Lakewood Theater resumes its role as the proud symbol of a community.
The Texas Main Street Program has been big help to communities who value their historic downtowns. Here’s an indication of how that value extends out and into the entire community.
Congratulations to the dedicated staffers at the Main Street offices and in all the Main Street communities across Texas. Find out more about the Texas Main Street Program.
Unique Bianchi House approved for landmark designation by Dallas’ Landmark Commission.
The Future meets the Past. Norman Alston speaks about historic preservation to students at the University of Texas at Arlington.
The passing of William Murtagh, first Keeper of the National Register
Dallas City Council approves contract for Fair Park First to manage Fair Park.
The inner workings of the lighted ball atop the Lakewood Theater Tower.
Dallas Park Board votes to recommend to City Council the contract between Fair Park First and the City of Dallas for the long-term management of Fair Park National Historic Landmark.
An unimaginable tragedy as perhaps 20 million historic artifacts may have been lost.
Facadism may occassionally work as an urban design tactic, but please don’t call it preservation - Starr Herr-Cardillo.
Art conservator examines Lakewood Theater mural.
This is the Santa Fe Building in downtown Amarillo. Formerly the national headquarters of the Santa Fe Railroad, it has been restored/renovated and is currently used for county offices. The 11th floor contains a ballroom that is available for community meetings and it is in this space that the THC quarterly meetings are taking place. The opportunity to visit amazing places like this are one of the reasons I enjoy serving on the THC's Antiquities Advisory Board.
Lakewood Theater restoration begins with the neon.
A tragic fire overnight at the Glasgow School of Art
My journey up through the interior of the Park Cities Baptist Church steeple.
AIA Dallas issues A Policy Statement on Local Architectural Heritage.
I was honored to be given the opportunity to share my thoughts on this subject with the remarkable Texas Architect Magazine. In here, I especially try to make the point that historic architecture is accessible architecture, you don't have to live in a large, modern city to experience it. Important historic buildings exist in almost every community and the tools we use in the cities are the same ones available to help restore them in smaller towns.
The Federal Historic Tax Credit has proven to be a powerful incentive to keep and restore our important historic buildings, especially in Texas as documented in this report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation issued last year. It has been so effective, in fact, that many states, including Texas, have implemented their own state tax credit programs. In the inevitable chaos and maneuvering associated with great change in Washington, our friends at PlaceEconomics have published the following long list of reasons to keep the tax credits:
Thanks to Place Economics for finding this one. This headline from a story at the Washington Examiner illustrates how tabloid-style "journalism" can creep into seemingly legitimate news feeds and thus utterly distort the reality of working with historic buildings. The story goes on to explain, with little or no detail, how the VA is having difficulty monetizing excess building inventory because of "historic preservation". Given the lack of detail about what is happening, one can only guess about what this refers to. This would only be true if the VA's sole desire is to demolish each and every historic building and market only the land. If that's the case, then God bless historic preservation. What a calloused, lazy approach to real estate that would be. But as for the VA being prohibited from selling or remodeling the buildings - that is utter nonsense. There is a well-established process for transferring public buildings into the private realm. It's known as Section 106.
Been there. Done that. The photograph above is a project where we led the owner and design team through the Section 106 process of selling this 1931 Federal Post Office and Courthouse Building into private ownership (or most of it anyway). It is now a premier, award-winning, multi-family development in downtown Dallas. It even continues to retain the post office. There were challenges for this project, but the Section 106 process wasn't in the top tier. It was more about what you have to do to a Federal building that has been able to ignore local building codes for about 80 years. That's where the brain damage happens.
Scape goats are very convenient and blaming historic preservation for money woes is a tired but still popular approach to finding a back door to getting at something else that building owners actually want.
At Tuesday's Urban Affairs Committee meeting, the Texas Legislature will consider a new bill that would fundamentally change the way local historic designations are created and administered across the state. In keeping with this session's theme of restricting local control, this bill would require language to be added to every new historic designation in the state and do much to make new historic districts harder to create and and administer. Under the bill:
Historic designations associated with an historic event, that event "must be widely recognized" as an historic event. No suggestion about how you define "widely recognized".
Historic designation based on association with a person, that person must have lived there. So apparently no commercial or institutional buildings primarily associated with famous business men, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. can be designated.
Votes for designation by plan commissions and city councils must be approved with 3/4 affirmative vote. It was much easier to get a Supreme Court Justice approved BEFORE last week's rules change.
Applications for revisions to or removal of designated historic properties must be acted on by the municipality within 30 days.
Many preservation-centric organizations are aligning to campaign against this bill. Hopefully, it is enough.