suggestions for TV appearances, let me know in the comments. Cheers!

Keeping Track of 2016

This is a conversation I have with myself every January while browsing the paper goods section of a store. (See here, 2012.) Maybe I should start a planner for 2016. That one would be perfect. Maybe I’ll keep it up this year. It’d be a good time capsule. I love looking at my planners. Such memories. Though, for the past few years, I can’t manage to maintain a planner.

Yup, every year. I haven’t kept a true planner since graduate school. It makes more sense for school because of all the assignments and exams and scheduling. I haven’t kept a hand-written diary in a few years. Everything is digital now. I have my outlook calendar for work and my google and apple calendars. Everything is linked to my phone. However, I miss the satisfaction of crossing off items on my to-do list, jotting down a to-do list, and flipping through pages to see what this year has brought. I’ve yet to find a satisfying app for a to-do list.

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The iPhone calendar.

I didn’t realize the impermanent nature of digital calendars until I switched jobs last April. My work calendar of the previous 5 years was gone because I no longer had that email address. Meetings, days in the field, all of it vanished. It seems minor, but I like remembering what I did on a certain day in a particular year. It’s how my brain pieces together memories. Suddenly, a digital calendar seemed helpful, but not a reliable record of my life.

Naturally, I flipped through calendars and planners in all of the stationery sections of all of the stores as 2015 came to a close. I can’t help it. And then I found one that I adored. A weekly/monthly planner for 2016 with an aesthetic that spoke to me. I know planner addicts know what I mean.

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This planner spoke to me.

What will I do with this planner? Good question. So far, I’m using it to jot down plans with friends, appointments, events, and to make a note about each day – such as “cooked dinner at home,” “xc skiing with friends,” “slept in,” “long run with the girls,” “trip to IKEA” or something mundane that I just want to record so I can remember how the days pass. That’s as important to my soul as the bigger events.

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Good aesthetic, pink ribbon, perfect amount of space.

While we’re talking digital v. paper, running jumps into the conversation. I run with a Garmin, which records all of my runs and routes and distances, etc. It uploads nicely into the Garmin website and an iphone app, too. I love it. But, this year, I fell in love with the Believe journal designed by pro-runners for runners. Most runners love to obsess about training and mileage. I am one of them. There is something gratifying about writing down my workouts and goals and keeping track, tallying up results, and flipping through a beautiful book about running.

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Running journal, I’ve been waiting for you.

 

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Example of the running journal. 2016 goal: injury free and enjoy it!

Thus, this year, my goal is to use my planner and my running journal for the entire year. Maybe it’s a bit of duplication from my digital life, but it’s completely enjoyable.

How are you keeping track of 2016? How do you feel about long term digital life?

Five Questions With Clint Tankersley of Presonomics & HiFi History

For years now, I’ve had preservation friends from social media; but, it was only about two years ago that I started to meet my “social media” friends in “real life”. I love making the world smaller and meeting friends who are doing inspiring work. Enter a new series to Preservation in Pink: Five Questions With. In this series, I’m talking with colleagues, social media friends, and others I admire to learn some tricks of the trade, hear their stories, and introduce you to more preservationists.

Next up (#5) in the series is Clint Tankersley.

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A scene from his lobbying experience with Preservation Action: Clint Tankersley (left, 2014 Advocacy Scholar), Dave Cross (Georgia Deputy SHPO), Congressman John Lewis, and Michael Phillips (National Trust Community Investment Corporation). Photo courtesy of Clint Tankersley.

Those deep in the preservation world will already know Clint from Presonomics, the non-profit organization that promotes the economic benefits of restoring historic buildings. Or, if you’re a podcast junkie, you might know Clint from his podcast HiFi History.

At the PastForward conference in November, Clint participated in the Instawalk and he answered many of my questions about Presonomics. Preservation & Economics can seem like a daunting task, but Clint and his team jumped in headfirst (all volunteers!) to make it easier for all of us. Clint’s hard work and motivation to help spread the good news of preservation as well as the tougher topics is inspiring and admirable. I thought you might like to meet Clint and learn about these endeavors. Read on!

 

  1. You are a preservationist and a lawyer. How did you decide to do both, and which came first?

I’ve loved history all my life. I know that’s a cliche thing to say in the preservation field, but for me love of history and historic places was almost inborn. My parents, who grew up poor without many opportunities to travel, were always taking my siblings and me to visit awesome historic places. After I took Mr. Cory Callahan’s riveting and unconventional 10th grade World History class, I even thought I might want to be a history teacher one day. But in college I moved into what I saw as a more useful, more lucrative field—business management. Taking business law courses from a brilliant, smart-mouthed, no-nonsense lawyer moved me towards a legal career.

So, law school came first. I never ever thought of marrying my interest in history with a career in the law. Frankly, I didn’t really understand the field of historic preservation—you can major in that? But when I got a job as a research assistant for my Environmental Law professor, Ryan Rowberry, the scales began to fall from my eyes. Professor Rowberry was a historian in medieval British history long before he became a lawyer and he had successfully combined both interests into an academic career, so I guess I had a good model. Long story short, I soon realized that I needed to focus in on preservation law. Ryan encouraged me to pursue a Master’s in Historic Preservation and I eventually relented.

 

  1. Can you explain the importance of preservationists understanding laws and the legal system?

As preservationists, we use many tools. Digital cameras, mapping software, design guidelines, electronic communication, and public outreach, to name a few. The legal system is another one of those tools. Perhaps, in some ways, it can be understood as the tool belt—it holds up and binds together all of our other tools. The law underlies everything that we do as preservationists.

But recognizing the law for what it is—a tool—means that we shouldn’t fear it. Rather, we need to wield it deftly and artfully to our own benefit. And, as a tool (or tool belt), don’t forget that it can be modified or even replaced if we don’t like it. Current laws are not the “end all be all” in the preservation paradigm. Too often, I think we let timidity or fear of failure hold us back from trying to improve our current preservation laws.

 

  1. What work has Presonomics done in 2015/16 – with whom do you work?

We’ve done a lot! But I’ll just touch on 2 projects. Most recently, we launched a new podcast (more on that later). The other project (it’s a mega-project really) is the Presonomics Open Access Repository. POAR (pronounced like “pour some knowledge into this developer’s brain”), as we affectionately call it, is a free online repository that will contain all extant publications related to preservation economics. The concept behind POAR is to make it easier for preservation activists to access economic data that can be used as powerful tools in their efforts to win over government officials, developers and property owners. This project requires extensive research and we currently have a team of research interns conducting thorough investigations one state at a time. So far, our phenomenal team has collectively logged over 700 hours of research and has documented over 1,000 publications related to preservation economics!

And lest your readers think that this will just be a huge boring list of study names with hyperlinks, let me explain further. We want to make the information from these studies as accessible as possible for the broadest possible swathe of mankind. To that end, we have read every one of these publications so you don’t have to (but they’ll be there if you want to dig in). We then pulled out all of the topics that each publication discusses and even provided a nice, one-sentence summary of each study. We believe that this pre-packaged approach will greatly simplify and empower the preservation advocacy process. Plus, we may even uncover new, previously unknown benefits of preservation by data mining all of this information.

We are deep into the research phase of POAR and we are now planning for funding opportunities to finance the digital construction of the repository itself. We will be applying for grants during 2016 and we hope to have funding secured by the beginning of 2017. Best case scenario, POAR will be fully operational about 2 years from now. That may seem like a super long time but it is quite remarkable when you consider that this is an all-volunteer endeavor.

 

  1. How would you like to see it grow?

The vision of Presonomics is to make the preservation of historic places the rule, not the exception, in the development of living communities throughout the world. To achieve this goal, we have to educate, educate, educate. At all levels (womb to tomb) and across all sectors.

We need more partners from different fields. Environmental, health care, law enforcement, poverty reduction initiatives. Those all need to have a seat at the table and I’d like Presonomics to be a facilitator of these conversations. We aim to be the go-to source for all things preservation economics.

 

  1. You also have HiFi History – how did you decide to start this podcast series? What has the response been so far?

I love podcasts (if you’re wondering, some of my favorites are Hello Internet, Freakonomics, Hardcore History, and Reply All). Listening to podcasts makes my short commute to work much more enjoyable and they really do a fabulous job of stimulating my brain. But I hungered for more preservation-related audio entertainment. So, ever the go-getter, I took it upon myself to create a new podcast, which is technically under the auspice of Presonomics.

I figured that I would give it a go and see if there is enough interest out there to support it. The show’s future is uncertain, but so far the response that I have been hearing is overwhelmingly positive. We just need many more listeners to make it viable. I believe that they will come over time. If you’re reading this right now and haven’t listened to it yet, then give it a try! I think that podcasting is a huge untapped market for the preservation movement to get its message across. History-themed podcasts are among the most popular genres out there and I am trying to figure out how to connect with that community. Things take time! But exposure to popular blogs like the cult classic Preservation in Pink may be just the boost we’ve been looking for.

 

Thank you, Clint! Economics is much easier to understand when you explain it. And thank you for the preservation podcast. We have been needing one! I also like that Preservation in Pink is now a “cult classic”!!  😉 Keep up the good work and send our appreciation to your team.

Connect with Presonomics on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and find HiFi History on Twitter.

Abandoned Vermont: Ferrisburgh Farm House

Sometimes I think I must have seen all of the abandoned (or seemingly abandoned, empty) houses in Vermont based on all of the roads I’ve traveled for work and fun over the years. It may seem ridiculous, but sometimes months pass before I find another striking one. And then out of nowhere, I’ll find another. This one caught me by surprise. Just outside of Vergennes (where all of the houses are well maintained and beautiful), this house seemed like a duplex because of the twin gables. It’s most peculiar. The house sits among a working farm; it is surrounded by modern, functioning farm buildings.

It is included in the Vermont State Historic Sites & Structures Survey (VHSSS) and the Vermont State Register of Historic Places. Little information is listed, as typical with many 1970s surveys. In fact, the information is more focused on barns than the house. It is described as a ca. 1885 house with a ground stable barn, dairy barn, and carriage barn. The house was not photographed at the time, which leads me to wonder how long it has been in a state of neglect. And the barns are maybe long, long gone?

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A barn & the ca. 1885 house. It almost looks good from far away.

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A collapsing porch, but what else?

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Another neglected building, breaking my heart.

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Zooming in with the camera, the fallen shutters and missing gable screens are apparent. Windows are open. No one is living in this house, or at least this part of the house. Pardon the washed out photo; I had to zoom in quite far!

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The side porch is collapsing, as well. The house must be vacant. How sad for it to fall surrounded by an active farm. I wonder where the owners live.

Do you know anything about this house? I’d love to know the local stories.

Sunshine and snow, welcome back! The District 1, 1866, Hathorne School in Bridport (Addison County, VT) looks good with you. #presinpink

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