historical preservation

Florence, Italy - photography by: Michelle Heimerman - Saveur April/May 2017

  • Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower Il Duomo di Firenze: was begun in 1296 in the Gothic style with the design of Arnolfo di Cambio and completed structurally in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. The exterior of the basilica is faced with polychrome marble panels in various shades of green and pink bordered by white and has an elaborate 19th-century Gothic Revial facade by Emilio De Fabric.
  • styles: Italian Gothic - Renaissance - Gothic Revival

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I recently gave a TEDx Talk on the stigma and misconceptions attached to the American insane asylum.  I conclude by asking the listener to change their viewpoint - or if they cannot manage that, to at least acknowledge the history and preserve the buildings.  Please check it out & share with your followers to get the word out!

Trump administration withdrew memo that found 'ample legal justification' to halt Dakota Access pipeline
The legal opinion was withdrawn two days before an easement was approved.
By ABC News

Two days before the Trump administration approved an easement for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross a reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation, the U.S. Department of the Interior withdrew a legal opinion that concluded there was “ample legal justification” to deny it.

The withdrawal of the opinion was revealed in court documents filed this week by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the same agency that requested the review late last year.

“A pattern is emerging with [the Trump] administration,” said Jan Hasselman, an attorney representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “They take good, thoughtful work and then just throw it in the trash and do whatever they want to do.”

The 35-page legal analysis of the pipeline’s potential environmental risks and its impact on treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux and other indigenous tribes was authored in December by then-Interior Department Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins, an Obama appointee who was – at the time – the top lawyer in the department.

“The government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Tribes calls for enhanced engagement and sensitivity to the Tribes’ concerns,” Tompkins wrote. “The Corps is accordingly justified should it choose to deny the proposed easement.”

Tompkins’ opinion was dated Dec. 4, the same day the Obama administration announced that it was denying an easement for the controversial crossing and initiating an environmental impact statement that would explore alternative routes for the pipeline. Tompkins did not respond to a request by ABC News to discuss her analysis or the decision made to withdraw it.

On his second weekday in office, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that directed the Army Corps of Engineers to “review and approve” the pipeline in an expedited manner, to “the extent permitted by law, and as warranted, and with such conditions as are necessary or appropriate.” “I believe that construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest,” Trump wrote in the memo.

Two weeks later, the Corps issued the easement to Dakota Access and the environmental review was canceled.

The company behind the pipeline project now estimates that oil could be flowing in the pipeline as early as March 6.

The analysis by Tompkins includes a detailed review of the tribes’ hunting, fishing and water rights to Lake Oahe, the federally controlled reservoir where the final stretch of the pipeline is currently being installed, and concludes that the Corps “must consider the possible impacts” of the pipeline on those reserved rights.

“The Tompkins memo is potentially dispositive in the legal case,” Hasselman said. “It shows that the Army Corps [under the Obama administration] made the right decision by putting the brakes on this project until the Tribe’s treaty rights, and the risk of oil spills, was fully evaluated.”

Tompkins’ opinion was particularly critical of the Corps’ decision to reject another potential route for the pipeline that would have placed it just north of Bismarck, North Dakota, in part because of the pipeline’s proximity to municipal water supply wells.

“The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux Reservations are the permanent and irreplaceable homelands for the Tribes,” Tompkins wrote. “Their core identity and livelihood depend upon their relationship to the land and environment – unlike a resident of Bismarck, who could simply relocate if the [Dakota Access] pipeline fouled the municipal water supply, Tribal members do not have the luxury of moving away from an environmental disaster without also leaving their ancestral territory.”

Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the project, has said that “concerns about the pipeline’s impact on local water supply are unfounded” and “multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.”

The decision to temporarily suspend Tompkins’ legal opinion two days before the easement was approved was outlined in a Feb. 6 internal memorandum issued by K. Jack Haugrud, the acting secretary of the Department of the Interior. A spokeswoman for the department told ABC News today that the opinion was suspended so that it could be reviewed by the department.

The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes are continuing their legal challenges to the pipeline. A motion for a preliminary injunction will be heard on Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The Corps has maintained, throughout the litigation, that it made a good faith effort to meaningfully consult with the tribes.

The tribes contend, however, that the Trump administration’s cancellation of the environmental review and its reversal of prior agency decisions are “baldly illegal.”

“Agencies can’t simply disregard their own findings, and ‘withdrawing’ the Tompkins memo doesn’t change that,” Hasselman said. “We have challenged the legality of the Trump administration reversal and we think we have a strong case.”

by Henryk Ross

Police in the Lodz Ghetto, run by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland, escort residents for deportation during World War II.

Officially, former Polish press photojournalist Henryk Ross was forced to work by the Nazi regime as a bureaucratic photographer for the Jewish Administration’s statistics department. He took photographs for Jewish identification cards, as well as images used as propaganda for the Lodz Ghetto. Ross, a Jew, was one of at least 160,000 people held in the Lodz Ghetto in Poland, second only to the Warsaw Ghetto in German-occupied Europe.

Unofficially, at great personal danger, Ross documented the cruel truth of life under Nazi rule. In the four-year existence of the Lodz Ghetto, a quarter of its prisoners died of starvation. In 1942, nearly 20,000 were deported to the death camp of Chelmno; in 1944, 70,000 were sent to Auschwitz.

Ross buried his negatives in 1944 in attempt to preserve the historical record of what had happened in Lodz. As one of the mere 877 recorded survivors of the ghetto, Ross returned for the negatives after Lodz’s liberation, discovering that more than half of the original 6,000 remained intact. [x]


The Knickerbocker row houses in a new residential area of Altoona, Pennsylvania in the early 1900’s. These buildings now comprise a Historic District that includes 153 contributing rowhouse buildings.

The buildings were primarily built between 1903 and 1930, as affordable workers’ housing and reflect a number of popular architectural styles including Colonial Revival and Classical Revival. The buildings feature decorative parapets, bay windows, porch posts, pediments, and a variety of ornamentation.

The district is visually dominated by the former Knickerbocker Hotel. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.  Altoona’s importance to the Pennsylvania Railroad was significant the days of steam locomotives; this housing project is from the same era.

Photos and text information from Jackson-Township Historical Preservation.

anonymous asked:

What kind of life do you lead where you get into arguments about architectural history??

jfnkdjfngsnjf I work as a historic preservation specialist! So it’s…effectively my job to know about and climb around in old buildings all the time. A lot of the arguments are usually “well is this building REALLY that important”


This is a common problem with many of these places. People want character defining features, and then they literally demolish the character and throw up another blocky facade built with vastly inferior materials that will inevitably start to crumble in five years. (People still haven’t figured out the secret behind Roman cement and mortar and what makes it last so long. We use wasteful materials building wasteful spaces.)

True grad school story: I spent a semester with other students in my year doing a survey of Mid-Century Modern resources on my university campus. The science campus was erected in the 1960s, the height of the Mid-Century Modern style - what you’d think of as “futuristic” if you lived in that time. It came about in the big scientific boom that was aiming toward space travel during the Cold War, the Arms Race. Many college campuses have a science campus (or buildings) in this style, although no two science campuses are the same. It’s indicative of the greater trend toward technological advancement. Institutional Mid-Century Modern architecture is very different from residential, or commercial, or (rarer) federal. It was popular. It was in-vogue. It’s perfectly understandable that now, these sorts of buildings would be ill-equipped to deal with the rigors of Modern Science As We Know It. But this is why retrofitting exists!

My university strongly disliked the complaints of the science students and professors that their facilities were out of date, and went so far as to construct a new science building elsewhere on the campus, to expand. They still received complaints about the Mid-Century Modern ones - less about the buildings themselves, but more a lack of space for large equipment, needing better ventilation, you know, science things. Our proposal with our survey, which was presented during a crit week where anyone can attend, was that retrofitting the 1960s buildings would be less costly, a more effective use of the university’s financial resources, and simultaneously protect the only examples of this style that existed on our campus. Razing the buildings and the grounds around them, which had been planned meticulously by a local firm of architects in the 60s, and then planning and building on top of that, would be prohibitively expensive. It’s common sense.

The actual dean of my college came into our presentation halfway through, and during the questions and comments post-presentation asked (and I’m paraphrasing the latter half) “Why should we care? Other college campuses have this. They’re old and they want to get rid of them.”

What if every other college campus is saying the same thing about every other college campus? Other college campuses have this. THEY WON’T IF YOU KEEP TEARING THEM DOWN.

Working in historic preservation is a constant struggle of getting people to see economical sense in what they are proposing to do - or not do - to the only resources they have.

When they’re gone, they’re gone. You can’t save something that isn’t there.