Friday Find

Friday Find: History of One Times Square

Happy New Year!


We found some informiation about one of the nations most viewed buildings: 1 Times Square or 1457 Broadway. The historic building was designed by architects Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz and Andrew C. McKenzie to serve as the headquarters for The New York Times. The building has almost always been known as a New Year’s Eve celebration spot, starting the year it was completed, 1904. Adolph Ochs owner of The New York Times newspaper organized a New Years Eve celebration on the rooftop, which attracted roughly 200,000 people. Today, the famous Time Ball Dropping celebration attracts about half a million spectators!

(1903 - under construction)
(1903 – under construction)

In 1907 the official Times Ball Dropping celebration began and has continued annually since, with the exception of 1942 and 1943 due to wartime blackouts. The owner of the ball has always been the 1 Times Square property owners, which currently is Jamestown Properties. The 25-story, steel-framed skyscraper originally had decorative lines and gothic details. In the 1960’s it was stripped down to its steel and reclad, however today it’s exterior is hidden behind massive advertisements. The prime advertising appeal to businesses has essentially created the building to act as a massive billboard. Revenue generated from the building’s exterior is so large, the landlords to leave the interior almost completely vacant except for the first three floors, which occupy the building’s sole tenant Walgreens. The historic building’s exterior is just as, if not more important than the interior. The famous television screen image of the historic building and the ball dropping are known to evoke memories nationwide. We hope the building and tradition will be preserved for years to come!

Friday Find: Historic Architecture and Boxing Day

Christmas may be over but the holidays are not. December 26, better known as Boxing Day is celebrated several different ways across the world. The origins of the day have been debated and traditions vary from country to country. In the United States the holiday is not fully acknowledged, however traditions  have evolved over time and include: after holiday sales, a day to give back and in a few US States it is observed as an official state holiday. In Britain it is officially celebrated as a bank holiday, thus meaning banks, government offices and post offices are closed. Today may not be a bank holiday for us, however this week we found how the historic architecture of former banks is being used.

Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel
918 17th Street, Denver Colorado
renaissance-hotel-rendering-1The building located at 918 17th Street, Denver Colorado formally home to the Colorado National Bank Building in 1915. Today it has been restored and is a functioning hotel. The building features a three-story atrium with white marble colonnades and 221 guest-rooms.

Duane Read Drugstore
40 Wall Street, New York City NY

40wallstreetbuildingThe building known to some as the Crown Jewel of Wall Street, formerly housed the Bank of Manhattan Trust before being purchased by Donald Trump in 1995. It was constructed in 1929 and for a short period of time was the tallest building in the world, before being surpassed by the Chrysler Building. Today the historic building is home to the Duane Read flagship store. It was award landmark status in 1998 by the New York City Preservation Committee.

The Bedford
1612 West Division Street, Chicago, IL

chicago-supper-club-restaurant-reclaims-bank-with-vault-the-bedford-19In the 1920’s The Bedford, located in Wicker Park Chicago was formerly Home Bank & Trust Co.. Today the historic piece of architecture has been restored and is known for it’s unique dining options. The lower-level space features terracotta, marble and terrazzo, reclaimed and restored from the original bank. The bank’s vault room has been converted into a cocktail bar and includes 6,000 working copper lock boxes. In 2008 the building received landmark status.

Friday Find: A Giant Donut!

(original giant donut atop The Grind coffee shop)

This week we found a giant preserved DONUT! You may be wondering, why would you preserve a donut and what does have to do with architectural preservation? Well, this isn’t any normal donut but one made of fiberglass and steel. The giant donut was originally placed atop the Long Beach, CA coffee shop, The Grind located at 5560 E. Seventh St. in the 1950’s to attract motorists passing. Long Beach has long been known for its distinctive retro character. Items such as the famous roadside icon are what make the city unique. When the new franchise Dunkin Donuts took over the building talk of getting rid of the icon started, leading to a local community members and preservationists to start the campaign “Save the Giant Donut”.

(newly restored donut being placed atop Dunkin Donuts on Monday, December 8)
(Newly restored donut being placed atop Dunkin Donuts on Monday, December 8)

On Monday, December 8 the restored donut was placed atop Dunkin Donuts in preparation for the business’s official opening the following day. The campaign was successful in saving the donut but it was restored with a few changes. The originially famous pink donut has been changed to a chocolate glazed sprinkle donut. The donut may be an eyesore to some but to preservationists it represented part of the cities historic retro character. This is a great example of why preservation is important and shows how architecture can play a much larger significance than appears to the eye. Dunkin Donuts, which originated as an east coast franchise is now rapidly expanding on the west coast. The video below discusses this and even highlights the “Save the Giant Donut Campaign.” Click HERE for more information and to view the campaign’s Facebook Page.

Friday Find: 1998 NPT Newsletter!

This week while organizing old files we found our very first newsletter dating back to 1998 and yes you read that right “newsletter” meaning one that was physically mailed! You may be surprised to read and it see that some things haven’t changed much but on the other hand some have drastically. Today we no longer mail a regular newsletter but send a monthly e-newsletter to all NPT members and those who opt-in (click here if you’d like to join). The fact that the newsletter is no longer mailed but something you receive in your “inbox” isn’t the only major change you may realize when reading the Volume I NPT Newsletter below. Below we’ve highlighted a few changes we felt should be highlighted:

  • Method of delivery mailing versus emailing
  • Graphic changes – color and videos compared to black and white
  • Types of programs mainly collaborations and talks compared to large scale events
  • Staff growth and changes (one Executive Director vs. three staff members)
  • MAJOR growth of board members – 8 to 25!
  • Change of office location and even the mailing address
  • The amount of text used compared to photo and video use

A few things have remained the same. Did you notice one of the board members listed Caroline Ellis is still one the board today. The annual meeting location listed in the 1998 newsletter ironically was the same this past year, The Sconset Chapel. Some things haven’t changed; however it’s amazing to see the NPT’s grown over the past 16 years just by looking at our first newsletter. The complete newsletter is available to view below.

Friday Find: Historic Holiday Happenings!

This week we thought it would be fun to share our findings of how other historic districts celebrate the holidays!

Oxnard, CA
Henry T Oxnard Historic District, located in downtown Oxnard, CA dates back to 1898. In 1992 the district was handed down the annual Christmas tradition called “Candy Cane Lane” from the neighboring County, Ventura. Today the historic district comes alive with holiday lights and décor placed up by its residents. They have renamed the original tradition to Christmas Tree Lane” and is has grown to attract up to 40,000 visitors over a 2-3 week period.

Folsom, CA
Folsom Historic District is located in the heart of Folsom, CA. Similar to the island this historic district will also be hosting one its holiday traditions this weekend. The district’s well known Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is held this evening at 6PM. The ceremony includes lighting a tree located in the historic ice skating rink, music, performances, a visit by Santa and more!

Hattiesburg, MI
The Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Hattiesburg, MI and listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). This year the two will celebrate the it’s 38th Annual Victorian Candlelit Christmas. The tradition features carriage rides, luminaries, carolers, open house tours, music and more!

Charleston, SC
Founded in 1670 the oldest city in South Carolina hosts a vast array of holiday events. No matter one’s age or interest there will be something to entertain all. Events include the Annual Festival of Lights, holiday pub crawl, holiday dinners, walking tours, photos with Santa, “Scuba Santa” an opportunity to see Santa swimming in the SC Aquarium, plays, religious performances/ceremonies, and even an opportunities to enjoy breakfast with Santa Claus!

Old City Colorado, Colorado
A small settlement El Dorado officially became known as Old City Colorado in 1859. Today they host holiday events from November 28 through Christmas Eve. The festive happenings include: carols, a twentieth century holiday tour, carriage rides and an even a Christmas stroll such as Nantucket’s!

Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard
The “other” island Martha’s Vineyard is home to historic Edgartown. The town celebrates the holidays during a weekend long event “Christmas in Edgartown”. Starting December 12 – 14 the town hosts events: The Annual Great Chowder Contest, pictures with Santa, the Lighting of the Lighthouse at the Harbor View Hotel, the Christmas parade, holiday sales and themed events.

This weekend Nantucket will celebrate the annual Christmas Stroll. You can view a listing of this weekend’s events and happenings on the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce web site. Nantucket really gets into the festive spirit! Do you remember what happened in 2010?

Friday Find: Historic Island Hopping!

nantucket to nevis This week’s “Friday Find” may lead you to finding yourself warm and relaxed on another historic island! Montpelier Plantation and Beach Resort located on the island of Nevis is not only a gorgeous getaway location but a historic destination. Montpelier dates back to 1687 when it was discovered by Sir Hans Sloane, Secretary of the Royal Society of England and is located in the oldest British Colony in the Caribbean, Nevis. It has become known overtime as the location of epic battles, marriages, wealth and sugar plantations. It was at one time the richest place on earth and appears to still be quite rich in its architectural heritage!

960x500_fill_Montpelier_JAMES_SCHNEPFThe historic ruins were purchased in 1960 by James Milnes-Gaskell who had plans to turn them into a hotel. In 2002 it was sold to its present day owners the Hoffman Family. The family owns and operates the nineteen sea-view rooms, which have been restored to their current glory. The resort appears to fit in very well with its coastal surroundings, offering guests open and airy bungalows and rooms.


The resort is home to historic colonial architecture; however Nevis is home to a rich historic past. The island offers visitors the opportunity to explore old sugar plantations. The plantations still have century old sugar mills and machinery from the 1700’s present on them. Wouldn’t it be nice to escape the winter months by hoping from one historic island to the next? If time allows Montpelier Plantation and Beach Resort seems like a great historic location to explore.

Note: The “Friday Find” was found on the Web site Find Everything Historic. The Web site helps you live a historic lifestyle by featuring travel destinations, real estate and designers. It also partners and features non-profits such as the NPT.

Friday Find: Great News!

barn1This week’s “Friday Find” features great news found out last night! At the HDC meeting held on Thursday, November, 13th the application submitted by Westbay Development to move a North Liberty Street barn was denied, by a vote of 3-2. The controversial application submitted months ago caused concern among many. Neighbors and friends of North Liberty Street who were concerned for the neighborhood’s historic integrity created a petition. The petition was signed by a total of 227 concerned individuals.


We are happy to see a Nantucket neighborhood rally, such as the North Liberty Street group did to preserve the island’s historic integrity. Last year the National Historic Landmark extended the designation of structures contributing to the island’s historic character to the period of 1900-1975. The barn, located at 29 North Liberty Street dates back to 1972 and therefore falls under this designation. After a long debated application the neighborhood’s historic streetscape will not be altered.  barn

“Friday Find” Update

141105_blog-photo_union-terminal_honk-and-waveOn Friday, October 24 the post Friday Find: “Pop-Up” Preservation featured Cincinnati’s Union Terminal and the campaign to help save it. We are happy to announce on Tuesday, November 4 the voters of Hamilton County voted “yes” in favor of issue 8! The terminal will now be saved through a sales tax increase of 1/4 of 1% over the next five years. The increase will raisae a total of $172 million dollars and go towards the restoration of the terminal. This marks the largest sales tax issue in support of a preservation project and hopefully will be an inspiration for other communities to invest in historic properties!

Click here to learn more about the campaign to save Cincinnati’s Union Terminal.

Friday Find: Hollywood Home!


Did you know Diane Keaton, Lloyd Wright, Leonard Bernstein, Ramon Novarro, Jerome Robbins, Christina Ricci and comedy duo Betty Comden and Adolph Green all have something in common? They all are connected to the Samuel-Novarro House located at 2255 Verde Oak Dr. in Los Angeles, California. The house, built in 1928 by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. (Lloyd Wright) was declared a Historical-Cultural Monument in 1974 by the Los Angles Cultural Heritage board. Today it has been restored by past owners and is on the market for sale.

Ramon Novarro

The house built by famous architect Lloyd Wright (Frank Lloyd Wright’s son) was originally for Ramon Novarro’s (silent-movie actor) secretary Louis Samuel; however he did not live in it for long. Samuel was caught embezzling and this is when Novarro took ownership of the house and decided to renovate. Lloyd Wright was commissioned again to enlarge the house and added a pergola, music room and bedroom suite. The Mayan themed house is built into the hillside and contains concrete floors, large windows, a pool, open space, gardens and several terraces.

Today it is part of the highly sought after L.A. exclusive neighborhood, The Oaks. The home is Samuel-Novarro_Patio2-8dac08known to be the first restoration project, preservationist and actress, Diane Keaton undertook. During her ownership of the home in the 90’s she hired architect Josh Schweitzer to properly restore the house. Keaton is one, among a long list of famous people who have had the opportunity to live in the historic property. It has been noted the house’s history includes owners/tenants: art director Cedric Gibbons, American composer Leonard Bernstein, American theater producer, director, and dance choreographer Jerome Robbins, actress Christina Ricci and famous comedian duo Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The house is currently listed for sale with Los Angeles based John Aaroe Group for $3,995,000 (click here to view listing).


Friday Find: Historic Ghost Town!

800x600xjohnsonville9.jpg.pagespeed.ic.N7UqJ_J5ugIn honor of today’s holiday Halloween we’ve dug up a ghostly “Friday Find”! The village of Johnsonville, Connecticut located in East Haddam is a true historic ghost-town that has sat vacant for over 20 years. The village, dating back to 1830 has (even more creepy) been abandoned a total of three times! Some like to say today it is haunted by its past owner Raymond Schmitt, however there has been no ghost sightings or stories.

STARSHOLLOWIST14The 19th century village was originally owned by Emory Johnson and began as a thriving mill community. Due to modern ways of life the town’s work dried up and it became abandoned by 1950. It stayed vacant for approximately 10 years until in 1960 millionaire Raymond Schmitt purchased it. He had a goal to turn the village into a profitable tourist attraction and began working on restoring its appeal. During this time historic buildings were relocated to it including: the Victorian Gilead Chapel built circa 1876 and the one-room Hyde Schoolhouse (date not known). He hired carpenter, Tom Kronenberger to assist in restoring the village to a state suitable for tours, weddings and special event rentals. It stayed an attraction until again in 1994 when Schmitt decided to shut down the village after an argument with East Haddam. Schmitt died in 1998, his estate sold off properties and other items in the village and once again it became vacant. In 2008 a hotel developer took ownership, however it has remained vacant for the past 20 years. Sadly, the village is still home to several historic Colonial-style and Victorian-style properties inc4STARSHOLLOWIST14luding:


– The Gilead Chapel c.1876
– Emory Johnson Homestead c.1846
– Single family dwelling c.1900
– Colonial-style house c. 1846
– Office building c.1899
– Red House Restaurant c.1900
– The General Store c.1845
– The Gilbert Livery Stable c.1920

In a strategic move to sell a the ghost-town RM Bradley Company placed the village up for auction leading up to Halloween. With a starting bid of $800,000 the auction began this past Tuesday, October 28. The town is described as 8 contiguous parcels, 62-acres and permitted for the use of: family housing, senior housing, arts/entertainment center, B&B’s, inns, restaurant facilities, retail shops and schools. The auction closed yesterday, October, 30th. Maybe this time around the towns will have a better fate.