Brutalism at IKEA

I’m a preservationist, but I live in a small condo, in a new building in Vermont. This sounds opposite of a what a preservationist would choose, right? Well, sort of. While the building was constructed in 2014, it was constructed on a parking lot in downtown Burlington. I can walk everywhere and choose to use the car as minimally as possible, embracing an urban lifestyle and shopping local when feasible. Because my condo is small, I have come to embrace IKEA design. It’s minimal, modern, streamlined, and perfect for small space living. I can spot an IKEA piece from across a room or from a glimpse at a photograph and know what is worth buying and what isn’t. Anyone with me?

Recently, I visited IKEA New Haven (CT). I’ve blogged about this IKEA before. It’s the one that sits next to the (now IKEA owned) former Pirelli Tire Building, a 1968 building designed by Marcel Breuer in the Brutalist style. IKEA demolished the two-story wing, but the main block remains. Not the best preservation story.

During my recent visit, I peaked in the windows of the building. It’s still empty. However, news reports say that IKEA is considering rehabilitating the building into a hotel. It’s just a rumor, it seems, but it sounds promising, and maybe would serve as (belated) mitigation for the adverse effects to the building. It would make IKEA a destination, for sure. Ha.

img_2957

View from the IKEA cafeteria. 

img_2955

Reflected in IKEA. 

img_2951

Exterior details. 

img_2952

Looking up.

img_2950

Peeking inside the bottom floor of the Pirelli Tire building.

img_2960

Sitting in the IKEA cafeteria, you can gaze upon the Brutalist architecture. 

What do you think? Do you appreciate Brutalism more as time goes on? Do you love IKEA or steer clear? And where do you live? Urban? Suburban? Rural? New? Historic?

Advertisements

Tourist Cabins: West Shore Cabins, North Hero, VT

Summer is winding down, but fall in Vermont is a perfect time of year to visit. The humidity has decreased, the leaves are changing, and you can readily find apple cider doughnuts to go with your craft beer. Take a drive on U.S. Route 2 and you’ll pass through the Champlain Islands (or “the Islands”). The Champlain Islands offer a completely different feel than central Vermont. The land is flatter, mountains are in the distance, the lake is visible for much your drive, and fall arrives a bit later than in the mountain towns. It would be a lovely time of year to stay in a tourist cabin on Lake Champlain. I’m happy to report that there are more tourist cabins operating in Vermont!

The West Shore Cabins are operating tourist cabins located adjacent to Lake Champlain on U.S. Route 2 in North Hero, part of the area known as the Champlain Islands. What began as the West Shore Inn in 1927, became the West Shore Cabins in 1945. At that time it was run by the Donaldson family who saw how a motor court would be a good economic venture as automobile traffic increased in the mid-20th century.  Some cabins were relocated to this site and others were constructed on site. Today the family operated business offers five cabins for daily or weekly rentals from May – mid October.

West-Shore-Cabins-History-Pic-3

West Shore Inn postcard. Image via West Shore Cabins.

DSC_0560

The vintage sign between the lake and U.S. Route 2.

DSC_0561

West Shore Cabins sit on U.S. Route 2 with a clear west view to Lake Champlain and its sunsets.

DSC_0554

The cabins retain much of their historic integrity including siding, porches, windows, and fenestration.

DSC_0552

Novelty siding, exposed rafter tails, screened porch and a barbecue out front; Cabin 5 is adorable.

DSC_0551

Cabins 4 and 5.

DSC_0548

Cabin 1.

DSC_0553

DSC_0547

The cabins are set back from the road, with no obstructions to the lake views.

DSC_0549

Ca. 1880 (with later alterations) residence associated with the owners of West Shore Cabins.

Happy end of summer! Let me know if you find more tourist cabins and/or stay in one!

Demolished New York: Massena High School {or: How to Answer “What Used to Be Here?”}

Demolished? It’s a variant on “Abandoned” posts, yes. However; it seems like a good way to show you the mind of a traveling preservation (or at least how mine works). What does a preservationist think about when traveling? And how does a preservationist find the answer to her question? I’ll use Massena, NY as an example, which I visited earlier this summer.

Massena, NY is a town located on the St. Lawrence River in northern New York, just south of the Canadian border. Once economically supported by the railroad and a canal, the car manufacturer, GM, along with Reynolds and Alcoa, Massena has seen better days since GM closed in 2009, removing billions of dollars from the local economy. However, the town has a good stock of historic buildings with tree-lined side streets showing its former prosperity and its potential. We enjoyed walking around town studying its current state and wondering about its past.

img_1335

Downtown Massena: underground utilities, sidewalk pavers, trees, storefronts – it is clear that there has been investment in this town not too long ago.

img_1331

The 1918 Strand Theater on Main Street is currently closed, but rehabilitation efforts are in the works.

img_1333

Theater plans in the window.

img_1332

Massena Downtown Theatre Association – see here http://massenadowntowntheatre.com/

The remainder of the small downtown “main street” includes abandoned buildings (such as the School of Business), building under rehabilitation, empty storefronts, occupied storefronts, a hotel, a post office, and some stores.

img_1336

This corner building holds a gym on the first floor.

img_1339

The rehabilitated bridge over the Grass River.

Outside of the downtown block are tree-lined residential streets with sidewalks and historic houses with front porches. There is a large park between Clark Street and Danforth Street (see map below) with a monument in it. It’s part sign, part monument, you could say.

massena park aerial

img_1325

Massena High School sign and school bell installed in the park.

img_1326

Memorial sign.

img_1327

The park and former school grounds as they appear today. The sign is behind me in this photograph.

I wondered what this sign was doing here, oddly located, in the middle of an empty park with nothing else. Where did it come from? A quick look on the map showed it labeled as “Wooden Park.” Other maps showed it as “Old Bridges Avenue Junior High School.” It seems like an odd spot for a school building, as the lot is fairly narrow. There certainly was no parking. What did it look like, if it was a school? When I have a question like this, I turn to historicaerials.com, which usually answers my question. See below. The school filled the entire space between the streets.

massena high school

The school is in the center of the photograph with Clark Street on the left and Danforth Street on the right. Note the courtyard in the middle of the school.  Photo: historicaerials.com

massena1976

Massena, 1976.

And, of course, I search for images on Google or Cardcow.com or eBay. In this case I searched for old “Massena High School” NY. I vary the quotation marks until I find what I’m looking for. When you have a common phrase such as “high school” it’s best to use it in quotes with its name, otherwise you’ll have an endless list of search results. Fortunately, this search wasn’t too difficult.

High School Massena, NY

Massena High School. Source: cardcow.com

massena high shcool photo

Massena High School (later Junior High School). Source: http://www.topix.com/album/detail/massena-ny/R3V9PSPSATQBVQOU. Thank you, kind strangers, who post information about your hometowns on the internet.

The high school was closed after the 1980-81 school year and demolished in 1986. I was unsuccessful in discovering why it was removed, but I would guess it had to do with expensive upgrades and maintenance issues. In its place a wooden park was constructed in 1990 and removed in 2015. It was officially known as the Danforth Place Creative Playground. Walking across the grass, you can still find wood remnants of the playground. The playground was removed due to deterioration and increasing vandalism and illegal activity on the playground.

And that, my preservation friends, is a simple way to find out answers to “what used to be here?” What tricks do you have?

Tourist Cabins: Injunjoe Court, West Danville, VT

After eight years of driving by these tourist cabins on Joe’s Pond in West Danville, VT, I finally stopped to snap a few photographs. I figured if I waited any longer, I’d be tempting fate. This collection of tourist cabins is known as “Injunjoe Court”. No, it’s certainly not a name that would be given today. However, it is reportedly named after a St. Francis Indian of the Canadian Coosuck tribe. This site was used for summer hunting grounds, and Old Joe was a scout and guide on the side of the Americans in the Revolutionary War. He protected the builders of the nearby Bailey-Hazen Road. (Source: Vermont Hsitoric Sites and Structures Survey, page 70 of this PDF.)

DSC_0172

You will see this sign on your right as you travel eastbound on US Route 2 through West Danville, VT.

DSC_0180

View from the Joe’s Pond side of the road.

DSC_0174

There are 15 cabins on the property, all slightly different and of varying sizes. Most have novelty siding and a small porch.

DSC_0175

Exposed rafter tails, old screen doors, lots of charm.

DSC_0179

The office sits up on the hill.

DSC_0185

View from the office and upper cabins.

DSC_0187

This one has an original window (2nd from left) and fieldstone chimney. Note the window flowerbox, too.

DSC_0186

A row of cabins.

DSC_0188

Spectacular views from all of the cabins.

DSC_0173

Even the cabins closest to the road offer privacy.

injunjoe

An undated postcard. Note the signage. It appears that today’s sign is the same, except for the color and the headdress removed on the left side.

Scroll to Book III, page 70 of this PDF of the Danville Vermont Historic Sites & Structures Survey for a detailed history and architectural description.

Pages from Danville_HistoricSurvey__SurveyForm_00000010

From the VHSSS, an undated postcard. The cabin at the road and the entrance gate are no longer extant.

Likely constructed in the earlier decades of the 20th century, the cabins and cottages appear to have changed very little since them. An old brochure (no date, but it is from a 2013 environmental review file) indicates that Injunjoe Court had cabins, cottages, and RV spaces. Guests could borrow canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats for free. Rates included housekeeping, cable tv, heating, refrigerator, microwave, and bathrooms. Some cottages had fully furnished kitchens. Click on the brochure link above to see an interior photo. The distinction between the cabins and cottages was that cabins were smaller (think tourist cabins, no kitchens) and cottages were larger with kitchens and could accommodate four people. At one point the owner was Beth Perreault.

Based on the lack of No/Vacancy signage and the website that is no longer up (injunjoecourt.net), I’d say that Injunjoe Court is not open in 2018. If you know anything about it, please share in the comments.

Tourist Cabins at Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site

Tourist cabins are few and far between in Vermont these days, but readers know I have a soft spot for them. Imagine my delight when I saw three tourist cabins at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. These cabins were named Top of Notch Cabins and opened in 1927 by Ruth Aldridge who operated a tea room called “Top of the Notch.” These cabins were built in Boston, shipped flat, and constructed on site. Currently the middle cabin is an exhibit. I was there for a workday with the UVM HP Alumni Association, but I plan to check out the site when it’s open in the warmer months. For now, here are some tourist cabin images.

Find any tourist cabins lately? I’d love to see them!

#ihavethisthingwithfloors, Lightner Museum Edition

The mosaic tile floor in the lobby of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, FL, is one of the prettiest floors I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s one of the prettiest rooms. It would be a perfect place for a preservation party! Take a look. 


Coming up: more on the Lightner Museum & Alcazar Hotel. 

Abandoned Vermont: Highgate Springs Church

Highgate Springs, a small town just south of the USA/Canada border, sits on US Route 7, directly adjacent to Interstate 89. Home to lakeside homes, a family resort, and working farms, you wouldn’t know much is there, except for the church steeple that you can see from I-89, if you’re paying attention. Finally, I had the opportunity to drive by and snap a few photographs.

DSCN8929

You can immediately see the variety of architectural styles: the stick style gable screen, the Gothic entrance hood and pointed window arches, and the classical modillions on the tower.

 

The Highgate Springs Union Church, this Victorian Gothic building was constructed in 1877, with a mixture of Stick, Classical, and Gothic details. Originally built as a single-denomination church, it was soon used by a  “union” of Highgate denominations. It is listed in the Vermont State Register of Historic Places (#0609-58).

“The Little White Church,” as it’s locally called, is not technically abandoned, based on what I can find. However, it no longer offers regular services. Instead, it’s used for special events such as weddings from May- October.

DSCN8928

The church sits on at a small Y intersection.

 

 

DSCN8914

The benefit of late spring in Vermont: you can see the buildings through the trees even in mid May.

 

DSCN8917

The entrance.

 

DSCN8916

Looking up to the steeple. The siding is flushboard on the tower, a more expensive look that the typical clapboard (on the right).

 

DSCN8924

Flushboard siding.

 

DSCN8925

Classical, Gothic, and Stick details.

 

dscn8923.jpg

A trick to tell if a building is being used? Is the electrical meter hooked up? If so, it’s not abandoned. Perhaps more neglected. This siding show paint peeling and repairs needed.

 

DSCN8921

Peeking in through the windows.

 

DSCN8920

The altar, as seen through the windows.

 

DSCN8922

The exterior.

Beautiful, yes? And not abandoned, but it could use some maintenance and more funding and greater usage.

Every community seems to have similar issues with churches. What about those near you?

With Your Coffee

21586646809_233929d3c0_z

Dreaming of warmer days and spring trips like those to Quebec City. Seen here: Hotel du Parlement. 

Happy weekend, everyone! Happy April! It’s snowing in Burlington, and, no, that is not an April Fool’s joke. How I wish it were. However, the snow is prettier than the barren trees and patches of brown dirt that are usually here this time of year. I suppose snow is okay for another day. A few reading links for the weekend:

  • This 12 stall barn was remodeled into a home. How did they do it? Basically, gutting it. While pretty, the new residence does not retain any historic integrity. What do you think? I was hoping they’d keep some of the stalls for something! (A pantry? A closet? A powder room?) And the doors. Sigh.
  • Are you an alum of the UVM Historic Preservation Program? If you haven’t heard about the 40th Anniversary Celebration on October 13-15, 2017, be sure to check out uvmhpalum.wordpress.com for the latest updates. It’s the perfect excuse to come back to Burlington for a visit! Spread the word.
  • This time of year in Vermont makes me miss North Carolina. Spring is well settled in by now in the south. Vermont has another 3-4 weeks before the leaves start to sprout on the tree branches. I’d say spring comes to Burlington in early May.

I really need a new podcast. Any suggestions?

Abandoned Virginia: Central High School, Painter

Central High School is located on Lankford Highway (US Route 13) just outside Painter, Acccomack County, VA.  This 1932/1935 school was constructed in the Art Deco style, common for schools in the 1930s. Central High School joined students from Painter and Keller. In 1984, the school became the district middle school. The school grounds contain recreation fields, outbuildings, and additional classrooms. In 2005, the school closed. Read the National Register nomination here.

26837429675_89d05e2ed7_o

Central High School, Painter, VA.

26768945291_51c22f70e6_o

1935 addition.

26564731240_d052401b6f_o

Side entrance.

26770065041_d76d3e29d3_o

Art Deco details above the side entrance.

26769416801_b76dcee42b_o

View through the side door.

26232227943_d50530d56e_o

View through the windows.

26743808232_a9665b6ebe_o

Cornerstone.

26770060281_f457372072_o

On the athletic fields: “Central Bulldogs.”

In 2008, Tucker Robbins, a furniture designer from New York City, purchased the entire property for $150,000 with a vision to rehabilitate the school into a new home for his NYC based furniture manufacturing business, as well as an environmental-educational facility. Read about Tucker Robbins’ plan on his website. Unfortunately, his vision was not realized; and in 2015, he offered up the school for sale for $525,000. (Source: DelMarVANOW and Eastern Shore Post.) Fortunately, while he owned the building, Robbins did hire a consultant to nominate the school to the National Register of Historic Places (listed 2010).

Currently the property is listed for $350,000. Bonus: the asbestos abatement is completed inside the school building. Check the real estate for interior photographs. See this youtube video for an inside tour. Anyone want to buy a school? I hope this building has a bright future.

Abandoned New York: Fort Edward School

Union School Building in Fort Edward, NY. Early 20th century. Click for source.

Union School Building in Fort Edward, NY. Early 20th century. Click for source.

The Village of Fort Edward is located on US Route 4 between Hudson Falls and Glens Falls in Washington County, NY. The Hudson River forms the western boundary of the town, and Delaware and Hudson Railroad (now the Canadian Pacific Railway) runs through town. Historically, Fort Edward was known for being a portage between the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal. You wouldn’t know it today, but Fort Edward was once the third largest city in North American after Boston and New York City (18th century).

In the 19th century, paper mills, foundries, and sawmills sustained Fort Edward’s economy. Some companies included International Paper, Marinette Paper Company (bought out by Scott Paper Company then by Kimberly Clark), then Irving Tissue. Read more history at Lakes to Locks. General Electric (GE) opened a plant in 1942 to produce selsyn motors during WWII, and post war produced building capacitors. The plant closed in 2013 when operations relocated to Florida for cheaper labor. (Unfortunately, GE polluted the water and air in Fort Edward for decades.)

You can see the former prosperity of Fort Edward as you drive through the village. Due to the suffering economy and other typical factors of the late 20th century, finding an abandoned school was not surprising.

Fort Edward School, 1915. Click for source. (And thanks to Suzasippi for sending the image!)

Fort Edward School, 1915. Click for source. (And thanks to Suzasippi for sending the image!) Note that in this postcard image you can see the adjacent buildings (still standing).

Built as Union School, the building housed the grammar school and the high school until 1923, when the new high school was completed. Later known as the Florence E. Powers School, it housed the elementary school until a new elementary school wing was added to the high school in 1970.

Agway occupied the building until it moved further up Main Street, and since then it appears that the building has sat empty, decaying, and in need of major repairs soon. Take a look around with me.

26917211875_d706879f3e_o

Changes to the Union School: Corrugated metal façade and paved up the to the foundation.

img_5912

Union / Powers School.

img_5905

Altered windows, boarded up windows, and soffits in need of repair.

26823630202_18fcf98633_o

Agway ghost signs. The corrugated metal will make you cringe, knowing that it covers the historic windows beneath.

26823651402_d5ce6a094b_o

Neglect is evident in the brickwork.

26917249835_d2d08cc67d_o

The holes in the roof need to be repaired in order to save this building!

26311940374_df2d10e41e_o

Another view of the side. Look at the brick detail!

img_5907

Through the front door.

img_5911

Adjacent to the school – an old freight depot perhaps?

26917217765_f02ed601e4_o

Another freight building / storage building.

26849788511_c61fbbe724_o

The entire complex is abandoned.

Internet searching revealed little, other than as of 2013, the Renaissance Plan for Fort Edward included a plan to develop the Agway Complex into a multi-use complex. Hopefully that comes to fruition.

Readers, what do you know about this Fort Edward school? I’d love to hear more.