Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Historic Preservation Tuesday: Lancaster building tour this Saturday as an example of highlighting worthy heritage

1.  This coming weekend, the Historic Preservation Trust in Lancaster, Pennsylvania will be sponsoring a building tour of commercial and civic buildings in the city's core--20 buildings will be open.

This kind of activity is very important.  If you don't identify what's important, what's part of history and heritage, then it's easy for people to not care.

2.  Relatedly, this past weekend was Open House New York (City) where a couple hundred buildings and sites were open to the public for visiting, tours, and other events, throughout the city's five boroughs.

One of the buildings was the recently restored original main branch of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank on Broadway in Brooklyn (interior photo at right).

Opened in 1875, and later expanded, it truly was a temple for money, with domed ceilings and hyper elaborate interiors.  Now it's a special events facility called Weylin B. Seymour's.  (Wall Street Journal article; Brooklyn Eagle article).

Interestingly, according to the BE piece, the owners spent $20 million on the restoration, but residents have opposed a liquor license, because of fears of congestion (it seems like a well-endowed place in terms of mobility infrastructure, and they have made arrangements with a nearby parking lot and valet parking).

I do think they'd be somewhat respectful of the investment in restoring one of the borough's most incredible buildings, and be reasonable in terms of working something out.

We also checked out Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, which has an incredible array of mausoleums.

Doors Open events were launched in the UK (Heritage Open Days) a number of years back and have been taken up in cities across the world, such as Toronto.

In Europe they are organized under the rubric of European Heritage Days.

3.  And DC has its walking tour weekend, coordinated by CulturalTourism DC, although it was earlier, in September.

4.  Reston, Virginia is a greenbelt suburban planned community, created beginning in the 1960s, has its annual house tour this coming weekend.

Reston's architecture is definitely modern, but worth a look.  Each house on the tour is from one of the deca See "Celebrating five decades in Reston<" from the Fairfax Times.

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