Friday Find: A snow covered island…

This week after the big snowstorm “Juno” we were lucky to find a way into the office! The island is slowing starting to come alive after a day (or more for some) of no power, cell-phone service and even access to certain roads! One thing the storm did bring was some excellent photographs. This week we’re featuring a slideshow of photos we found on social media and Nantucket photographer’s websites.

(click the photo below to see all)

image1*All professional photographs are either marked by the photographer or we have added in a credit line

Friday Find: Academy Award winner and preservationist…

1926849_625916184156952_9159889852346549773_nLupita Nyong’o may be known for her Academy Award winning performance in 12 Years a Slave or her reputation in the fashion world but did you know she recently became known for her concern of Shockoe Bottom located in downtown Richmond, Virginia? Shockoe Bottom was placed on the 2014 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list and has been recognized as a National Treasure. The town was the second largest slave-trading center in the world from approximately 1830 – 1865. It is estimated over 300,000 slaves were sold and traded from this exact location. Today many feel the historical background of the town is essential to preserve as a reminder and education tool for today’s society.
Actress, Lupita Nyong’o was contacted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation after the town’s archaeological history was put in danger. The hope was to have an influential celebrity help support and spread awareness of Shockoe’s potential fate. A plan titled “Revitalize RVA” which includes building a baseball stadium, hotel and grocery store. If the proposed plan goes through the archaeological remains which lay below the town’s asphalt would be destroyed. Nyong’o has made it clear that she strongly supports the preservation of the town and feels that without it her role in the film would have suffered.lupita letter
nyongo_aThe film 12 Years a Slave features the life of an American slave, Solomon Northrup. In 1941 Northrup was held in the Shockoe trade center, until sold into slavery. Nyong’o has shown her support through social media and most recently sending a handwritten letter to the Richmond’s Mayor Dwight C. Jones. Her letter, which can be view by clicking here, is passionate and to the point. It’s important that endangered places such as Shockoe receive the press they need to be saved. The celebrity status of Nyong’o has fortunately been a useful tool creating a greater amount of publicity to the potential fate of, Shockoe Bottom.

A letter to the editor…

The January, 22 issue of The Inquirer and Mirror newspaper features a letter to the editor written by Executive Director, Michael May. May discusses a recent decision made at the January, 14th Board of Selectman meeting, to remand the Historical District Commission’s decision protecting a North Liberty Street barn. Below is a copy of his letter.

Untitled-2Untitled-3The letter ironically was printed in the same issue that features a man’s reaction to his frustration with the HDC in 1990 (see photo below)


Ramblings: 2014 Preservation Awards Re-cap


We are currently seeking nominations for the 2015 Preservation Awards. Below is a re-cap of the 2014 award recipients from the text of Ramblings. To learn about the NEW nomination category and to download your 2015 form today – click here!

The Architectural Preservation Award
Ed and Joan Lahey – 7 Farmer Street

7 farmer street copyBuilt before 1768 for Christopher Swain, 7 Farmer Street, a gambrel-roof house, retains much of its original character and features. The Laheys began a renovation in 2013 with the goal of adding modern-day living arrangements and conveniences while restoring the historic core of the house. Today, the original house retains its historic elements such as plaster walls, woodwork, and floorboards. Key to the project was careful restoration, including retaining the floor’s knots and quirks by stripping the floorboard of paint rather than sanding; retaining the old winder staircase; and adding new electrical wiring from the exterior to preserve plaster walls. Later changes, such as a twentieth-century bathroom, were removed from the historic core to restore the original interior plan, and the asphalt roofing was replaced with shingle consistent with the original. Old windows dating to the turn of the century also were restored and reused.

The John A. and Katherine S. Lodge Stewardship Award
Muriel Williams, posthumously – 4 Traders Laneinterior 4 Traders Lane4 Traders Lane, known as the Captain Peleg Bunker House, c. 1750, was purchased in 1946 by Richard and Edna Williams. The family carefully refurnished the house and spent each summer here for over thirty years. In 1977, their daughter Muriel became the owner. She continued her parents’ sensitive approach, repairing but never changing historic features. As she witnessed rapid changes to Nantucket’s historic houses in the 1990s, Muriel decided to place 4 Traders Lane under a preservation easement to ensure its protection and enjoyment for future generations. Besides saving the house, which is one of the most intact and finest examples of the Typical Nantucket House, Muriel protected the large side yard that is an important garden and open space for the entire Fish Lot neighborhood. Today, the third generation of the Williams family (Billi and Bobby Gosh) continues the family tradition of stewardship.

The Caroline A. Ellis Landscape Award
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation

Altar Rock 081111This year’s Landscape Award recognizes the work of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Formed in 1963, the NCF celebrates its fiftieth year and has made a strong and lasting contribution to the island community and the preservation of Nantucket’s character. NCF has protected nearly 9,000 acres of open conservation land from development. Its work has also ensured protected of historic viewscapes, including areas around Town and ’Sconset. In addition, NCF has restored historic landscapes such as grazing land, and ensured the continuing presence of the island’s 157-year-old cranberry industry.

The Traditional Building Methods Award
David Bergquist, Bergquist Masonry LLC, Main Street Houses

david bergquistDavid Berquist is a restoration mason with the knowledge, skills, and respect for historic structures needed to merit award recognition. David, who has worked in masonry since 1982, has most recently completed work for four Main Street houses (77, 95,97 and 98 Main Street), where he removed inappropriate mortar and repointed with appropriate lime mortar, and restored and reconstructed deteriorated assessment of exisiting conditions, research of original materials, and mortar analysis. A safe method of cleaning, careful mortar removal and repair, and experienced rebuilding skills, combined with the highest-quality materials, ensure that his work is both historically appropriate and functional.

Friday Find: Is it a Church or a Home?

1D274907613907-119-nagle-st-harrisburg.blocks_desktop_largeA passerby of 119 Nagel Street, Harrisburg PA, especially on a Sunday may expect to see church goers exiting or entering the building. Today the chances of this are very slim, considering it is now home to Tony and Carolyn Sangrey. Originally built in 1876 it ran under the name Nagle Street Church of God until becoming a Mennonite church called Peace Chapel in the early 1980’s. It wasn’t until 2002 when Tony and Carolyn purchased it that the building was converted into a residence.

10263261-01-altLocated in a historic district they felt it was important to properly convert the space into their new home by preserving elements of its original use. Main features of the church were therefore preserved, with special attention taken to the stained glass windows. Each day the Sangrey’s enter their home through a door underneath the original stained glass window and welcome sign “Peace Chapel Welcome”. The windows installed in 1923 are now protected on the exterior and visible throughout the home.

10263261-11-altThe interior was kept open to maintain the original style of the church. It features re-purposed pews, which line the living room wall and now face a pool table. At 3,085 sq. ft. the building’s interior consists of three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining room, loft, open living room and a large modern kitchen. The Sangrey’s bedroom is located in what used to be the church’s choir loft and the church’s office has been converted into a bathroom. The photos below depict the open interior and modern day conveniences, which were added to convert the church into a residence for two. If you’re interested in purchasing and living in a unique setting than you may be happy to hear, 119 Nagel Street is currently on the market listed at $259,900. To learn more about the property click here10263261-17-alt 10263261-03-alt 10263261-06-alt1D274907613716-peace-chapel-bath2.blocks_desktop_large


Friday Find: A close by historic bar…

150108_blog-photo_Alibi_aerialDo you remember the blog post titled: The Chicken Box – Historic Bar List? Well, this week we found another historic bar only a hop-skip-and-a-jump away! The Alibi Bar in Boston’s historic hotel The Liberty is located at 215 Charles Street, Boston, MA. The luxury hotel was originally built in 1851 as a jail, which housed several notable Boston prisoners (Malcolm X, James Michael Curley, and more) during the 120 years during which it actively functioned as the The Charles Street Jail. It was built by one of the most prominent (at the time) Boston architects Gridley James Fox Bryant and Reverend Louis Dwight a penologist. The granite building was built in a cross shape and included large arched windows. The interior included a 90 foot high octagonal rotunda in the center of the jail and was connected to four wings, which housed a total of 220 prison cells.

Liberty-Exterior-KwesiA mere 164 years later and at first glance you may mistake 215 Charles Street for a jail, however it has been restored and is now home to the luxury hotel The Liberty. In 1973 due to deterioration and a lawsuit brought to court by the jail’s inmates a Federal Judge ordered it closed. It wasn’t until 1991 when Massachusetts General Hospital purchased the building and began a search for a company to properly preserve the building, due to it’s status as part of the National Register of Historic Places list. This is when Boston developer Richard Friedman and his firm Carpenter and Company took over the project.

Lobby-first_frameThe jail was restored through a collaboration of efforts and officially opened as The Liberty in 2007. The project, under the direction of Cambridge Seven Associates architecture group and Ann Beha Architects and with the help from Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Boston Landmarks Commission, the National Park Service, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority cost a total of $150 million. Today the hotel houses 300 guest-rooms and many of the original jail features including the octagonal rotunda.

150108_blog-photo_Alibi_interiorThe Alibi Bar ironically is located in what used to be the jail’s “drunk-tank”. It features the original jail’s brick walls and bluestone floors. Additions to keep the jail theme include: mug shot photographs, jail inspired artwork and prison bars along the windows and walls. Even the menu has been designed to reflect the prison theme and includes the cocktails Doin’ Thyme and Jail Bait. The bar is known to fill up quickly, however in the summertime the overflow is welcomed into a 100-seat patio area. If you’re interested in an unique hotel or dining experience (not too far away) check out the historic Boston hotel The Liberty and The Alibi Bar.

11 Baxter Road

11 baxter111 Baxter, built circa 1885 is a stick-style historic cottage located in the village of ‘Sconset. According to the deeds the property was sold by William Flagg to Abraham W. Rice in 1884. Shortly after the cottage was built and completed in the spring of 1885 based on records from the Inquirer and Mirror. It is known by the name of Idlemoor and believed to have been one of the first houses built on the north bluff. The names derives from the moor view and the relaxing or “idle” nature of the visits by past owners, the Rice family.


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!