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Vol. 2 No. 1 Winter 2011

MODERNISM + STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICES WE HEAR FROM SHPOS IN OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, GEORGIA, AND COLORADO ABOUT THEIR LATEST EFFORTS IN DOCUMENTING AND PRESERVING MODERN RESOURCES

PLUS: GRASSROOTS GROUP FIGHTS TO SAVE HOGAN’S FOUNTAIN PAVILION WAVING A GREEN FLAG FOR RACE TRACK PRESERVATION


RPPN Bulletin

WINTER 2011

Vol.2 No.1

Page 19

Page 35

Page 3 Page 23

Page 11

Page 29

contents PENNSYLVANIA’S HISTORIC SUBURBS 03 Learn about the Pennsylvania SHPO’s program to document post-World War II historic suburbs.

OHIO MODERN, IT’S HISTORY! 19 The statewide Ohio Modern Historic Context will be released soon. Here’s what you can expect.

GREEN FLAG FOR RACE TRACK PRESERVATION 29 Ever wondered about preserving modern stock car racing heritage and its tracks? Read how dynamic, heavily used tracks are being blended with preservation.

11 THE ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE The Georgia SHPO is all about the Ranch House. Find out why and what they’re doing.

23 RECENT PAST ON THE FRONT RANGE The Colorado SHPO is one of the most active in engaging modernism. See what they’ve done.

35 SAVING HOGAN’S FOUNTAIN PAVILION A grassroots effort is underway in Louisville Kentucky to save this unique space. Read its history and find out how you can help.


The RPPN Bulletin is a quarterly newsletter published by the Recent Past Preservation

Dear RPPN Supporters,

Network, a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting preservation education and advocacy to encourage a

Anyone interested in the preservation of modernist architecture received a

contextual understanding of our modern

stark reminder recently that not even the most iconic examples of the

built environment.

international style are safe from unsympathetic alteration. The Manufacturers Hanover Trust bank building in New York City, designed by

2011 Board of Directors

Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1954, became an instant

Devin Colman, President

landmark the day it opened. With the recent closure of the bank branch and

Aaron Marcavitch, Vice President

a proposed renovation for retail use, important character-defining features

Julie Ernstein, Secretary

of the interior were in jeopardy. Thanks to the efforts of a coalition of

Rebekah Dobrasko

concerned preservation organizations, including RPPN, the New York

Jeffery Harris

Landmarks Preservation Commission convened a hearing last week on

Alan Higgins

whether or not to grant landmark status to the interior of the building (the

Cindy Olnick

exterior was designated in 1997). At the hearing, the new owner of the

Frampton Tolbert

building testified in support of designation and will soon submit plans for renovations that respect the interior features of the building. This was a close call, and a good reminder that even the most significant and wellknown works of modernist architecture need our constant attention and protection. I’d like to update everyone on some changes taking place with the RPPN organization. After nearly a decade with the organization, including the past two years as president, it is time for me to step aside and pursue other endeavors. Board member Alan Higgins will serve as interim president until

Mailing Address Recent Past Preservation Network P.O. Box 3072 Burlington, VT 05408 On the Web URL: www.recentpast.org President: president@recentpast.org General Info: info@recentpast.org Website: webmaster@recentpast.org

the next RPPN Annual Meeting in October 2011, at which point a new president will be elected. Alan has been responsible for the new RPPN

Newsletter

website and several recent advocacy efforts, and I am excited to see the

Designed & edited by: Alan Higgins

organization continue to grow and evolve under his leadership. I plan to stay on the board through October to help with the transition and will continue

All information is from sources believed to be

to be involved with RPPN as a member.

accurate. RPPN is not responsible for omissions or errors.

Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication over the years, and keep it up!

Please send all comments, questions, and story ideas to us at:

Sincerely,

newsletter@recentpast.org

Devin A. Colman

ON THE COVER: ASM HEADQUARTERS, GEAUGA COUNTY, OHIO. Cleveland architect John Terence Kelly and R. Buckminster Fuller.


PENNSYLVANIA’S

HISTORIC SUBURBS BY BHP STAFF: CHERYL NAGLE, CAROL LEE, KEITH HEINRICH, AND KIRA HEINRICH

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Our office, The Bureau for Historic Preservation (BHP), is

For the past few years BHP has addressed the challenges

part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum

of documenting and evaluating post-World War II

Commission (PHMC) and serve as the State Historic

housing on a project-by-project basis, with the end goal

Preservation Office (SHPO). It is our responsibility to

of establishing a workable methodology to ensure

work with individuals, communities, local governments,

consistent and defensible evaluations for National

and state and federal agencies to educate

Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility. To this end,

Pennsylvanians about our heritage and its value, to build

we have undertaken statewide consultation with the

better communities through preservation tools and

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT),

strategies, to provide strong leadership, both individually

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Cultural

and through partnerships, and to ensure the

Resource Management (CRM) consultants to

preservation of Pennsylvania’s heritage.

cooperatively develop test documentation and policy

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PENNSYLVANIA WEEK, OCTOBER 10-17, 1954. A Pennsylvania Department of Commerce sponsored event. The Department of Commerce was created in 1939 to promote the development of business, industry, and commerce in the State. Image courtesy of the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg; RG 31; Records of the Department of Commerce; Series 31.1.

WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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PENNSYLVANIA’S HISTORIC SUBURBS procedures. Additionally, the staff has presented at two

and the “Researcher’s Guide for Developing a Context for

National Transportation Research Board (NTRB)

Evaluating Post-World War II Suburbs for National

Committee on Historic and Archaeological Preservation

Register Eligibility” needs to be applicable across the

in Transportation (ADC50) conferences outlining our

state. We define specific questions that can be applied to

approach and encouraging feedback, held “summit”

these resources for documentation and evaluation

meetings with potential constituencies, have tested

purposes, identify property types and character-defining

creative mitigation strategies for documenting postwar

features, provide general overviews of the trends,

resources, and developed a website with tools to assist

themes, and events of the time period, and provide

researchers.

online resources having relevant information that is publicly available such as historic and modern aerial

The BHP launched the Pennsylvania’s Historic Suburbs

maps, census data, and tax records.

website in September 2010. The first installment focuses on post-World War II housing developments. Our main

While postwar suburbs are a reflection of a more general

goal is to present an online toolkit that provides

national pattern, we felt it was necessary for the

information and avenues of research; and the website

researcher to understand them more clearly as part of

The Pennsylvania’s Historic Suburbs website offers

records and oral history; Maps - how to use aerial

thirteen postwar “research needs”

photography, historic maps and datasets to profile

including Development History - an overview of

statewide, county or municipal suburban development

suburban development in the United States; Postwar

across Pennsylvania; Historic Resource Survey

Suburbs 1945-1965 - attitude of the times; National

Forms – documentation on postwar resources located in

Trends - transportation, housing legislation and

Pennsylvania; National Register Nominations –

subdivision design in the United States; Pennsylvania

links to nationwide nominations, surveys, and thematic

Trends - transportation, housing and population

studies; Links to Web Resources; Bibliography

trends, land use, planning, developers and builders and

– books, dissertations, studies, plans, articles, etc.

discrimination in Pennsylvania; Research tools;

specific to Pennsylvania and in general; and Suburbs

BHP’s Guidelines for determining significance of the

Field Guide – information on house styles and types,

common postwar subdivision; Primary research –

subdivision layouts and associated components of

including information on newspapers, commission,

subdivisions in Pennsylvania.

bureau and regulatory records, county and municipal

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PENNSYLVANIA’S HISTORIC SUBURBS regional and local patterns. Regional considerations must

business strategies did they adopt?

be taken into account due to the comprehensive range of geographic, socio-political, economic, and demographic

The postwar period was a time of great optimism for the

patterns the postwar period exhibited in our state.

future; however, while the concept of homeownership

Between 1945 and 1975 the number of housing units in

was the central image of the American Dream as a

the state tripled, from about 1.5 million in 1940 to

symbol of family, class identity, respectability, and

almost 5 million in 1975, but the population remained

upward mobility, the opportunity to achieve home

virtually stagnant. The period saw tremendous relocation

ownership was clearly defined by race.

of population away from urban cores and rural counties to concentrate in suburbs around boroughs and cities. It

We think it is important for our office to document the

also saw a major shift of population to the southeast

obstacles African American Pennsylvanians faced due to

quadrant of the state outside of Philadelphia in the

the segregated living patterns in Pennsylvania. To this

sphere of the growing New York-DC megalopolis. The

means, our staff wrote a NRHP nomination for the

state’s economy went from a postwar industrial boom in

Greenbelt Knoll Historic District. It is significant at the

the 1950s to the traumatizing bust of the 1970s, with

local level in the area of Social History under Criterion A

accompanying restructuring of local economies and

for association with the development of integrated

emergence of redevelopment schemes that dramatically

housing in Philadelphia during the post-World War II

affected residential patterns.

period. It is locally significant under Criterion B for association with Morris Milgram, one of the leading

We want researchers to ask questions such as: What

proponents of fair housing and the developer of

role, such as zoning changes and creation of

Greenbelt Knoll and other planned integrated housing

infrastructure, did the borough or township play in these

projects across the country. It is locally significant under

developments? Why was new housing needed, and were

Criterion C in the area of Architecture. Designed by the

the creators of the subdivisions trying to solve problems

prominent firm of Montgomery & Bishop with architect

more serious than selling houses? Are there areas in the

Harry Duncan, landscape architect Margaret Lancaster

township outside of the city that experienced similar

Duncan, and consultant Louis I. Kahn, the houses and

residential development, particularly residential development for people working in the city? Did the community specifically exclude African Americans or other ethnic or religious groups? Was there a biracial group or committee involved in the subdivision development? Who were the developers behind these residential developments and what construction/ GREENBELT KNOLL HISTORIC DISTRICT, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA. One of the nation’s first integrated housing developments. It was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places and has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. Courtesy of Pennsylvania SHPO. WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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PENNSYLVANIA’S HISTORIC SUBURBS

postwar development, and a reconnaissance-level (“windshield”) survey of all resources identified from the historic aerials. From this data, two postwar subdivisions were chosen for an intensive-level survey that included in-depth documentary research, In 2010, PennDOT undertook improvements to State

photo-documentation, and oral history interviews.

Route (SR) 202 in Montgomery County and the project resulted in an adverse effect to

The goal of the mapping was twofold: 1) to identify all

historic resources. As part of the mitigation of this

postwar subdivisions in the five township area and

adverse effect PennDOT entered into a Memorandum of

2) to identify any related postwar development that

Understanding (MOU) with PHMC-BHP and

could be discerned from the historic aerials. In terms

provided our office with funding to survey postwar

of identifying all postwar subdivisions in the project

resources in a five township area along the SR 202

area, BHP staff looked for both the prototypical

corridor in central Montgomery County. The survey

planned postwar suburban residential developments

involved several components: examination of historic

(curvilinear streets, limited number of house plans,

aerials (from 1958 and 1965) to identify and map (in GIS)

uniform setbacks, etc.), as well as more haphazard

developments and associated resources (e.g.

residential developments (often small clusters of

shopping centers, churches, schools, parks, industrial

postwar houses on lots subdivided from a large

parks, etc.), preliminary background research to

landholding, such as a farm). The former were fairly

provide an understanding of Montgomery County’s

easy to identify on the historic aerials; the latter could

GREYSTONE MANOR SUBDIVISION, AMBLER, PENNSYLVANIA. This subdivision was chosen for an intensive survey by BHP staff in part due to its untypical house form and style for the area. Courtesy of Pennsylvania SHPO.

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PENNSYLVANIA’S HISTORIC SUBURBS

sometimes be identified from the aerials alone, but

predominant characteristics. Furthermore, settings/

sometimes required background research since there

amenities included attributes such as sidewalks,

were no easily identifiable attributes, such as

landscaping, etc., as well as attributes like nearby

curvilinear streets. The identification of related

schools, hospitals, shopping centers, etc. The survey card

development (e.g. shopping centers, industrial parks,

also included space for a site plan of the

schools, etc.) from the aerials was difficult since it was

subdivision (a pencil sketch) and a photo list, as well as

nearly impossible to identify function from the

date and surveyor, further study/potential and

aerials; fieldwork and documentary research seem the

associated key numbers or other codes. Representative

most appropriate ways to identify this type of

photos of each subdivision were taken and keyed

development.

to the site plans. These components, along with a discussion of the methodology and recommendations

Staff visited each subdivision identified on the maps and

for further work are included in the report and will be

completed a brief “Survey Field Card.” The field

available for review in the near future.

card included information such as name of the subdivision (if known), municipality, unique identifier from the GIS map, subdivision street names, house types/styles/materials/etc., and settings/amenities. The latter two categories were meant to describe the general characteristics of the subdivision. In other words, they are not an exhaustive list, but a list of the

BROAD AXE VILLAGE, AMBLER, PENNSYLVANIA. This subdivision was chosen for an intensive survey by BHP staff in part due to the house form and style being more modernistic than others in the project area. Courtesy of Pennsylvania SHPO.

WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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PENNSYLVANIA’S HISTORIC SUBURBS landscape at Greenbelt Knoll are excellent examples of

We hope that our Pennsylvania’s Historic Suburbs

the organic vein of mid-century Modern architecture.

website will broaden the way the public defines historic resources. Recently our office conducted the Community

We also think that it is important for researchers to pay

Preservation Values Survey as the first phase of the

particular attention to and document how postwar

planning process for a new Statewide Historic

development impacted our environment. Rampant

Preservation Plan for 2012-2017. Over 90% of the 2,200

postwar subdivision construction presented an

Pennsylvanians surveyed said that preserving the

opportunity for municipalities to discuss how to preserve

traditional centers of their communities—to their

open space and control growth. This precipitated the

community’s future. Often it is difficult for communities

1968 enactment of the state’s Municipalities Planning

to translate Modern and Recent Past resources into this

Code act which provided for local, county, and regional

category of resources worthy of preserving. Our office

community planning in Pennsylvania. The impact of

believes that the presentation of a balanced view of the

municipal planning and the widespread establishment of

postwar period in Pennsylvania can only help to elevate

municipal services, such as garbage pickup and public

the awareness of the need to preserve and plan for their

sewer/water have interestingly also presented

management.

consequences in that of archaeological research of sites dating to the postwar period. The presence of these types of municipal services have resulted in the absence

Cheryl L. Nagle is an Historic Preservation Specialist with the PA SHPO and serves as the project manager for Pennsylvania’s Historic Suburbs.

of the most productive feature types and artifact data sets commonly present on earlier sites. Consequently,

Carol Lee, Ph.D. is the National Register & Survey Coordinator with

traditional research questions cannot be applied in the

the PA SHPO and has initiated context development projects to

same way to these postwar sites as to very late historic

target under-represented resource types.

archaeological sites and it may be necessary to develop

Keith T. Heinrich is an archaeologist working in the National Register

new research questions along with new methodologies.

section of the PA SHPO.

These questions may include: understanding of changes to landscape and the built environment; cultural patterns; market interaction spheres; and class, ethnicity,

Kira M. Heinrich is a historic archaeologist working in the Environmental Review division of the PA SHPO.

and race. While postwar development was an important part of Pennsylvania’s past, not all postwar subdivisions can compare to the status of Levittown. Therefore, our

For more information:

guidelines for NRHP eligibility state that rigorous evaluation of a property’s significance and integrity must be employed to reduce a vast group of similar resources

Pennsylvania’s Historic Suburbs http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/ community/pennsylvania_suburbs/5864

to a meaningful list. In addition to the website, our office has been rethinking its approach to mitigation for transportation projects. This has resulted in several Modern and recent past resource documentation projects which we plan to highlight on our website in the near future. 9

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Pennsylvania’s Preservation Plan http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/ community/historic_preservation/3741/


WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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THE PLAIN-STYLE GEORGIA RANCH HOUSE. With its compact form, trim gabled roof, red-brick walls, incised window openings, unadorned aluminum-framed awning windows, and front-facing carport, this modest house defines the “plain style” of Ranch House built throughout Georgia in the 1950s and early 1960s. Courtesy of author.

ORDINARY ICONIC RANCHHOUSE

Ranch Houses in Georgia are historic. They are old enough, they are important enough, and they have been studied enough. They are worthy of preservation. These are the findings of the Georgia state historic preservation office’s Ranch House Initiative. Our office began this project several years ago when we started encountering Ranch Houses in our programs. Some of our first encounters came through Section 106 environmental reviews of highway projects. Others came from environmental reviews of community development projects for repairing,

BY DR. RICHARD R. CLOUES, DEPUTY STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE, HISTORIC PRESERVATION DIVISION, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES 11

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weatherizing, or replacing older neighborhood housing. Still other Section 106 projects involved


ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE demolishing Ranch Houses in low-lying areas for

nationally and in the Southwest but virtually nothing

floodplain clearance. Other early encounters came from

about Ranch Houses in the Southeast. Indeed, from this

proposed National Register nominations for historic

literature, one might think that not a single Ranch House

neighborhoods that included Ranch Houses intermixed

had ever been built in this part of the country!

with older houses and from interest in nominating individual Ranch Houses and Ranch House subdivisions.

Ranch Houses also were largely absent from surveys of historic buildings in Georgia. So to get a sense of what

Our office also became concerned about what was

was actually out there, we carried out some quick

happening to Ranch Houses: drastic remodeling, often

"windshield" surveys in various parts of the state. These

pseudo-Craftsman or pseudo-Modern in style, wholesale

surveys were highly impressionistic, intended only to

gutting of interiors, the addition of "pop-tops" or entire

provide us with a broad overview of Georgia's Ranch

second floors, demolitions followed by the construction

Houses. Target areas were selected through

of pseudo-Euro "McMansions," and the destruction of

demographic analysis identifying growth areas following

entire tracts of Ranch Houses for higher-density

World War II. But we also took note of Ranch Houses in

redevelopment. Indeed, it looked like Ranch Houses

smaller communities and rural areas. We supplemented

might be disappearing almost as fast as they had been

these field impressions with dates of construction from

built!

county property tax assessment databases. In some cases, we were able to conduct "desktop" surveys using

Prompted by all this, we decided it was time to take a

Google maps and street views along with on-line

serious look at Ranch Houses and their prospects for

property tax records.

preservation. To complement the field surveys, we researched dozens The objectives of our Ranch House Initiative were five-

of mid-century Ranch House plan books. Included were

fold:

several published by Georgia companies such as the Home Builders Plan Service and by individual Georgia

1) To document the history of the Ranch House in

designer-entrepreneurs such as Leila Ross Wilburn and

Georgia;

W. D. Farmer. And we looked through popular home-and

2) To identify the different types and styles of Ranch

-garden magazines of the time, including Better Homes &

Houses in the state;

Gardens and House Beautiful, and do-it-yourself

3) To chart the geography of Georgia's Ranch Houses;

magazines such as Popular Mechanics.

4) To describe their character-defining architectural features;

We also took advantage of opportunities to conduct

5) And to take note of any distinctly "Georgia" or

focused studies of mid-20th-century houses and

"Southern" Ranch House characteristics.

residential developments. Through the Section 106 environmental review process, we were able to obtain a

Our goal was to determine if Georgia's Ranch Houses

number of project-area field surveys and detailed reports

should be considered historically and architecturally

of individual houses and subdivisions. And we worked

significant and, if so, why.

closely with historic preservation students at Georgia State University who carried out the first-ever studies of

Our Ranch House Initiative began with a general

mid-20th-century houses in Atlanta, Ranch Houses in

literature search. We discovered quite a lot of

adjacent DeKalb County, the first Contemporary-style

information about the history of the Ranch House

Ranch House subdivision in Atlanta, and Collier Heights, WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE Atlanta's premier African-American suburban community. As we began compiling useful information, we orchestrated a public information campaign to get the word out. We made presentations of preliminary findings at a variety of public and professional venues including two presentations for the Georgia National Register Review Board. We also solicited public input, particularly from people who had lived in Ranch Houses all their lives. Along the way we got some good press coverage, including a feature article in Atlanta Magazine and stories in the Atlanta JournalConstitution newspaper. On a different front, we held information-sharing workshops with other agencies and organizations including the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the Georgia Transmission Corporation (one of the state's major electric power companies), and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. This led to the creation of an interagency task force comprised of GDOT's and Georgia Transmission Corporation's cultural resources staff, their consultants, and staff from our office's survey, National Register, and environmental review programs. The task force reviewed our research findings, expanded our research environment, and helped us establish protocols for documenting and evaluating the significance of Ranch Houses. We also went ahead with our state's first National Register nominations for Ranch Houses: a 1950 architect-designed "California Contemporary" Ranch House in Macon; a 1950s Ranch-House subdivision in Savannah with a variety of standard and customdesigned houses; and Collier Heights in Atlanta, the nation's pre-eminent mid-century African-American suburb.

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ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE General reference products of the Ranch House Initiative

Just made available is The Ranch House in Georgia:

to date include a history of the Ranch House in Georgia in

Guidelines for Evaluation. Prepared by New South

the form of a PowerPoint presentation which includes:

Associates, under contract with Georgia Transmission Corporation, on behalf of the interagency Ranch House

 the developmental history of the Ranch House in

task force and our office, the Guidelines explain, step-by-

Georgia;

step, how to identify, document, and evaluate Georgia's

 a geographical analysis of the Ranch House in

Ranch Houses consistent with the recommendations of

Georgia -- where Ranch Houses were built in Georgia,

the task force and guidance from our office. Practical

and their developmental patterns;

written advice is supplemented by period and

 a descriptive list of the various architectural styles

associated with Ranch Houses in Georgia;  a companion list of the various sub-types (or plan-

forms) of Georgia Ranch Houses;  a description of the general character-defining

features of Ranch Houses in Georgia; and  a list of the distinctive aspects of the "Georgia"

contemporary visuals. The Guidelines present a process for identifying, documenting, and evaluating Ranch Houses--not a formula! Release of the Guidelines was accompanied by an all-day workshop directed in part by our office for Georgia Transmission Corporation's and GDOT's cultural resources staff and consultants. The Guidelines can be viewed on our office's website

Ranch House, including screened porches and red

(www.gashpo.org) and soon will be available in printed

brick as the favored construction material.

form through an on-line on-demand publisher.

This presentation is available for viewing in a static format on our office's website (www.gashpo.org).

(opposite—top) LEAGUE HOUSE, MACON. The Joseph and Mary Jane League House in Macon was designed in 1950 by Jean League Newton for her brother and sister-in-law who wanted a practical, economical, unostentatious, and up-to-date new house. It introduced the “California Contemporary” style to Georgia. The house is the first mid-century Georgia Ranch House to be individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. (opposite—middle) FAIRWAY OAKS-GREENVIEW, SAVANNAH. Fairway Oaks-Greenview is the first mid-century suburb in Savannah to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Developed between 1950 and 1965, it contains a variety of Ranch Houses along with Split-Level and Two-Story houses. Among them are houses designed by Sarasota School architect Mark G. Hampton and Savannah architect Juan Bertoto. Many

impressive array of Ranch Houses ranging from modest standardized plans to

houses in the neighborhood were built of “recycled” Savannah

expansive custom designs. Many houses were designed by Joseph W.

grey brick salvaged from downtown urban renewal projects.

Robinson, a prominent African-American architect in Atlanta. Photo by James

Photo by James R. Lockhart, Georgia Department of Natural

R. Lockhart, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Resources. (above) GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATION. The Ranch House in Georgia: (opposite—bottom) COLLIER HEIGHTS, ATLANTA. Collier

Guidelines for Evaluation provides step-by-step guidance for identifying,

Heights is Atlanta’s premier mid-century African-American

documenting, and evaluating Ranch Houses in Georgia. The report can be

suburb. The first mid-20th century suburb in Georgia to be listed

viewed on the Georgia state historic preservation office’s website

in the National Register of Historic Places, it contains an

(www.gashpo.org). WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE What have we learned about Ranch Houses in Georgia

We also have learned a lot about the architecture of

through our Ranch House Initiative?

Georgia's Ranch Houses. In general, their designs reflect national trends, with a variety of plan-forms

First and foremost, we have learned--or confirmed--that

and styles sharing a long, low form. But Georgia's

there are a lot of Ranch Houses in Georgia: so many, in

Ranch Houses also have distinct regional

fact, that they shaped a new residential geography across

characteristics--features that make Georgia's Ranch

the state. More so than any other type of historic house,

Houses distinctly "Georgia," or at least

Ranch Houses were built everywhere in Georgia, from its

"Southern." Chief among them is the widespread use

largest cities to its smallest hamlets and across its rural

of red brick as an exterior building material. Indeed,

areas. But it was in the new mid-century suburbs that the

the red-brick Ranch House is Georgia's "signature"

Ranch House appeared in the greatest numbers, creating

Ranch House: red brick was used in some of

a distinctive new residential landscape on the outskirts of

Georgia's earliest Ranch Houses, it was recognized as

older cities and towns.

the material of choice as early as 1948 in an Atlanta Journal and Constitution real estate article, and in

Why were so many Ranch Houses built in Georgia? One

1952 it received national attention in the form of a

reason is the state's dramatic population increase related

red-brick Ranch House designed by Atlanta architect

to the post-World War II "Sun Belt" phenomenon.

Clement J. Ford featured in Better Homes & Gardens

Another reason is the suitability of the Ranch House to

Five Star Homes.

post-war family lifestyles with their emphasis on family life, social informality, and outdoor backyard living. But

Other distinctive design characteristics of the

perhaps the most important reason was that the Ranch

"Georgia" Ranch House include a broad, low roof,

House in Georgia knew no social, cultural, racial, or

wide eaves, and awning or jalousie windows, which

economic boundaries. It appealed to the well-to-do and to those of modest means, to rural and small-town

THE “GEORGIA” RANCH HOUSE. With its red-brick exterior, broad

residents and to those in the new suburbs, and to black

cascading hipped roof, wide eaves, picture window with flanking

and white homeowners alike. Across the board, the Ranch House was clearly the new house of choice for post-war homebuyers.

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operable sash, awning windows, clearly visible front door, Tennessee crab orchard stone detailing, integral screened porch, and attached carport, this Ranch House epitomizes the mid-century “Georgia” Ranch House of the 1950s. Courtesy of author.


ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE 1952 BETTER HOMES & GARDENS FIVE STAR HOMES. In 1952 Better Homes & Gardens featured this redbrick Ranch House designed by Atlanta architect Clement J. Ford in its Five Star Homes catalog. The editors celebrated its seemingly simple design: “Avoiding the triteness of some Traditional as well as the starkness of some Modern, it emerges as a house with a fresh, pleasing style of its own.” Red-brick Ranch Houses like this can be considered as the Southeast’s answer to the adobe and stucco Ranch Houses of the Southwest. Image from Better Homes and Gardens Five Star Homes, 1952, pp. 68-69. 1949 DECATUR RANCH HOUSE WITH SCREENED PORCH. Ranch Houses were built in increasing numbers all across Georgia following World War II. This 1949 Ranch House in Decatur’s Parkwood subdivision features a red-brick exterior, a picture window flanked by operable sash, stone detailing around the front door, a stepped or cascading hipped roof with wide eaves, and a screened porch for outdoor living -- all characteristic of the “signature” Georgia Ranch House. (And yes, that’s snow—real snow– the first measurable snow to fall on Christmas in the Atlanta metropolitan area since 1882!). Courtesy of author.

together provided protection from the hot summer sun,

with separate formal living and dining rooms in

thunderstorms, and winter rains while allowing for

addition to the more open family rooms and kitchens.

natural lighting and fresh-air ventilation. In a related

Another is a clear preference for an easily recognizable

way, the picture window--a hallmark of the Ranch House

front door, in contrast to the California penchant for

nationally--in Georgia was most often flanked by smaller

downplaying front entrances almost to the point of

windows with operable sash, or was constructed of

obscurity. Both of these regional characteristics may

multiple panels of operable sash, again to provide for

reflect the perseverance of traditional Southern

adequate ventilation.

manners and hospitality!

Another distinctive architectural characteristic is the

Lending further distinction to the architecture of

screened porch, usually on the side or rear of the house,

Georgia's Ranch Houses is the fact that many of them

sometimes in lieu of a patio or terrace, to provide for the

were designed by Georgia architects. Some set

indoor-outdoor lifestyle associated with "California"

precedents, such as the early 1940 rustic red-brick

Ranch Houses while providing protection from Georgia's

Ranch House in Atlanta's Lenox Park neighborhood

gnats and mosquitoes.

designed by Atlanta architect David Cuttino. Others were unique custom designs, such as Jean League

A somewhat curious and not fully understood regional

Newton's 1950 Contemporary-style Ranch House in

distinction is a marked preference for more "closed"

Macon, which was featured in no less than five

interior spaces, including the family living areas, often

national architectural periodicals. Still others WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

16


ORDINARY ICONIC RANCH HOUSE ATLANTA CONTEMPORARYA RANCH HOUSE. Not all Ranch Houses in Georgia were built with red brick and hipped roofs. This Contemporary style Ranch House was built in 1964 in the Cascade Road area of Atlanta. Courtesy of author.

undertakings. Third, we are nominating additional individual Ranch Houses and Ranch House neighborhoods to the National and Georgia Registers of Historic Places. And fourth, we are working on strategies to better include the large numbers of introduced new architectural styles from other parts of

Ranch Houses in community and county field surveys.

the country, such as Georgia's first Eichler-style Ranch Houses, in Savannah, designed by Ralph Thomas in the

In the near future, we hope to expand our Ranch

mid-1950s. Of special note are the dozens of Ranch

House Initiative to include additional research into

Houses designed by Joseph W. Robinson, one of the first

collateral topics such as landscaping and subdivision

African-American architects in Georgia, for a largely

development. And through the interagency task

African-American clientele in the Atlanta area. And there

force, we will be revisiting the current Guidelines for

was that seemingly simple red-brick Ranch House

Evaluation and making adjustments and refinements

designed by Atlanta architect Clement J. Ford which was

based on increased working knowledge.

featured in a 1952 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine where it was championed as the epitome of

Finally, we hope to be able to supplement the

the Southern Ranch House. Many other Georgia Ranch

historical information about Ranch Houses in Georgia

Houses owe their designs to locally produced and

with technical guidance regarding appropriate

published plan books such as those published by the

restoration and rehabilitation techniques, particularly

Atlanta office of the Home Builders Plan Service as early

for weatherization and energy-conservation

as 1948 and by W. D. Farmer in the 1960s. Still others

purposes. Our initial effort is addressing technical

came from architects who did both, such as Atlanta's

issues regarding window repair and replacement.

Leila Ross Wilburn, providing custom designs for

Subsequent technical guidance may address

individual clients and publishing plan books with

additions, kitchen remodeling, and bathroom

standard designs for builders and homebuyers

updates.

What are we now doing with all this information about

Our long-range goals remain unchanged: to foster a

our state's Ranch Houses? How are we putting it to work

greater understanding and appreciation of the mid-

in our preservation program?

20th-century Ranch House in Georgia and to promote its preservation.

First and foremost, much of this information has been posted on our office's website, where we hope it will

Richard Cloues has worked at the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources— Georgia’s

help everyone involved with identifying, documenting,

state historic preservation office—since 1978. Currently he heads

and evaluating these mid-20th-century houses. Second,

the Division’s Historic Resources Section. Dr. Cloues also is a

Ranch Houses are now routinely being considered in

Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer with oversight for the

state and federal environmental review activities including Section 106 reviews of federally assisted 17

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state’s Survey, National Register, Environmental Review, and Tax Incentives programs. He holds a Ph.D. in architectural history from Cornell University.


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Ohio Modern, It’s History! BY BARBARA POWERS, DEPARTMENT HEAD, INVENTORY & REGISTRATION, OHIO HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE, OHIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio

From 1940 until 1970, Ohio’s power, prosperity and

Historical Society has completed a multi-component

standing as a transportation center and leading

initiative, Ohio Modern: Preserving Our Recent Past,

industrial/manufacturing state continued much as it had

documenting Ohio’s historic themes and properties

since the end of the Civil War. Ohio represented roughly

from 1940 through 1970. The Ohio Modern project

5 percent of the nation’s population and produced about

includes a statewide historic context which outlines

6 percent of the gross national product. It was a dynamic

broad themes of the era and their impact upon land

period that transformed the state’s cities and towns,

use, architectural styles, property types, and building technology in Ohio. Coupled with this big picture snapshot, a survey which identified and recorded more than 500 properties to the Ohio Historic Inventory was conducted in Dayton and the surrounding suburbs of Centerville, Fairborn, Huber Heights, Kettering, Oakwood, Trotwood, and Vandalia. Buildings from the recent past are routinely destroyed to make way for new development before an understanding of their historic, cultural, and architectural significance can be achieved. Many times these more recent historic structures are torn down with no regard as to why Americans built them in the first place. Ohio Modern: Preserving Our Recent Past begins to provide the knowledge necessary to make appropriate decisions regarding these resources. The Ohio Modern project will aid property owners, decision-makers at all levels of government, scholars, historical societies, historic preservation and community groups, and the general public in understanding the importance and architectural legacy of this time period in Ohio.

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OHIO MODERN, IT’S HISTORY! suburbs and landscapes, and continues to define Ohio

The statewide historic context identified the

today.

following broad historic themes: 1. Industrialization/ Deindustrialization; 2. Changing Demographics; 3.

This 30-year span was defined by wartime build-up, the

Social History; 4. Land Use Planning; 5.

conversion from munitions manufacture to post-war

Conservation/Environmental Regulation; 6.

industrial growth, a shift from popular traditional design

Technological Innovations; 7. City vs. Suburb; 8.

to modern architecture and the arrival of the Baby

Transportation; 9. Design Trends; and 10. Major

Boomers. Employment opportunities, critical housing

Architects, Builders and Planners. The document

shortages and unprecedented federally funded

outlines these themes as they shaped Ohio’s history

infrastructure improvements resulted in explosive

and architecture from the 1940s through the 1960s.

growth in suburban neighborhoods and the construction

Sources included architectural guides and

of the interstate highway system and Ohio Turnpike.

inventories, various Internet sites featuring Ohio’s

Between 1950 and 1960, Ohio’s population increased by

recent past resources and Ohio Architect magazine,

22 percent with many families moving outward, away

from 1940-1970, which covered close to 300

from the central cities. More than 1.8 million homes

noteworthy projects exemplifying the period’s

were constructed statewide with 127,000 in Dayton and

design trends. The research sources resulting from

surrounding Montgomery County alone.

the statewide context includes references to more than 1,000 architect-designed buildings constructed between 1940 and 1970; lists of architects practicing in Ohio during the 1950s and 1960s; a bibliography; and searchable spreadsheets that include architects, landscape architects, buildings, bridges, and biographical source data The City of Dayton and Dayton Preservation, Inc. stated that the Dayton area survey will “lay the groundwork necessary for avoiding additional significant loss to our architectural, industrial and cultural heritage and that “now is the time to reassess our buildings from the recent past and to work toward their continued use and sensible rehabilitation.” Dayton and its surrounding suburbs exemplify the post-World War II explosion of development experienced in Ohio. Beginning with its role in the pre-war build-up, Dayton continued to witness an ASM HEADQUARTERS, GEAUGA COUNTY, OHIO. Located about 20 miles east of Cleveland, the headquarters for the American Society of Metals was constructed in 1959. Cleveland architect John Terence Kelly and R. Buckminster Fuller.

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OHIO MODERN, IT’S HISTORY! increase in population from returning veterans and a

Additionally, Ohio Modern chronicled individuals,

migration of workers seeking industrial jobs. Post war

families, and companies that designed, developed and

Dayton was home to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, as

built the structures and subdivisions. The oral interviews

well as numerous automobile and commercial

range from a statewide selection of architects,

manufacturing sites, resulting in the need for housing for

engineers, historians, developers, and planners to key

these industrial workers. This need materialized into the

Dayton-area residential builders and commercial

rapid development of suburban neighborhoods filled

developers. The interviews provided a rare opportunity

with cape cods, ranches and split-level houses and easily

to tap into the memories and knowledge of the very

accessible schools, churches, and shopping centers.

individuals and companies that shaped the places where people lived, worked and shopped.

Other key property types identified include religious buildings, government buildings, college campuses, motels, bowling alleys, drive-in and movie theaters, restaurants, and signage displaying neon and period graphics. The technological advances, automobile and suburban development, bold forms, and forward-looking use of material that define architectural styles of this period examined range from glass curtain wall corporate headquarters and International style medical complexes to Googie style drive-ins and gas stations. The Neo-Expressionism and New Formalism seen in religious buildings display some of the

Before this project, less than 1 percent of the built

era’s most advanced designs and often are the most

environment from 1940 through 1970 had been

prominent expression of modernism within a

recorded in the Ohio Historic Inventory, leaving the

community.

period of greatest impact critically lacking in research and documentation.

The post-war era reacted to the pent up demand for construction with new materials, new uses, and

The Ohio Modern project will provide information that

technological developments. The Ohio Modern project

can be used for nominating properties to the National

provides descriptions of many of these new products

Register of Historic Places and for informed decision-

and pictorial documentation of the wide range of

making for education, tourism and economic

construction materials, architectural details, and stylistic

development projects throughout the state. The Dayton-

influences.

area survey also serves as a model for other Ohio communities to identify and record their recent past architecture and neighborhoods.

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OHIO MODERN, IT’S HISTORY! Funding for the Ohio Modern project comes from the

The growth of the mid-century era resulted in a

National Park Service Preserve America and Historic

significant impact to Ohio’s built environment and much

Preservation Fund grant programs and matching funds.

fabric remains as a tangible legacy of the era. As the

Partners who supported this project include the Ohio

Ohio Modern Dayton survey report states, “From

Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of

restrained Modernist offices to the artistic forms of

Development, Ohio Humanities Council, the City of

Brutalism and Neo-Expressionism, to the soaring angles

Dayton and the University of Dayton.

of Googie buildings and signs, to the rambling Ranch house, the architecture of the mid-20th century has

The team of Steven Avdakov, Heritage Architectural

much to be celebrated and preserved.”

Associates; Kathy Mast Kane, Historic Preservation Consultant; and Nathalie Wright, Historic Preservation

The Ohio Modern project culminated in a public

Consultant conducted the Dayton-area survey. The

symposium and the survey project results will be shared

historic preservation consulting firm of Gray & Pape, Inc.

at an upcoming public meeting in Dayton. The Ohio

produced the statewide historic context document.

Historic Inventory forms, survey report, and statewide historic context will be shared online and available for review at the Ohio Historic Preservation Offices, located in the Ohio Historical Center. To learn more about the historic trends, architectural expressions and the people shaping mid-20th century Ohio visit the Ohio Modern: Preserving Our Recent Past website at www.ohiohistory.org. Barbara Powers is the Department Head of Inventory & Registration for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the Ohio Historical Society.

(opposite page) THE OHIOAN, HUBER HEIGHTS, OHIO. The Ohioan house model constructed by Huber Homes in 1959. Huber Homes built nearly 11,000 houses in Wayne Township, Montgomery County, beginning in 1956. (left) CHURCH OF THE INCARNATION, CENTERVILLE, OHIO. Bell tower detail, 1969. By Dayton architect William Pau Craig.

WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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THE RECENT PAST ON THE FRONT RANGE

Over the course of the past year, History Colorado’s involvement with post-World War II resources has

BY HEATHER L. BAILEY, PH.D. STATE AND NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIAN, HISTORY COLORADO

ARAPAHO HILLS HOUSE. While all of the homes within Arapaho Hills typify Usonian architecture, each property is unique. Courtesy of History Colorado.

primarily been involved with survey and nomination. While our staff continues to be active in all areas of the state, these recent past projects have all been in urban

Survey Projects

areas along the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

The majority of our survey projects are designed for local

Many of these cities have embraced the spirit of the 50-

governments to utilize the findings for planning

year guideline by not limiting their survey, planning, or

purposes, expand our statewide inventory of historic

local landmarking efforts with a strict 50-year rule. Due

properties, and assist with providing information for

to a growing interest in the survey of post-World War II

possible nominations to the State or National registers.

subdivisions, History Colorado’s Office of Archaeology

The City of Boulder completed their context and survey

and Historic Preservation (OAHP) developed a new

of their 1947-1967 residential architecture and

survey form to address the special aspects of these types

neighborhood design in ten subdivisions. While many

of resources. Form 1403b: Post-World War II Residential

towns underwent changes in the post-World War II era,

Suburban Subdivision Form, 1945-1975 became available

Boulder saw its population grow from 13,000 to 72,000

on our website in May 2010.

over the course of three decades. The housing shortages

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THE RECENT PAST ON THE FRONT RANGE created pressures that shaped how developers designed

Additionally, the context explores how changes in

neighborhoods, how architects designed houses, and

infrastructure and southward-trending sprawl reshaped

how contractors selected building materials. Jennifer

the urban core, and the impact of a community

Bryant and Carrie Schomig of TEC, Inc., completed the

emphasis on leisure had in reshaping religious and

Historic Context and Survey of Post-World War II

recreational pursuits.

Residential Architecture, Boulder for the City of Boulder by conducting both a reconnaissance survey of the

Unlike Boulder and Fort Collins, Pueblo’s industrial

subdivisions and 105 intensive surveys of individual

heritage has long defined the built environment. Over

properties. The post-war residential architecture of

the past decade, the City of Pueblo has utilized contexts

Boulder relied heavily on the ranch and split-level forms,

as a way to generate grassroots interest in neighborhood

but the survey was able to identify the trends of

heritage, often leading to local landmark nominations,

architectural styles that characterized these forms in

but also a wide variety of local public programming. As

discrete periods (such as Transitional Ranch, 1935-1955;

interest continues to grow, property owners are making

Neo-Mansard, 1960-1970; and Swiss Chalet Character

inquiries into possible State or National Register

Elements, 1955-1965). Additionally, this survey

nominations. In their most recent context project,

discussed how the large lots in these neighborhoods are

Pueblo Modern, Historitecture will examine the urban

character defining features of post-war subdivisions and

building stock from 1940-1982 (when the steel market

why changing land-use patterns (typically subdividing

crashed). This context will broaden a community

the plots) threaten the integrity of these resources.

narrative that has largely focused on early twentieth-

While the City of Boulder now has a wealth of

century industrial history. Pueblo’s identity and

information to plan for the future, this survey has

economy were dominated by Colorado Fuel & Iron

started a community-wide discussion about how

(CF&I), a company which became infamous for its role in

residents value the built environment of this era.

the 1914 Ludlow Massacre and other labor disputes. While the former CF&I steel mill (now Rocky Mountain

Further north along the Front Range, the City of Fort

Steel Mills) continues operation on a much smaller scale,

Collins is currently evaluating how the postwar period

the iconic CF&I stoves along Interstate 25 stand as

changed its built environment. Mary Therese Anstey,

landmarks to the heyday of the “Steel City” in the early

Cindy Harris, and Adam Thomas of Historitecture

twentieth century. Just as with the rest of the country,

currently have their draft under review by both SHF and

Pueblo underwent extensive socio-demographic and

the City of Fort Collins, and a finalized draft will be

economic changes after World War II. While the local

available for public review in July 2011. Fort Collins “E-X-

narrative focuses on a previous era, the cityscape has a

P-A-N-D-S”: The City’s Postwar Development, 1945-1969

more diverse story to tell, albeit still tied to the steel

uses a 1946 Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce slogan to

industry. The Steel City on the rise in the early twentieth

frame an analysis of all the ways in which the city’s built

century looked different from a postwar Pueblo in the

environment typified expansion. The city’s population

mid-century, and the Pueblo Modern context will help

doubled due to a number of factors, but much like

explore this later period of significance.

Boulder, the growth of the local university had a profound impact on other growth sectors. The context

The final highlighted survey of this past year was the CLG

explores the local character of postwar residential

-funded reconnaissance survey of Hoffman Heights in

neighborhoods, which, like Boulder, tended to consist of

Aurora. This neighborhood was one of a series that

large lots located within subdivisions on what had

community builder Sam Hoffman constructed across the

previously been farmland on the outskirts of town.

country in the early 1950s. Hoffman insisted on full WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

24


planning authority for his developments, so often built them outside of city limits, bypassing zoning restrictions. Like many of his other developments, this community was named Hoffman Town when construction began in 1950, but changed its name to Hoffman Heights after the shopping center of the same name opened in 1952. Sam Hoffman referred to himself as the “Henry Ford of the home-building business” and designed self-contained, affordable communities. Aurora’s Hoffman Heights originally included single-family residences, a school, library, fire station, park, and shopping center. The survey and context developed by Hoehn Architects P.C. for the City of Aurora included a reconnaissance survey of 1696 properties within 434 acres, and an intensive survey of 136 properties. Hoffman intended this development to provide affordable housing for veterans and therefore streamlined the costs by limiting building plans and materials. Hoehn Architects identified three house types — Deluxe Brick, Economy Frame and Shingle, and Cosmopolitan Brick —

HOFFMAN HEIGHTS RECONNAISSANCE SURVEY. Cover page of

which all included three bedrooms, and evaluated the

Hoffman Heights Reconnaissance Survey. Courtesy of History

layout of the community plan with its character-defining

Colorado.

wavy street patterns. The purpose of the survey report

and Community Planning and Development from 1915-

was to identify future planning priorities for the City of

1964 for its embodiment of the Colorado National

Aurora, but also to define the boundaries and areas of

Bank’s leadership role in the renaissance of downtown

significance for a future National Register of Historic

Denver during the post-World War II years. Additionally,

Places district nomination. The City of Aurora has

the property was listed under Criterion C in the area of

already begun discussions with district residents and

Art for the significance of Allen Tupper True’s 1921-1925

OAHP about submitting a nomination in 2011.

Indian Memories cycle of architectural murals in the main banking hall. A controversial building

National Register Nominations

architecturally, the Neo-Classical lower-half dates to

In April 2010, Denver’s locally significant Colorado

1914, while the New Formalist upper-half dates to 1964

National Bank was listed on the National Register (NRIS#

(the first design by Denver-based architects John Rogers

10000215) under Criterion A in the areas of Commerce

and Jerry Nagel).

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THE RECENT PAST ON THE FRONT RANGE COLORADO NATIONAL BANK. East corner of Colorado National Bank, Denver, Colorado. Courtesy of Diane Wray Tomasso.

The final nomination project is for Usonian-style Arapaho Hills in Littleton. While the city completed a survey and context for this resource in April 2009, they used the past year to discuss with residents next steps. This spring the city received a CLG grant to prepare a National Register district nomination for the neighborhood. Staff at OAHP is already working with the City of Littleton and preparer Diane Wray Tomasso as they create this draft. The nomination is currently on track for the October 2011 State Review Board agenda. Also in April, the 1960 Steamboat Springs Chamber of

Additionally, the City of Littleton has developed a

Commerce Building was listed on the National Register

proposal for possible design guidelines at the request of

under Criterion C for Architecture (NRIS# 08001010). An

residents.

excellent example of regional architect Eugene Sternberg’s work, the Usonian-style building

Other Activities

incorporates local materials, most notably two

The staff of OAHP also completed documentation of the

cottonwood trees that extend through both the porch

former Judicial Building and Colorado History Museum

floor and inverted gable roof. Sternberg emphasized

complex pursuant to State Register Act-required

socially involved and affordable construction, which he

mitigation prior to demolition. The property had the

incorporated into this building through donated

potential for statewide significance under Criterion A for

materials and volunteer labor.

the role of the state court system under the category of Law, the influence of statewide museum programming

Additionally, the State Review Board will be reviewing an

under Education, and the cultural contribution of artist

MPDF for the midcentury residential subdivisions in the

Angelo di Benedetto in the area of Art for his public art

metro area at the February 2011 meeting. The Historic

installation, Justice through the Ages, at the Judicial

Residential Subdivisions of Metropolitan Denver, 1945-

Building. Additionally, the complex had the potential to

1960 was written by Front Range Research Associates

be locally significant under Criterion C for the post-

and Bunyak Research Associates. The Colorado

modern interpretation of the Denver cityscape by

Department of Transportation (with the assistance of an

architect John Rogers of RNL Design. The period of

SHF grant) funded the context in order to more

significance for this complex spanned from the

effectively plan future transportation projects, as well as

groundbreaking in 1976 to its demolition in 2010. As the

inform planning and interpretation efforts by a number

complex began demolition in May 2010, it did not meet

of agencies in the Denver-metro area.

the burden of Criterion Consideration G for National Register eligibility. However, its significance under the WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

26


THE RECENT PAST ON THE FRONT RANGE previously mentioned criteria made it eligible to Colorado’s State Register of Historic Properties. When the Colorado Governor’s Office announced an architectural competition for a complex that incorporated both new judicial and state museum buildings in September 1973, they limited the competition to Colorado-based architects with the winning entry by John Rogers of RNL Design. John Rogers had made a name for himself in 1961 when he first partnered with Jerry Nagel and won a design competition for the addition to the previously mentioned Colorado National Bank, winning them the 1963 Colorado Chapter of AIA design award. Rogers, an international leader in Postmodern architecture, continued to cite the Judicial/Museum complex as his favorite design up to his death on July 12, 2010. While this iconic piece of Postmodern architecture disappeared from the Denver cityscape, the City of Aspen is attempting to save one of their New Formalist landmarks: the Given Institute. The 1972 Given Institute remains an outstanding and relatively unaltered example of architect Harry Weese’s work. It launched a legacy of regular national and international conferences for leaders in the medical science and research innovation field. Elizabeth Paepcke, who alongside her late husband Walter had worked to create the foundations of Aspen’s post-World War II architectural renaissance, sold the land for this property to the

DEMOLITION OF COLORADO HERITAGE CENTER. Final demolition of Colorado Heritage Center, east half of building already demolished. June 10, 2010. Courtesy of History Colorado.

partners to develop projects that address resources from the recent past, we fully expect to see more projects in the population-dense Front Range, but also hope to see projects from both the western mountains and eastern plains regions of the state. Currently, History Colorado has intensive surveys of cultural resources for only 7% of the state’s geographic area. As the state historic preservation office continues to collaborate with preservation partners statewide, one goal is to facilitate survey and of more recent past resources. The updated state preservation plan, The Power of Heritage and Place: A 2020 Action Plan to Advance Preservation in Colorado-Colorado Statewide Preservation Plan 2020, calls this out explicitly.

University of Colorado at less than market value for

Heather L. Bailey, Ph.D. is a State and National Register Historian with

construction of the Given Institute. When the University

the Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, History

of Colorado explored divesting themselves of the

Colorado.

property and a potential buyer made the sale contingent upon demolition of the institute, the City of Aspen began

For more information:

discussions on how to save the property in its current condition. As such, OAHP currently has on file a draft of a proposed National Register nomination for the Given Institute pending ongoing negotiations regarding the site. As History Colorado continues to work with community 27

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Recently Listed Properties http://coloradohistory-oahp.org/programareas/ register/recent.htm Example Reports http://coloradohistory-oahp.org/programareas/ infomatn/CLGreprots.htm Post-World War II Resources http://coloradohistory-oahp.org/programareas/ infoman/pwwII.htm


WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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WAVING A GREEN FLAG FOR RACE TRACK PRESERVATION

BY MELISSA A. BLEIER

Usually the mention of stock car racing brings to

these first seven races developed into the familiar

mind beer cans or jokes about left turns. Instead, it

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series of today. In the modern

should highlight a sports tradition which is almost

season NASCAR’s season brings the sport to

purely American and which is fortunate enough to

twenty-two tracks throughout the United States;

have elements of its earliest history present and

this number includes two tracks which were

active. The National Association of Stock Car

present during the founding years of the sport.

Automobile Racing (NASCAR) changed the way in

Preserving historic race tracks ensures that a

which people related to their own automobiles.

tangible connection between the history of stock

Stock car racing began to grow in popularity even

car racing and the future of the sport remain

before World War II but at the time, stock car

intact.

racing did not have a large umbrella organization to manage or coordinate the sport. Often track

In an era when a sport like baseball can demolish

owners did not have the money to keep their

its most hallowed fields, why should

facilities safe for the drivers or fans. For years,

preservationists care that a few ovals on the

stock car races were poorly organized and the

ground are without recognition? Stock car racing

rules and regulations differed from region to

has a rare and treasured distinction, some of the

region.

very first race tracks, those which helped to build the sport in its earliest years, are still present and

In December of 1947, Bill France established

active today.

NASCAR, organizing the chaotic and sometimes

29

outright dishonest world of regional stock car

If heritage race tracks are not protected, racing

racing into a nationally recognizable series. In

history becomes little more than sports trivia.

1949, NASCAR held the first Strictly Stock season;

Every sports fan knows of their sports’ legendary

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WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY, 2009. Courtesy of M. Bleier.

30


WAVING A GREEN FLAG playing fields or stadiums, but how many other sports

and successfully preserve both their respective heritage

actually play at the same field where the sport was

race track as well as racing heritage. Three of NASCAR’s

born? NASCAR each year, features races on tracks which

heritage race tracks offer three different preservation

are not only representative of the history of NASCAR and

options for race tracks. These tracks were part of the

stock car racing, they are the history stock car racing.

first season of NASCAR racing in 1949 and have been

Heritage tracks actively express both the history and

part of stock car racing’s history since.

heritage of NASCAR while maintaining a current presence in the stock car world. These are the tracks

Occoneechee Orange Speedway outside of Hillsborough,

that were active during the developing years of NASCAR,

North Carolina, was one of the first tracks to ever host a

played a role in the development of stock car culture

NASCAR race. The track was built in 1947 but shuttered

and which are still active today.

in 1968 after locals decided that racing encouraged less savory types of behavior. After the track was

Preservationists evaluate buildings as static resources;

abandoned, the natural landscape over took the racing

however, a race track is a dynamic resource. By its very

surface. The track was sold with protective covenants, to

nature, in order to remain viable as a working sport

the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust

facility, a race track is constantly maintained and

(CAHPT) in 1997. The CAHPT incorporated the race track

updated. Even the most dedicated fan of racing history

along with the surrounding forty-four acres into the

would not want to see drivers risk their lives on a track

Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail (HOST). The track

that was last paved in the 1950s; certainly, no insurance

is now part of a larger heritage trail, which winds along

company does either. Similarly, those same fans may be

the Eno River for three miles. Oconeechee Orange

reluctant to sit in fifty year old rickety wooden

Speedway is a unique contributor to a successful

grandstands during the race. Safety upgrades brings change to the heritage race track. While theses changes are necessary they are also a black mark in the preservation checklist. Unlike a building, where changes to the architectural features diminish original elements, change to a race track ensures cultural continuity by providing a safe and working heritage facility. How then, to approach race track preservation? Proactive and thoughtful methods which facilitate the heritage of the sport and allows for needed improvements offer the best solution. Today, some heritage race tracks have found solutions which may not pass the strict guidelines of traditional historic preservation but which enthusiastically 31

RPPN BULLETIN WINTER 2011

OCCONEECHEE ORANGE SPEEDWAY. Remnants of Grandstands, 2008. Courtesy of M. Bleier.


WEATHERED SIGN AT NORTH WILKESBORO SPEEDWAY, 2008. Courtesy of M. Bleier.

combination of natural conservation and cultural

days of stock car racing simply by enjoying a nature walk.

heritage preservation. The nearby historic home, Ayr

Though the track no longer hosts racing, it remains a

Mount, The Poet’s Walk and the Occoneechee

vital part of the story telling element of stock car racing

Speedway create a diverse heritage landscape.

history.

Occoneechee Orange Speedway is also one of only three race tracks listed on the National Register, and the only

In 2009, Speedway Associates, Inc., an investment group

listed track to be specifically associated with stock car

based in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, worked to

racing.

bring racing back to one of stock car racing’s most storied race tracks. North Wilkesboro Speedway was

The collaboration of heritage resources and preservation

built in 1946 when Enoch Staley decided to build a track

options at Occoneechee Speedway is an excellent

for local bootleggers to race their modified cars at.

example of the creative preservation of heritage race

Originally a dirt track, North Wilkesboro was paved in

tracks. Visitors who might not necessarily have an

1958 and quickly established a reputation for hard and

interest in racing history or culture, i.e. the visitors who

fast racing. North Wilkesboro hosted NASCAR races from

are interested in touring the historic house or simply

1949 until 1996 when changes were made to the

enjoying the nature walk; are introduced to stock car

NASCAR schedule, intending to modernize the sport.

racing’s historic presence in the area. It is a successful method of increasing the awareness and appreciation of

The track, one of the most significant grass roots tracks,

stock car racing heritage. Visitors learn about the early

was left behind while the sport attempted to grow in WWW.RECENTPAST.ORG

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WAVING A GREEN FLAG markets like southern California. In 1996, NASCAR underwent a process of realignment, a focused effort to step away from the Southern heritage and roots of the sport. Racing dates were changed and tracks lost significant dates on the racing schedule. North Wilkesboro represented some of the most significant cultural losses to the sport. Even today, drivers lament that NASCAR no longer hosts races at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Local organizations like Save the Speedway (SavetheSpeedway.net), race fans and even NASCAR drivers kept North Wilkesboro at the forefront of the

(above) NORTH WILKESBORO SPEEDWAY, 2008. Courtesy of M.

racing consciousness. After many failed attempts,

Bleier.

Speedway Associates, Inc. announced that they would

(opposite) MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY, 2009. Courtesy of M. Bleier.

lease the track for a period of three years and bring racing back to North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time in over a decade. Though the track is no longer suited for hosting NASCAR’s main Cup series, it has now hosting touring series such as USARacing Pro-Cup Series. At North Wilkesboro, the most basic goal of stock car race track preservation has been met. Race tracks do not need reuse plans or site plans that memorialize racing history, by continuing to race at the track, heritage is naturally and actively preserved. The track was not lost, even though it remained dormant for more than ten years. A continued interest in revitalizing and preserving the local racing heritage resulted in a preservation success story for North Wilkesboro Speedway. Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia is another historic track that hosted races during the first official NASCAR season. The track continues to maintain a strong and active presence in the modern NASCAR today. In 1945, H. Clay Earles plotted out and designed Martinsville Speedway. The track directly connects the present day races to those run in the past. A race at 33

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Martinsville Speedway in 2010 is a direct continuum of culture from the first races held there in 1946. Known as the Grandfather track, for both its age and its coveted trophy, a locally made grandfather clock, Martinsville Speedway represents a very important part of NASCAR’s history. Martinsville Speedway is the very embodiment of NASCAR’s growth and modernization. Martinsville Speedway is the sole active race track within NASCAR’s Cup division from 1947, the very first year of the series. In 2010, NASCAR announced plans to keep two races a season at Martinsville for the next five years. At a time when more modern facilities are being added to the regular season, NASCAR’s acknowledgement that a heritage track will remain on the schedule is a strong statement about the value of the sport’s heritage places. When it opened as a dirt track in 1947, Martinsville Speedway had seven hundred and fifty wooden seats and had just over 6,000 paying customers. Paved in 1952 and with additions and improvements almost every year, Martinsville Speedway can now seat more than


WAVING A GREEN FLAG 60,000 race fans. The changes to the physical elements

the heritage of stock car racing. Changes to the physical

of the site do not in any way diminish the unbroken

elements of the track diminish the architectural integrity

heritage time line of the race track. In fact, the grandson

but do not affect its cultural significance.

of the very man who built the track manages Martinsville Speedway today. As the President of

The preservation of historic sporting facilities is in the

Martinsville, Clay Campbell embraces the philosophy of

public eye now more than ever. Iconic stadiums are torn

his grandfather, that the track should be improved upon

down, only to be replaced by new ones literally across

each season. Martinsville Speedway stands as one of the

the street. Places of sport are more in tune with the

purest examples of the evolution of stock car racing.

preservation idea of places of the heart than many other

Open before there was even such a thing as NASCAR,

buildings types. Race tracks give the stories of NASCAR

Martinsville Speedway demonstrates how change is not

and stock car racing a place as well as a place value. It is

necessarily a negative mark when preserving an active

the races won, the drivers who battle against each other,

race track.

and the exciting finishes of the race which mark the history of the sport; but it is the places where these historic moments happen which make them significant. To watch a race at a heritage race track is to take an active part in the storytelling of stock car culture. Once these stories are removed from the actual places where they were created, the significance is lessened. These examples serve as models for approaching the built landscape of stock car racing in America and for local race track historians who are looking for ways to preserve their own heritage. Heritage race tracks encompass sports history, historic landscapes, and the importance of maintaining a continuum of culture and heritage. With that in mind, it is easy to put aside the

Requiring that heritage race tracks retain exact original

stereotypes that might follow stock car racing and

physical features would condemn these tracks, not only

instead see a positive and successful example of pro-

because of safety concerns for both drivers and fans, but

active preservation.

because an active heritage track must be able to maintain viability as a racing facility. This process

Melissa Bleier must often clarify with a smile that she means automobiles and not horses when she talks about being a race track

requires changes to the facility. Heritage tracks must be

historian. A recent graduate of Goucher College’s Historic

able to compete with newer and more modern facilities.

Preservation program, she hopes to one day see more people

This means that the facility overall must be made

appreciate stock car racing heritage. She most recently spoke at the

comfortable, functional and ADA accessible. Even with alterations, the architectural form and function of the track retains the physical aspects necessary to facilitate

2010 NASSH Conference and assisted the Helle’ Nice Foundation with their track research. She writes for a stock car racing blog 4Ever3blog.com and has her own site at HistoricRaceTracks.wordpress.com

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As with most architecture, the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park is many things to many people. Without intervention, though, it is destined to become the same thing to everyone... a cherished memory, and nothing more. In the late 1890's, the father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, designed a rather magnificent series of parks and parkways in Louisville, Kentucky. Some 110 years later, they are still one of the best features of this town and stand as a prime example of his work. As such, residents and visitors alike flock to our parks to enjoy the scenic vistas and the parks' sporting and play facilities. Louisville is, indeed, a City of Parks. 1890’s landscape design would seem to have little to do with Recent Past Preservation, but it does. As you might imagine, since the horse and buggy days of 1898, the community and its needs have changed somewhat. And as those changes have occurred, Louisville’s Parks have been updated and upgraded to reflect the ever-changing landscape of current society. Artificially manicured golf courses (directly in conflict with Mr. Olmsted's original design concept), amphitheaters, playground HOGAN’S FOUNTAIN PAVILION, WINTER 2010. Photograph by Beth Hafling.

GRASSROOTS GROUP FIGHTS TO SAVE HOGAN’S FOUNTAIN PAVILION BY TAMMY AND DARREN MADIGAN

equipment, spray grounds, swimming pools, even the most basic plumbing, electrical lighting and paving, have all been added to these parks in a necessary effort to adapt to the needs of the world we live in today. One of those changes was a spectacular picnic pavilion built near the Hogan’s Fountain area of Cherokee Park in 1964. This pavilion, originally designed by E.J. Schickli (of Tafel-Schickli Architects), was commissioned by the Parks Department when the condition of the existing facilities had fallen on such disrepair. Mr. Schickli, who had also designed the original Louisville Zoological and Botanical Gardens and the Standiford Field Airport, felt that a “TeePee” design, reflecting the park's Native

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American derived name, was appropriate. This sentiment was echoed by the approval of the public at large, city leaders and the Parks Department. Similar in design to modern architectural master Philip Johnson's Roofless Church (in New Harmony, Indiana), Mr. Schickli's Hogan's Fountain Pavilion is a modern architectural gem in our community. Perched atop scenic ‘Bonnycastle Hill’, this pavilion draws an eclectic mix of people. Frequently rented for family reunions, corporate picnics, weddings, scouting events, school field days, church revivals, non-profit organization meetings, and more, in the past 45+ years, this site has become one of the most popular outdoor venues in the city. Originally constructed with an interior fire pit, this was replaced many years ago with a ring of barbecue grills, thus affording guests the opportunity of picnicking rain or shine. In addition, this facility generates an average of $11,000 per year in revenue for the already financially -strapped Parks Department, which would be at risk if this pavilion were removed and replaced with the muchsmaller option that has been proposed.

(above) 1965 LOUISVILLE TIMES. Original construction of “wigwamshaped shelter.”

When not rented, the pavilion draws people from all walks of life due to the welcoming nature of the facility, along with nearby restrooms, parking and playground

(below-left) YOGA CLASS AT PAVILION. Photograph by Julie Keel. (below-right) BOY SCOUT TROOP AT PAVILION. Photograph by Jay Reeves.

equipment.

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HOGAN’S PAVILION Since the mid-1960’s, as the Hogan’s Fountain pavilion became one of the most recognized landmarks in Louisville, funds necessary to maintain the vast number of parks in the city, were outdistanced by the growing population. Its connection to the Cherokee Park it serves has been wellforged. While Louisville’s Olmsted Conservancy has provided invaluable benefits to the community including private fundraising, their mission is to maintain the original (1898) design and/or intent as much as possible. To that end, in 1999 when they commissioned a Master Plan for the Cherokee Park area, the replacement of the “TeePee” pavilion at Hogan’s Fountain was included. After the issue of the 1999 Master Plan, upkeep of the pavilion became nearly nonexistent. From April, 2007 to August, 2010, maintenance included the repair of two grills inside the pavilion. Consequently, the wood shake shingles covering the grandiose roof have fallen to a severely poor condition, thus exposing the structural beams to rain and snow. In the spring of 2010, a small, but very motivated, group

deemed it more fiscally-responsible to replace the

of pavilion-restoration supporters banded together to

structure (which they have deemed “inconsistent

try to preserve this unique site. Meetings with Parks

with the 1898 design”) than to repair the roof. Being

Department Director, Mike Heitz, resulted in the delay of

more motivated, the grassroots group was able to locate

any removal or replacement of the pavilion, IF private

a reputable contractor who reviewed the condition of

funds could be raised to repair the iconic structure.

the roof and agreed to donate the labor and forego any mark-up on materials, for a total repair cost of

The Olmsted Conservancy, not bound by the City’s

$82,000. At that point, fundraising to Save the Hogan’s

purchasing requirements, received one bid, in the

Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park began.

amount of $148,500 for the repair of the roof, and thus 37

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HOGAN’S PAVILION Without more attention to this situation, further damage (related to the untended roof condition) is a very real possibility. With so many admirers both in Louisville and beyond, it’s difficult to believe that this beautiful architectural structure could actually be in danger of being removed from the landscape of this community. But if funds are not raised, or if public officials do not step in, that is exactly what will happen to this modern historical masterpiece. In fact, renderings reflecting the replacement have already been drawn. The Save the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion in Cherokee Park group is currently working towards officially having the pavilion designated as a Louisville Landmark, working to have this site included in the National Historic Trust Foundations 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites of 2011, and competing in the Reader’s Digest WE HEARYOU AMERICA campaign. Supporters can join in and CHEER for Louisville, KY and the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion. If successful, this campaign could provide much needed funds for the restoration efforts. You can find more about the Reader’s Digest campaign here (http:// wehearyouamerica.readersdigest.com/) HOGAN’S FOUNTAIN PAVILION. Showing roof condition. Photograph by Sarah Little.

and more about the grassroots preservation group and their continued efforts here (www.tinyurl.com/SaveTheTeepee).

Various fundraisers, including benefit concerts and tshirt sales, have had some success, but publicizing the urgent status has been the major benefit, as supporters continue to join the cause and Louisville Metro

Please help the citizens of Louisville, Kentucky preserve this endangered site before it is too late. Don't let this majestic structure become just a memory.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh has offered a matching

Tammy and Darren Madigan are local activists spearheading the

grant for the next $5000 raised!

effort to save the historic pavilion at Hogan’s Fountain.

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Recent Past Preservation Network www.recentpast.org www.facebook.com/RecentPastPreservationNetwork www.twitter.com/r_p_p_n Questions, comments, ideas? Interested in writing a story for a future issue of the RPPN Bulletin? Contact us today! newsletter@recentpast.org 39

RPPN BULLETIN WINTER 2011


Recent Past Preservation Network Bulletin - Winter 2011