One Girl Scout + One Rosenwald School = Inspiring Youth in Preservation {Guest Post by Julia Bache}

While attending the National Trust Conference in Indianapolis, I had the pleasure to meet Julia Bache, a high school student who recently completed a successful National Register nomination as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award, and presented at the conference. She is delightful and quite impressive! At Julia’s age, I had not heard of historic preservation and here she is already writing National Register nominations. It’s so encouraging to hear high school students are interested in the field. I asked Julia if she’d be willing to share her story with Preservation in Pink readers. Below is her guest post. (Of course, I recommended the University of Mary Washington’s Historic Preservation program to them).

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By Julia Bache

I was so excited to meet Kaitlin at the National Trust Conference in Indianapolis a few weeks ago! I have enjoyed following her posts here on Preservation in Pink and am honored to share my preservation efforts with you!

Julia Bache and Kaitlin O'Shea in Indianapolis, pictured at a display in the conference expo hall.

Julia Bache and Kaitlin O’Shea in Indianapolis, pictured at a display in the conference expo hall.

At the conference, I spoke about the Rosenwald Schools and about how to engage youth in historic preservation. I also learned from other speakers and met many inspirational preservationists. Kaitlin and the other professionals showed me that historic preservation is something that we can always take part in, putting out talents and passion to work!

Julia presenting at the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference in  Indianapolis, 2013.

Julia presenting at the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference in Indianapolis, 2013.

As a sophomore in high school, I was ready to begin my Girl Scout Gold Award Project. Scanning the web for possible projects, I found a nomination form for a Rosenwald School that had just been listed on the National Register. Reading this form, I knew that I wanted to help preserve these endangered sites for my Gold Award project.

Buck Creek School, the subject of Julia's NR nomination.

Buck Creek School, the subject of Julia’s NR nomination.

 I decided to nominate a Rosenwald School in my area, the Buck Creek School. I began diving into the remarkable history of the Rosenwald Schools. I read about the builders of these schools, Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington, and how they teamed up with so many communities to provide children with better education.

Julia conducting an oral history interview for historical research.

Julia conducting an oral history interview for historical research.

 I was amazed to find that over 5,000 Rosenwald Schools were built in 15 southern states, serving about one-third of the African American students in the south. They set new standards for African American education by providing nicer facilities, dedicated teachers, and a longer school term. I found it incredible that Rosenwald and Washington were able to break the racial barrier during the Jim Crow era to start this program and improve the education for so many children.

After writing the NR form, I presented the nomination to the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board. In March 2013, the Buck Creek School was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

Julia's presentation at the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board.

Julia’s presentation at the Kentucky Historic Preservation Review Board.

I wanted to do more to educate the public about the need to preserve the Rosenwald Schools. As the second phase of my Gold Award Project, I created a traveling museum exhibition to share the Rosenwald Schools’ history. My traveling exhibition has been displayed in museums, historical societies, and public libraries across the state and will continue to tour into my senior year.

Julia in front of her Rosenwald School exhibition.

Julia in front of her Rosenwald School exhibition.

My project has taught me that people from varied backgrounds can come together through a common love of history and make a difference by preserving it for the future.

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Thank you, Julia. You are an inspiration; I hope there are many students like you. Readers, are you a youth in preservation with a  story to share (or do you know any)? I’d love to hear about your passion and projects. 

Guest Post Series: The New Discussion on Vinyl Siding

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Can you tell the difference between vinyl siding and clapboard siding?  How often does the difference cross your mind?  Why do we still have to make arguments against vinyl siding?

Preservation in Pink is proud to feature a new guest series entitled “The New Discussion on Vinyl Siding” written by Philip B. Keyes. The four-part series begins on Monday March 4 and will continue throughout the week. No matter what your position on vinyl siding, this series is sure to enlighten preservationists and others. Check back tomorrow for a good read, and hopefully good discussion between many readers. {Update: links to all parts below.}

Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four.

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.

PreservationNation Feature

A Preservation in Pink guest post at PreservationNation.

I am psyched to announce (if you missed the Twitter and Facebook chatter) that Monday’s Preservation in Pink post, You Do Not Have to be a Historic Preservationist, was featured as a guest post on PreservationNation, the blog of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. If you do not read the blog, check it out for Preservation News Roundups, special features and more.

Thank you NTHP and David Garber, the PreservationNation blog editor. Preservation in Pink is flattered!

Job Hunting Advice at HISTPRES

You have probably seen the revamped HISTPRES site by now. Meagan and Laura have done an excellent job putting together their new site, expanding it beyond job postings. Now the site includes resources, events, blog posts and more.

Head over there today to read a guest post, written by me, in regards to job and internship hunting and the benefits of doing so.

Thanks to Meagan and Laura for the opportunity to contribute!

P.S. The spooky looking picture that appears on the featured post section of the main page is quite appropriate for today. It is me conducting an interview at the Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs, IA, way back in summer 2006 when I internes with NCPE/NPS in Omaha, NE.

Preservacation: Weaverville, NC

Preservacation is a series of essays by Brad Hatch about the preservation related adventures, issues, and sites that he and Lauren have encountered on their travels.  This is #1 in the series.

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By Brad Hatch

About a month ago my girlfriend, Lauren, and I took a trip to Asheville, North Carolina to visit the Biltmore Estate (the subject of a future posting) and stayed at the Dry Ridge Inn, a bed and breakfast in a historic house just outside of the city in a sleepy little town called Weaverville. Weaverville is one of those towns that really only has one street with commercial establishments, aptly named Main Street.  At first, Lauren and I figured there wasn’t going to be much to do in Weaverville, though we didn’t mind since we were there to see Biltmore. But, as is often the case, we had stumbled upon a little gem of a town.

The Dry Ridge Inn in Weaverville, NC. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

The Dry Ridge Inn in Weaverville, NC. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

The first thing we did, after unpacking, was take a walk downtown to grab a bite to eat. We stopped in at Blue Mountain Pizza and had a tasty pie while we listened to live local music, which is a nightly occurrence. This would not be our last pleasant surprise in this town. Later that weekend we got the chance to talk a walk down Main Street and look around in some shops. There were several local art galleries filled with everything from paintings to photographs, to pottery, all made by local North Carolina artists. Interestingly, we learned that many local artists have their workshops in the mountains surrounding the town and twice a year the town and artists put on an Art Safari where people can visit the different workshops. The shop that really caught my eye, however, was Preservation Hall. This little place contains a wide array of salvaged architectural elements from things as small as door knobs and keys all the way up to doors and mantles. As preservationists, Lauren and I were like kids in a candy store gazing over all of the things we learned about in various classes at Mary Wash. It’s definitely worth checking out if you get the chance just for fun or if you are looking for some pieces for a restoration job, they have a huge collection.

Lauren and me in front of the Zebulon Vance House. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

Lauren and me in front of the Zebulon Vance House. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

One of the other places we got the chance to visit on this trip was the Zebulon Vance birthplace, about 5 minutes outside of Weaverville. I won’t get into the details of Zeb Vance’s life here, but he served in the Confederate army during the Civil War, was elected governor of North Carolina three times, and did a stint in the U.S. Senate. To put it plainly, he is to North Carolinians what Robert E. Lee might be to Virginians; they love him down there. The birthplace, situated in the Reems Creek Valley, is administered by the state of North Carolina and consists of the reconstructed home of Zebulon Vance, with the original 1795 chimney, and associated reconstructed outbuildings. Zeb’s grandfather purchased the property in 1795, but it is unknown whether the structures were already extant. The main house consists of a two-story log building with a one-story addition. It is furnished to reflect the things that the Vance’s, a wealthy family on the frontier, may have had, which did not amount to much.

Another view of the Zebulon Vance House. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

Another view of the Zebulon Vance House. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

The slave quarter at the Zebulon Vance birthplace. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

The slave quarter at the Zebulon Vance birthplace. Courtesy of Brad Hatch.

It was a real contrast coming from 18th century Virginia plantations to a small frontier farmstead and seeing the difference in material possessions. All of the possessions in the Vance house would not have been able to fill a single room in a place like Mount Vernon or Stratford Hall. They did, however, have some luxury items that were symbolic of their wealth. Most notably and best explained, was a wall clock. This was a status symbol for the Vances since nobody would have had one and it was virtually useless on the frontier, since it was impossible to set accurately if it ever stopped. In addition to the main house there are also several outbuildings, including a weaving house, a smokehouse, a tool shed, and a slave quarter. However, like most historic sites, these structures were left up to us to explore and were not interpreted. Despite this, the site served as an excellent reminder that the majority of people in the 18th century were not living in manor houses, and most, both east and west, were in even poorer material conditions than the Vance family.

Finally, I want to quickly mention that the Blue Ridge Parkway is only about 15 minutes from Weaverville, and only a couple of miles from the Vance Birthplace. It is a beautiful road and definitely worth driving on if you get the chance. Of course, Lauren and I explored it on a rainy, foggy day, so it felt more like a trip to our doom. About 20 minutes away from the Zeb Vance birthplace along the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Folk Art Center. It is huge and features a museum about folk art, particularly in the southern highlands, as well as a shop where you can purchase items created by local artists. Many of these pieces, including wood carvings, face jugs, and quilts get at the heart of Appalachian life and culture, which is why this is one stop you don’t want to skip.

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Courtesy of Brad Hatch

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Courtesy of Brad Hatch

Now that I’ve rambled on about Weaverville for far too long I should say that it is a wonderful place if you like preservation. It is a treasure trove of interesting buildings, art, culture, and beautiful scenery to enjoy. You won’t be able to see it all in a weekend, especially with Asheville so close to keep pulling you away. But, if you’re like me, you won’t want to see it all at once because it will spark a love affair with the Appalachians that will keep you wanting to come back for more.