Sunday Snapshots for Summer #8

There's nowhere I'd rather be than running into the ocean with my three sisters.

There’s nowhere I’d rather be than running into the ocean with my three sisters. Where is your ideal summer day? 

Sunday Snapshots for Summer #5

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To those of you who love the ocean as much as I do! Seen here is Robert Moses State Park on Long Island, NY.

Preservation Pop Quiz

Which windows are original? What other modifications have been made to this house?

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Add your thoughts in the comments.

Preservation Photos #186

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Bridge railings, like this pedestrian railing of a Poultney, VT metal truss bridge are defining characteristics of historic bridges and contributing features of historic districts.

Abandoned Vermont: Bloomfield Church

Bloomfield, VT is a small crossroads on the Connecticut River. Across the bridge is Stratford, NH. The general store is closed and not many houses populate this town. This church sits next to the town offices, the former school. Based on the piles of boxes in the windows, the church is abandoned or sorely neglected and used for storage. This poor thing has seen better days (note the missing steeple). The neighbors’ stuff is piled in the rear and on one side of the building, so I didn’t snap photos of all elevations.

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Churches seem to be common abandoned or neglected buildings. What can we do about these? Another topic for another time, perhaps.

Preservation Month 2013

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The Service Building of the Gryphon Building Block in Rutland, VT.

It’s National Preservation Month! Hooray! Good stuff coming your way.

Preservation ABCs: S is for Shutter

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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S is for Shutter

Real (functioning) shutters on a house in Clarendon Springs, VT.

Real (functioning) shutters on a house in Clarendon Springs, VT.

Shutters adorn buildings for reasons greater than aesthetics; shutters also have a functional history associated with buildings. Originally solid wood panels on hinges, until the late 18th century when wood slat shutters were introduced, these traditionally movable panels were used for insulation, light control, privacy and protection from the elements. Consider it early air conditioning and thermal panes. Shutters can be found on the interior or the exterior of a building.

Shutters are associated with many architectural styles (according to Virginia & Lee McAlester in A Field Guide to American Houses) including French Colonial, Federal, Georgian, Greek Revival, Colonial Revival and French Eclectic. However, you can readily find shutters on any architectural style if you look. On some of these styles, shutters were meant to be functional – often on the earlier styles such as French Colonial and Georgian. During the wide-ranging Colonial Revival era, shutters became decorative.

How can you distinguish between functional shutters and decorative shutters? It’s simple, actually. Functional shutters, when closed, will cover the entire window. Decorative shutters are too small for the window openings. Consider the ranch houses of the 1950s that have shutters on either side of a large picture window. Relate that to the actual purpose of shutters, and it seems a bit silly, yes? Also, functional shutters will have hinges and hardware called “shutter dogs” which hold them in place when not being used. Many shutters today are plastic and simply attached on either side of a window. An aesthetic preference, though architectural historians find non-functional, inappropriately sized shutters to be ridiculous. (Just a peak into their architectural world!)

Does your house have shutters? What do you think of functional shutters? What do you think of shutters for decoration?

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.