historical preservation

Postcard image of Lackawanna Station in Binghamton, New York, circa 1905. This station also looks substantially the same today although passenger service is a distant memory.  The station itself was almost a memory in a city that lost a considerable part of its identity to urban renewal (see below).  The building is now used for professional offices.

Binghamton’s Lackawanna Station - A Story of Urban Renewal and Historic Preservation

Star Wars Episode III: Backstroke of the West - A Historical Preservation Post

Earlier today I made a reference to “Backstroke of the West”, and when I looked it up I saw that the original post was made in 2005, which means that a good chunk of people on here might be too young to remember it. So consider this post a public service. 

The following was originally posted here


episode iii, the backstroke of the west

i saw revenge of the sith last weekend at a local theater with my friend joe who was in town on business. it was much better than the first two movies and a fitting end (err.. middle) to the star wars saga.

the next day i was walking past my friendly dvd salesperson and decided to check out revenge of the sith. i was assured the quality was good and for 7rmb why not give it a shot.

aside from the counters on the top of the screen and a distorted perspective it was ok- not high quality but watchable. the captions were a hilarious surprise- a direct english translation of the chinese interpretation of what the script was saying. it varied from being somewhat close to the script to being ‘far far away’….

amazingly enough, the beginning scroll is mistranslated even though the words are right there on the screen.

star war (just one)

'the backstroke of the west’ is the english translation of the chinese title.

anakin: “this is where the fun begins”

obi wan: “let them pass between us”

anonymous doomed fighter pilot: “they’re all over me”

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The Kennicott Homestead at The Grove, Cook County, Illinois by Bob Callebert
Via Flickr:
The late summer prairie at The Grove is truly a sight to behold. It’s worth making a special trip. The Kennicott home is back there hiding in the mist, which was really heavy this morning.


Inside Paris’ Secret Archive of Architectural Antiques

Hundreds of antique wood panels lie stacked against the walls of a glass-roofed warehouse just north of Paris’ Champs-Élysées. Beside them are shelves laden with cornices and sculptures.

This vast cache belongs to period boiserie dealer Féau & Cie. ‘It’s an old institution that’s been there for over a hundred years,’ says interiors photographer Joanna Maclennan, who was drawn to the archive after hearing about its history. ‘Everything is hidden, so unless you know it’s there and what they do, it’s not the kind of thing you’d come across. They don’t even have a shopfront, and everything is inside so it’s quite secret.’

Over 100 carvers, painters and gilders are employed by Féau & Cie, which has built up extensive expertise when it comes to preserving historic pieces, and a reputation for creating precise reproductions.

Images and text via

This is the second-floor hallway in the abandoned 1864 Surgeon’s Residence (designated “Building R1”) on the campus of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Hospital.  Designed before electrical lighting - or indeed, prevalent gas lighting - a skylight illuminated the hallway in the early days of this building’s use, and now once again, during its abandonment.  The skylight continues up through the attic to a large cupola on the roof, which allows ample light to stream into the hall.  The hallway of the servant’s quarters, in the rear of the building, had no such appointment.  Thankfully, this Second Empire mansion - a National Historic Landmark - is in a state of controlled preservation.

Print available here.

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A timeline of the major events at Standing Rock so far:

Dec. 22, 2014

Dakota Access LLC submitted an application to the North Dakota Public Service Commission to build a 358-mile pipeline originating in the Bakken and Three Forks oil formations.

Feb. 17, 2015

The United States Army Corps of Engineers, a government body in charge of U.S. waterways, sent a letter to the Tribal Historic Preservation Office to consult interested tribes on the pipeline’s impact, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act. THPO requested a full archaeological investigation, Mother Jones reported. THPO sent follow-up letters in ensuing months, which allegedly went unreturned.

March 25, 2015

The Public Service Commission, or PSC, considered the application complete and scheduled three public hearings during May and June 2015, according to local NBC affiliate KFYR.

Sept. 15, 2015

Soon after a follow-up letter from the Army Corps of Engineers, or USACE, arrived, THPO expressed concerns about “significant and unevaluated properties” in the construction site. THPO concluded that USACE attempted to bypass the Section 106 process.

Jan. 20, 2016

The PSC unanimously approved the project. Commissioner Randy Christmann recused himself since a share of the pipeline was willed to his wife.

April 29, 2016

Col. John Henderson of the USACE held a public hearing in Mobridge, North Dakota, so that Native tribe members could voice their concerns. Everyone who spoke at the meeting rejected the project.

July 25, 2016

USACE issued a permit 12, which finally approved the construction of the pipeline across roughly 200 sites in four different states. The following day, the Sioux tribe filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the destruction of sacred sites.

July 27, 2016

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Washington, D.C., according to Earthjustice, a nonprofit law organization that represents the Standing Rock tribe. U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg handled the case.

Aug. 4, 2016

The tribe filed a preliminary injunction against USACE, because the pipeline was already under construction,

Aug. 10, 2016

First arrests of demonstrators in the vicinity of the construction were made.

Sept. 3, 2016

Democracy Now! camera crew filmed security guards working for DAPL attacking protesters. On Sept. 8, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman received a criminal complaint and warrant for her arrest after the State’s Attorney Ladd R. Erickson presented charges against Goodman for “criminal trespass.”

Sept. 9, 2016

The federal district court denied the Tribe’s motion for a preliminary injunction. However, the Departments of Justice, Army and Interior announced they would halt any future permitting and would reconsider its past permits for the project. Energy Transfer Partners, however, continued the pipeline construction.

Oct. 17, 2016

A North Dakota judge rejected charges against Amy Goodman for her reporting.

Nov. 15, 2016

Energy Transfer Partners filed a lawsuit against USACE, claiming that the Corps has no right to “delay easement to pipeline construction.”

Nov. 25, 2016

USACE threatened DAPL protesters with possible arrests if they don’t evacuate their camps by Dec. 5.

Nov. 28, 2016

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an executive order for the expulsion of DAPL protesters “to safeguard against harsh winter conditions.”

Read more about the history of Standing Rock, the Trump connection and what’s next for the protesters

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Daybreak in the Beury Building Penthouse, 2012.  The National Bank of North Philadelphia - now commonly referred to as the Beury Building - is a National Register of Historic Places-listed building that has been abandoned since the early 1980s.  Originally a lavish 11-story Art Deco bank tower, it was later converted for mixed-use, including a 3-story Penthouse on top, crowned by a pyramidal roof.  The now-14-story building is the largest in North Philly, and the only significant Art Deco building left in the entire city.  And yet, it has been left to rot for 30 years.  Pictured here is the top floor of the Penthouse during the Blue Hour, when the first strains of daylight were lazily reaching the sky.

Reaching the Penthouse is another matter, and anything but lazy - the stairs are almost completely gone, and only a set of dodgy wooden planks separates the climber from a painful (or deadly) fall of between 1-4 stories.  The building owners who commissioned me to photograph the tower for some “before renovation” photos advised me that I did not need to photograph this section as it was “inaccessible”.  Of course, I “accessed” it.  In the top image, a wide view of this floor, the glass of the windows long since broken out.  In the center image, an individual viewing window.  And in the bottom image, a detail of the view out the same window - whoever once lived here had a wonderful view of a once-affluent neighborhood, now dominated by liquor stores, pawn shops, and shady characters.  This view was worth the sketchy climb.

Print of top photograph available here.
Print of middle photograph available here.
Print of bottom photograph available here.

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Indiana Jones meets Pablo Picasso meets generations of Provençal living in the form of Jean Pierre Soalhat. We were able to visit him at his studio and his home in Caseneuve…


Meyer May House, Grand Rapids, MI

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Meyer May House is considered to be an exemplary example of the Prairie style. Built in 1908-1909, it features a hip roof with broad overhanging eaves, art glass windows in horizontal bands and pale brick that were common features of Wright’s houses. Wright designed nearly every aspect of the house, including the furniture, windows, light fixtures and rugs. The house underwent a major restoration in 1986. Nearly everything appears as it would have originally, including a mural of hollyhocks that had been covered by layers of paint for years. The house is open for (free!) tours.

Photos Meyer May House/Grand Rapids Press


Minneapolis about to sell historic Hollywood Theater for $1

The last picture show at the Hollywood Theater in northeast Minneapolis took place 27 years ago. The building has been empty, but not forgotten, since then. …

“I saw ‘Raging Bull’ there, I saw the ‘Blues Brothers’ there,” [Developer Andrew] Volna said. “It’s been on my radar since then.”

Photos courtesy of Sawdust Media

The central administrative pavilion of Hudson River State Hospital is really the only part of the Frederick Clarke Withers designed asylum complex to remain in decent condition, as it was still used for decades after the wings were abandoned.  Elegantly created starting in the late 1860s in the High Victorian Gothic style, the Kirkbride building is a National Historic Landmark - sadly, one which now has little chance of preservation; the male wards were devastated by a fire in 2007, and the female wards have suffered so much water damage that the floors get worse by the year.  But depicted here is one of the worst sections of the central pavilion - a tiny room with a dormer window on the top floor - and as seen, it’s holding up incredibly well.  It is my hope that at least this primary section of the building will be saved.

Print available here.


With urban, Western settler and Native American archaeological sites just a short distance from campus, students in the UM Anthropology Program have a lot of opportunities to get their hands dirty. The undergraduate major includes options in archaeology, cultural & ethnic diversity, and forensic, linguistic and medical anthropology. Students also can pursue a minor in linguistics and certificates in English as second language, historical preservation and forensic studies.

Graduate programs include general anthropology, forensic anthropology, cultural heritage, applied anthropology, applied medical anthropology and linguistic anthropology.

Learn more on the UM Anthropology Program website.


“Spring forward” today with the colorful landscapes of the Piedras Blancas Light Station Outstanding Natural Area!

The Piedras Blancas Light Station is a historic landmark on California’s central coast. Located on a windswept point of land along scenic Highway One, the Lighthouse was first illuminated in 1875.

The Light Station is named for the distinctive white rocks just offshore. These rocks, and the rugged shoreline, are home to seabirds, sea lions and elephant seals. Over 70 native plant species can be found on the 19 acres surrounding the Light Station.

The BLM manages the Piedras Blancas Light Station as a historic park and wildlife sanctuary. Tours of Piedras Blancas are offered year round, and feature cultural and natural history as well as spectacular scenery.