Posts Tagged National Trust for Historic Preservation
Preservation Maryland is involved in planning four very exciting days in April that will highlight some of the state’s historic properties, both well preserved and in jeopardy. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is bringing its Council to the Free State from April 18-21. The group consists of the trust’s leadership donors from all over the country, arguably those Americans with the strongest interest and dedication to historic preservation. Not surprisingly, the development of an itinerary for the visit has been a difficult process of selecting from among a trove of appealing options.
Beginning in Baltimore, NTHP Council members will visit such renowned sites as the American Brewery, Mount Vernon Historic District, B & O Roundhouse and private homes with prized decorative arts collections. A day will be spent in and around Annapolis examining the ongoing restoration of America’s oldest continuously used State House, several museum properties, the U. S. Naval Academy and private homes. No trip to Maryland is complete without sampling the heritage of the Eastern Shore. A day’s tour of Queen Anne’s, Caroline and Talbot counties will feature Providence Farm in Queen Anne’s County, Harriett Tubman-Underground Railroad sites, maritime preservation showcased at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and private homes. Preservation Maryland is delighted to join Baltimore Heritage, the City of Annapolis and representatives of many of the state’s history and preservation institutions and organizations in planning this occasion. If you encounter the group in your community during their visit to Maryland, be sure to say hello and welcome them. What a wonderful chance to strut our stuff!
Last Tuesday I was one of the fortunate few to leave the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport in route to Spokane, Washington to attend the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference: Beyond Boundaries. Despite Hurricane Sandy’s disruption of east coast travel, Delta Airlines was able to get its afternoon flight in the air and we took off on time to our destination.
Spokane is a beautiful city with abundant natural resources, as well as an interesting history reflected in its built environment. This year’s conference highlighted the diverse cultural heritage of Spokane with a number of sessions and field trips devoted to the historic Native American presence and immigrant influence in the region. Preservation of structures, sites, landscapes and cultural resources were given attention and discussion. The sessions definitely reached beyond the usual boundaries of the preservationists’ comfort zone.
I always look forward to the National Trust’s conference. It’s a great opportunity to network with fellow preservationists. It is always enlightening to see and hear the successes and challenges my colleagues around the US have experienced since the previous year. Ideas, resources and strategies are shared of battles won and lost. I think most attendees leave inspired; with a renewed sense of purpose and determination to continue to “fight the good fight.”
Every year I look forward to July when I join my colleagues from the National Trust to spend two days traveling the Eastern Shore conducting applicant site visits for the Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund. This grant fund is unique in that it was created specifically to fund preservation projects on the Eastern Shore of Maryland – beginning on this side of the C& D Canal all the way to Somerset. This year brought some great applications on a variety of projects ranging from church restorations to archeology to the restoration of one of the last remaining African American Civil War veterans posts.
Being ‘in the field’ is fundamental to my work and something I truly love especially when you’re helping to provide needed funding to ready hands. At every site you find people passionately devoted to their project, the cause and their story. These places matters to them and not for reasons that bring any kind of personal gain other than knowing that they have made a difference and paid homage to a part of our heritage that’s worth safe guarding. You could say that there is a little bit of immortality in it; a personal investment that carries on when a building continues to stand tall, a discovery is made or a story continues to be told because of these efforts.
Bartus Trew grant awards range from $5000 to $25,000 and are available to public agencies, 501 (c) (3) and other nonprofit organizations. In these days of funding shortages and program cutting, this is an incredible resource for heritage resources here on the Shore. The awards have been used for a variety of important projects from the restoration of historic skipjacks, to the acquisition of threatened properties to the development of a training program for historic district commissions. I encourage you to give some thought to how these funds could assist a project that is of interest to you! Stay tuned for news of the grant award winners this year when they’re announced in August.
For more information on the Bartus Trew Providence Preservation Fund, please visit this link:
- Elizabeth Beckley
The storms of Friday, June 29th caught everyone off guard. When a hurricane approaches we have time get ready and prepare our homes and businesses. When an event like last year’s earthquake or last month’s storms occurs, there is no warning, no time to make special preparations. These sudden events serve as a reminder that it is always a good time to prepare for disaster. Years and decades of work on an irreplaceable historic site can be threatened by one bad event. Why not do what you can today to make sure that doesn’t happen to you? We’ve posted guides to disaster prep in the past on this blog, but I thought it might be a good time for a refresher on where to go.
FEMA’s website has lots of resources including how to protect your home and property from a variety of disasters. The National Trust for Historic Preservation also has a full stock of disaster planning and response resources. Included on this page are guides for homeowners and for local organizations and Main Streets.
If you are looking to get a disaster plan in order, you can visit the website of Maryland dPlan. This is a tool for cultural and civic institutions to use to create a disaster plan. If you need help convincing your organization of the need to use tools like Maryland dPlan to create a disaster plan, the National Trust has outlined the case for disaster planning on all levels.
So, now that the refresher is over, I’m curious to see how everyone fared in June’s storms. We know our friends at Mt. Harmon Plantation in Cecil County sustained significant damage to their historic trees and the building itself and have begun efforts to raise money for the cleanup effort. Let us know if your sites were damaged and how your recovery work is going.
Last week I was in Charleston for an executive retreat of statewide and local partners of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. About thirty organizations were represented. We toured historic sites, discussed current preservation issues and organizational challenges, and learned more about the Trust’s new strategic framework and signature National Treasures program.
The National Treasures program will be a portfolio of 100 historic properties across the country that the Trust will focus its staff and programming on preserving. To date, 22 Treasures have been named including Charleston. The threat: the growing cruise ship industry.
Charleston was America’s first local historic district. It was established in 1931 the same year that Preservation Maryland was founded. The city played and important role in America’s history and is comprised of an incredible collection of residential, commercial, religious and civic architecture ranging from 1700 through the mid twentieth century. Like many popular historic destinations, including Annapolis, Charleston has to strike a balance between the economic benefits of tourism and protecting the quality of life of its residents.
In June 2011, Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, Charlestowne Neighborhood Association, Coastal Conservation League and Preservation Society of Charleston filed suit against Carnival Cruise Lines. The suit alleges that provisions of the City of Charleston’s existing ordinances apply to Carnival Cruise Line ships that use Union Pier, which is adjacent to Charleston’s historic district.
So what’s the big deal? Charleston has become both a cruise ship destination and the new home port for the Carnival Fantasy cruise ship. So not only do thousands of visitors disembark from visiting cruise ships into the historic district including residential neighborhoods on a daily basis, every week over 2,000 passengers drive into and out of Charleston for the Fantasy cruise to Florida and the Bahamas.
A Pride? Not a Flock. Nor a Fleet. How about a Richness? Whatever the term should be, Maryland has ‘em! I participated on a conference call recently organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to discuss the naming of the collective Rosenwald Schools as one of our National Treasures, a new designation that promises to focus attention on America’s most significant and most threatened historic resources. The Rosenwalds were added to America’s Most Endangered list by the National Trust in 2002. Maryland, it seems, had 153 of the 5,300 schools built for blacks in the South between 1912 and 1932 through the generosity of Julius Rosenwald, one of the founders of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. empire. According to a survey done about 10 years ago, 53 of them survive in Maryland. Preservation Maryland named the Ridgeley Rosenwald School in Prince George’s County to our Endangered Maryland list in 2007. Happily the building has since undergone a $1.1 million restoration and is now a museum. We also recognized Mildred Ridgley-Gray with Preservation Maryland’s Volunteer Award in 2008 for her efforts towards the school’s preservation.
But where do we go from here? With such an impressive collection of the schools remaining, the National Trust is seeking funding support for their preservation and hopes to hold several regional conferences to encourage and facilitate the preservation of the schools, which are found in 16 states. Preservation Maryland will consider cooperating on one of those conferences and in redoubling our efforts to ensure that our state’s Richness of Rosenwalds receive the attention that they deserve.
On March 8, I took part in the annual pilgrimage of preservationists to the holy grail of federal policy. That is the day that people from all across the country convene in Washington, join with colleagues from near and far and launch an assault on Capitol Hill. The day’s program and much of the content for conversations with hill staffers is set forth by Preservation Action and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Concurrently, the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, led by Preservation Maryland former executive director Nancy Schamu, holds its annual meeting. As one might assume, those of us living in Maryland fanned out to visit the offices of our 10-member Congressional delegation. The Maryland Historical Trust took the lead on organizing our day on the hill.
For those who have never taken part, I highly recommend it. There is nothing like threading ones way into the nation’s capital through some of the nation’s most congested roads, experiencing dehumanizing but apparently necessary security checks to enter congressional offices and huddling with — shall we say — “youthful” staff members in an office entryway, or even in the hall outside the office, because there is no room to meet inside. It doesn’t exactly set the mood for eloquence and detailed discussion. One eye and ear are constantly on the clock and the overheard conversations from the parade of other public policy petitioners — sort of like trying to thread a needle while riding on a roller coaster.
But, this is precisely how thousands upon thousand of Americans advocate for changes in federal public policy. Among the issues we supported were adding sponsors to four pending tax credit bills, continuation of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network, reauthorization of transportation legislation to fund and protect historic preservation projects and that most basic of federal preservation legislation, funding to operate the state and tribal preservation offices.
All in all, it was a successful day, with positive results such as Senator Mikulski adding her sponsorship to Senator Cardin’s historic rehabilitation tax credit bill, among other endorsements of our legislative goals. Like similar efforts, the degree of follow up in the congressional home offices will be important to keep the federal preservation ball rolling. So, if you like sausage, as I do, you might enjoy a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. Let us know if you’d like to take part next year.
P.S. The most affirming moment of the day was when several of us happened upon a gentleman who, noting our confusion with the building’s layout, offered to escort us directly to the congressional office we were seeking. He turned out to be a congressman himself (Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas’ 1st District) and the only one I spotted that day.
Last week Senator Ben Cardin announced the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act at the historic Clifton Mansion in Baltimore City.
The CAPP Act would amend the federal tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic buildings to be an even more effective economic engine and job creator. The proposed legislation will make the historic tax credit easier to use to rehabilitate smaller buildings typically found in small towns and Main Street commercial districts.
In its 32-year history, the federal historic tax credit has resulted in the creation of 2 million jobs, saved 37,000 vacant or underutilized buildings and stimulated $90 billion in private investment. The 20% tax credit encourages the adaptive reuse of historic warehouses, schools, churches, and other buildings to meet current needs for housing, offices, and retail space, the historic tax credit creates skilled jobs, revitalizes communities, and fuels local economies.
The CAPP Act will:
- Drive development and job creation into smaller “Main Street” communities by increasing the credit amount to 30% for projects under $5 million.
- Promote energy-efficiency and cost-savings by encouraging the use of energy efficient technologies.
- Enhance the impact of the historic tax credit in low-income areas by eliminating barriers to nonprofit community-based developers.
- Expand the 10% credit for the rehabilitation of non historic buildings to include buildings “fifty years or older.”
- Improve to efficiency of state tax credits by eliminating the federal taxation of the state credits.
We are very grateful to Senator Cardin for sponsoring CAPP, which is the priority legislation for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and look forward to working with the Senator and the Trust to get the bill passed. For more information about how to ensure passage of the CAPP Act, please visit www.preservationnation.org/taxcredits.