Do you designate as historic very ordinary buildings or just put up a plaque?
Flickr photo by Alan Light.
There is an effort to designate as historic a nondescript building in West Hollywood, California, which was the site of "Madman" Muntz's Stereo Paks, which introduced the first successful car stereo system and allegedly popularized the word "tv" to describe a television set and later was home to a Tower Records store, and the company at the time changed music marketing significantly, and later went bankrupt as the Internet and mobile applications superseded the sales of physical objects (records, CDs, cassette tapes) containing music.
See "Sunset's Tower Records/Birthplace of the Car Stereo Could Have Tough Road to Landmarking" from Curbed LA and "Los Angeles Author Pushes to Preserve Tower Records as Cultural Resource" from NBC Southern California.
But the building is just a box, with no architectural distinction. Now the building is white, without even Tower Records' distinctive yellow and red branding treatment.
Do you need both distinctive architecture + significant events to justify designation of a building as a historic landmark--except when events that happened there rise to the highest possible level of significance, such as the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated?
Even Memphis' Lorraine Motel is more interesting architecturally (as an example of 1950s architecture, and motel architecture as an element of building the support system for automobility and travel) than the box that was first an appliance store and then record store in West Hollywood.
A plaque may well suffice.
Related to preservation, there are two very nice pieces in the Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal, "Preserve historic resources: It's actually the law" and "PART II: Giving municipalities a lesson on their own history," about the efforts of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County and saving historic buildings in that part of Pennsylvania. Despite the area's long history, not all of the area's jurisdictions are on the same page with regard to the value of historic architecture and districts as an element of economic development, livability, and land use planning.
And I just came across this World Bank publication, The Economics of Uniqueness: Investing in Historic City Cores and Cultural Heritage Assets for Sustainable Development, which I hope to get to soon.
Labels: historic preservation