Tag Archives: Historic Preservation

FRANCES PAYNE BOLTON’S “PLACE” IN PRESERVATION

For Women's History month, celebrate Ohioan Frances Payne Bolton, historic preservation and environmental conservation advocate.

For Women’s History month, celebrate Ohioan Frances Payne Bolton, historic preservation and environmental conservation advocate.

Meghan O’Connor of the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently reported “only 8% of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places embody underrepresented communities, including women.”[i]

Women, however, are approximately half the nation’s population. Further, they have historically been integral in promoting preservation of historic sites at the national level as well as state and local levels.

American women have historically asked questions about their role, their “place,” in American society as well as American history. We would do well to also ask with increasing vigor about women’s “place” in preservation and at historic sites. These are the most noticeable, nonverbal cues about our cultural values and legacy that we can offer to our population.

And so, in the spirit of introducing one woman’s “place” in preservation, I ask: What do former Ohio Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton and our first President George Washington have in common besides public service in national politics?

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Historic Preservation alumna Jessica R. Wobig ’13 to present at national conference

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As the premier educational and networking event for those who are committed to saving places, the 2014 National Preservation Conference, PastForward, pushes new frontiers in programming, outreach and engagement with robust opportunities for onsite, online and virtual experiences.

Held in Savannah, Ga., Nov 11-14, PastForward features in-depth Learning Labs, on the ground exploration through Field Studies, Intensive Workshops and live demonstrations, films and exhibits in the Preservation Studio. In addition, TrustLive, live streamed, marquee presentations that explore preservation through new lenses including sustainability, Generation Y, aging, climate change and technology, will engage new audiences and attract a virtual audience from around the country, and the globe.

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Votes for Women on Trial

susan-b-anthonyVotesForWomen2On June 17-18, 1873, pioneering feminist Susan B. Anthony stood trial. The previous November, Anthony led a group of women who attempted to exercise their rights as citizens by voting in the presidential election in Rochester, New York.  Since voting for women was then considered illegal, Anthony was arrested on the charge of “criminal voting,” tried the following June, then fined $100, which she refused to pay.

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Celebrate a Monumental Act on June 8

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What do starry skies, a rising monolith, Teddy Roosevelt, and a revolutionary federal act have in common this June 8th?

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Choosing Preservation: a major decision

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“Historic preservation was something I knew I could be passionate about and love working with.

By Sarah Rosso, Historic Preservation major

Choosing a college major is hard enough, but how would you feel if when you finally made your decision no one supported you? My friends and family were wary of my decision and probably would have been more accepting if I had chosen a more typical, “reliable” major like business or nursing. Your college education has nothing to do with your family members opinions and it is the first step to adulthood independence. The only person you should worry about liking your field of study is you. I chose to be a historic preservation major after years of evolving interests in high school.

Historic preservation was something I knew I could be passionate about and love working with, but I really knew little about it. However, that’s a chance you have to take when going to college. No matter how much you research schools, programs, careers, etc. there is no way of knowing what will be the best fit for you, and that’s ok! After my first year of college I have grown and changed a lot personally, so it only makes sense that students change their majors so commonly- because people change. Once you start taking classes it will be clearer to see what you like best, and if you find that you are in the wrong major, changing isn’t hard.

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Preservationists reading the cultural landscape

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What was originally the tallest building on Public Square?  What is NOW the tallest building on Public Square?  What does that suggest about the changing function of Public Square and the changing values of the community?

By Karl Brunjes, M.A. Candidate, Historic Preservation

For those of us who are interested in Historical Preservation, old things seem to catch our attention. Almost always it is a structure of some type. As a student, we are taught to look beyond just the structure or the area in which it is located. We need to see the structure in its environment and then break it down into parts. “Reading the cultural landscape” helps with understanding the nature of cities and neighborhoods and the changes that have occurred through the passage of time and the effects on the people that live there.

With the detailed architecture of the older buildings, they stand out from modern design. In some cases, you can see decades of architecture from building to building as you walk along city streets. Now you have your sense of place. Now that you know where you are, today’s technology will allow you to take the next step: A sense of time.

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This Place Matters: Preservation Research in Cleveland

 

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by Tara Smith, M.A. candidate, Historic Preservation

I have lived in the Northeast Ohio area almost my entire life. Trips to Cleveland were kind of a special event but I was stunned when we visited the Cleveland Public Library for a Historic Preservation field trip and realized that I had been missing out on a beautiful piece of the city. For those of you who have never seen the CPL from the outside or inside, I highly recommend it for either your future scholarly needs or just to experience a gem of Cleveland history and architecture.

The CPL now consists of two buildings, the first of which was built in 1925 as part of the Group Plan to develop the area of downtown Cleveland. The Beaux Arts architectural style has many beautiful details and shows how influential and thriving the city of Cleveland used to be. I, as well as other historic preservationists, believe that these buildings must be protected and their legacies maintained.

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Historic Preservation: La Dolce Vita

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By Ashley Hardison, Historic Preservation M.A. Candidate

In a neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland you can find a pocket of history and heritage linking the Italian culture to America, and they call it Little Italy. It’s a small neighborhood but they hold strong to tradition. The architecture shows Italian influence it the buildings, the color choices, and the decorations of the neighborhood. Populations and buildings have grown and adapted over time, but if you pay attention you can still see the true ethnic wonder that was and is Little Italy.

The influence of Italian architecture can be seen throughout Little Italy but most prominently in the construction of the Holy Rosary Church. Holy Rosary Church was built in 1892,[1] and Italian architecture can be seen in the use of brick as well as keystone arches over the windows and doors. The Church is the tallest and most prominent building as well as being centered in the neighborhood. Italians hold strongly to religion with local saints and feast days a very important part of village life.[2]

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Ursuline Historic Preservation students Heather Fisher, Rachael Toth, and Mary Ogle visited Union Chapel when Rachael decided to adopt the structure for her National Register nomination project and her M.A. thesis.

Equal Rights for All! Taxation Without Representation is Tyranny!

The readers of the weekly Geauga Republican may have been surprised when they opened their November 13, 1872, edition and saw the above headlines in bold print.  This was one of the opening local salvos in what became a national campaign for women’s right to vote.  It was a battle fought over several centuries, not only in Congress and state capitols, but also on our main streets and in our backyards here in Northeastern Ohio.  These grassroots initiatives were just as vital as national efforts to ensure the 1920 ratification of our 19th Amendment granting women suffrage.

Union Chapel in South Newbury, Geauga County, Ohio, bears silent witness to the struggle and commitment of local women to gain this most basic of our rights.  The structure, also known locally as the “freedom of speech chapel” and “cradle of women’s rights” chapel, is now on the National Register of Historic Places because of considerable research and bureaucratic navigational efforts by Rachael Toth during her years as a graduate student in Ursuline’s Historic Preservation program.

Ursuline’s Historic Preservation students Rachael Toth, Heather Fisher, and Mary Ogle collect acorns from the Centennial Oak in South Newbury.

Ursuline’s Historic Preservation students Rachael Toth, Heather Fisher, and Mary Ogle collect acorns from the Centennial Oak in South Newbury.

Ursuline Historic Preservation students Heather Fisher, Rachael Toth, and Mary Ogle visited Union Chapel when Rachael decided to adopt the structure for her National Register nomination project and her M.A. thesis.

Ursuline Historic Preservation students Heather Fisher, Rachael Toth, and Mary Ogle visited Union Chapel when Rachael decided to adopt the structure for her National Register nomination project and her M.A. thesis.

Built ca. 1858 and dedicated to free speech by local community members, Union Chapel became the home of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club, an organization that reached across Northeastern Ohio for membership and message.

Mother/daughter team activists Ruth and Ellen Munn as well as Dr. Julia Green met with others in theNortheastern Ohio Health and Dress Reform Association to discuss the “knotty problem” of suffrage, as the Geauga Democrat referred to it on October 18, 1871. And they had attempted to vote, an incident the Geauga Democrat had recorded in its 18 October 1871 edition, saying:

Election in this place passed off quietly, although there was a

considerable excitement in consequence of nine ladies having

the independence and moral courage to present themselves at

the polls, and demand their right to vote.

This may have been the first time women attempted to vote in Newbury, but it was not the last and the local newspapers recorded each attempt, especially when the intrepid suffragists braved Geauga’s slush and snow.

On November 13, 1872, the Geauga Republican noted that

Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather, fourteen women

citizens presented themselves at the polls in this town yesterday,

and asked the privilege of exercising their right of suffrage.

And on April 16, 1873, the editor of the Geauga Republican reported,

At the recent election … notwithstanding the almost impassable

condition of the roads, fourteen women were present to indicate

their desire to exercise their natural and inalienable right to

franchise  [vote]…. many more, who were unable to attend manifested

their interest in the cause by signing and sending in, by friends,

ballots to be deposited in the box.  The judges were courteous

and gentlemanly…. declining to receive the proffered votes.

After all, women had not been granted the right to vote in the original Constitution or any of the subsequent amendments.  So how could the judges accept those votes?

Can you imagine the conversations at afternoon tea and after church and perhaps even over the back fences as the women hung their wash out to dry in the summer sun?  Something more must be done.  But what?

The Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club was the result and on January 21, 1874, the Geauga Republican published an article on the clubs’ January 12 founding at Union Chapel, complete with a constitution that called for the members to use newspaper articles, tracts, lectures, discussions, and “all legitimate instrumentalities, to aid in placing woman on a pecuniary, social, and political equality with a man.”

Julia moved to Newbury, Ohio, at the age of 14, having been born in nearby Mantua.  She was a founding member and corresponding secretary of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club.  Dr. Greene died in 1925 and is buried in Welton Cemetery in Burton, Ohio.These women had learned from earlier generations and other social reform movements about the power of marshalling forces and spreading the word.  On July 15, the Geauga Republican reported that the suffragists held their first Suffrage Convention with inspirational and educational elements supplied by Sarah B. Chase, M.D., of Cleveland and General Alvin C. Voris of Akron as well as rousing celebration music provided by the Newbury Glee Club and the Mantua Cornet Band.

In celebration of our nation’s 100 year birthday, on July 4, 1876, the club members planted a white oak, today known as the Centennial Oak, across from the chapel, burying under its roots a time capsule with copies of their constitution, list of founding members, and initial minutes.

These suffragists continued to publish articles and minutes in the newspapers, to send members to other organizations to promote collaborations, and to host speakers, even such national figures as Susan B. Anthony.  On March 14, 1879, the Geauga Leader reported

We were highly entertained recently by a lecture of Susan B. Anthony

on woman suffrage…. Union Hall [Chapel] was crowded both evenings by

intelligent audiences, who listened for two hours each evening with

close attention.  The work she has done here must make a lasting

impression, and we fondly hope will awaken many to serious action

in the reforms which are so needed.

The work of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club must, indeed, have made an impression.  On November 8, 1917, the Geauga County Record cited that 1320 had voted in favor of suffrage with only 908 against in an article entitled “County Declares in Favor of Suffrage.”

A few years later, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment, prohibiting any U.S. citizen from being denied the right to vote on the basis of sex, was ratified.   And in 1971, the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate that achievement and build awareness of continuing efforts for full equality for women.

Those awareness initiatives must continue, even though women will celebrate a century of voting privileges in 2020.  (Not so far away, is it?  And won’t it lend itself to all sorts of phrases along the lines of “hindsight being 20-20….?”).

Daughter of local reformer Ruth Munn, Ellen Munn was a founding member and recording secretary of both the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club and the Northern Ohio Women’s Dress Reform Movement.  A well-known Bloomer girl, she is reputed to have regularly worn bloomers under her dress, protesting against the confinement of women’s fashions. Historic preservation efforts will help, on both national and local fronts.  The Women’s Rights National Historic Park, operated by the National Park Service in Seneca Falls, New York, preserves the story and place of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls in 1848.  And here at home, the Geauga Park District is building on the work provided by our own Rachael Toth to preserve and interpret the efforts of the reformers who headquartered in South Newbury’s Union Chapel.

And so Election Day looms before us.  We now have the ability to influence our communities by actively using our voting privileges.  But this first Tuesday in November should also be recognized as an opportune moment to reflect on the importance of our right to vote and to remember those who fought to achieve and guarantee that all citizens could participate in this way in their own self-government.

Ellen Munn  (1833-1908)

Daughter of local reformer Ruth Munn, Ellen Munn was a founding member and recording secretary of both the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club and the Northern Ohio Women’s Dress Reform Movement.  A well-known Bloomer girl, she is reputed to have regularly worn bloomers under her dress, protesting against the confinement of women’s fashions.

Dr. Julia Green  (8 May 1847 – 26 March 1925)

Julia moved to Newbury, Ohio, at the age of 14, having been born in nearby Mantua.  After graduating from the Cleveland Homeopathic College, she practiced medicine and married Apollos D. Green.  She was a founding member and corresponding secretary of the Newbury Woman Suffrage Political Club.  Dr. Green died in 1925 and is buried in Welton Cemetery in Burton, Ohio.

Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D., is the Director of Historic Preservation at Ursuline College.

Fall is a “Grape” Time of Year for Adaptive Reuse: South River Vineyard

Does anything smell better this time of year than the aroma of grapes ripening on twisty vines in the autumn sun?  If that appeals to you, I can highly recommend a country drive down Route 307, South River Road, and South Ridge Road along the borders of Geauga and Lake Counties into Ashtabula County.

Route 307 on the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail

Route 307 on the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trai

The drive itself is a feast for the senses.  The crisp fall breezes carry the scent of the grapes as you follow the winding roads over gently rolling hills past vineyards and forests.  If your car is a quiet one, you’ll enjoy the serenading of the songbirds and peepers amid strains of live music (all kinds!) wafting on the wind on weekend evenings.

There are some truly delicious grape juices and several dozen vineyards on this, our own Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail.  Did you know that “northeast Ohio boasts more wineries per square mile than in any other region,” including over half of Ohio’s winegrape acreage?  (“Ohio Wine Producers”)   And that the “largest number of wineries are located in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties?”  (“Ohio Wines”).  Many of those wineries are open to the public with indoor and outdoor seating that allows visitors to enjoy pastoral settings as well as delicious meals, snacks, and beverages.

My favorite wineries just happen to be in older structures (surprise, surprise!  The greenest building is the one that is already built) that have been creatively and beautifully adapted to encourage visitors to sit a spell and enjoy the company of good friends, tasty food, and the tranquility of rural surroundings.

One winery in particular provokes many questions about how one feels about the original intended use of a structure versus adaptation to new uses.

South River Vineyard's winery in a Methodist Episcopal Church

South River Vineyard’s winery in a Methodist Episcopal Church

At South River Vineyard, a lovely, traditional white clapboard Methodist Episcopal Church perches quietly atop a hill overlooking acres of vines and woods.  This 1892 church, long since abandoned at its original site, was moved from Shalersville to its current home on South River Road then carefully converted so that much of the exterior and interior architectural integrity remains.

 

 

 

 

Interior of the winery at South River Vineyard

Interior of the winery at South River Vineyard

 

On your visit you can still enjoy the colorful stained glass windows and rich patina of the original wooden floors, pews and wainscoting.  Where the pulpit was once located, you will find double glass doors that open onto a veranda featuring Greek columns and a view of the vineyard beyond.  There’s also a beautiful stone fireplace for chilly fall evenings.

A view of the vineyards from the winery at South River Vineyards

A view of the vineyards from the winery at South River Vineyards

Many of the wines here are even aptly named for the setting – Creation, Exodus, Trinity and Temptation.  (“South River Vineyard”).

As much as I enjoy this setting, it does make me wonder what the members of that original congregation, the ones who contributed their time and treasure to build a church for their community, would think of this newest use?  Would they be happy that the structure they labored to construct had found a new life (and a valued one, judging by the number of people who visit regularly)?  Or would they be saddened?  After all, Methodist congregations historically supported temperance movements and abstinence from alcohol.

How do we define “appropriate” and how do our life experiences influence that definition?Are there “appropriate” ways to reuse sacred space once a congregation dwindles and the structure is abandoned?  The National Trust for Historic Preservation addresses some of these issues in its “”Ten on Tuesday” series with two segments on “How to Preserve Places of Worship.”

Or is it enough that the building be used sensitively and as a positive contribution to the community?

What benefits can wineries such as South River bring to a community?  Well, there’s the obvious – a gathering place for friends and families.  Ohio wineries also help limit urban/suburban sprawl and preserve rural green space by putting farmland back into agricultural production. And the economic impact is considerable, especially in rural areas.  In 2008, the impact of wine and grapes on the Ohio economy totaled $528.8 million.  (MKF Research LLC 2010, 2-3)

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South River Vineyard is a very successful adaptive reuse of a structure that would likely have been demolished had the vineyard owner not inquired about it, then been given the structure with the proviso that it be dismantled and moved.

 

 

Adaptive reuse is a serious strategy for environmental responsibility.  “Every year, approximately 1 billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced with new construction in the United States…. The Brookings Institution projects that some 82 billion square feet of existing space will be demolished and replaced between 2005 and 2030 – roughly one-quarter of today’s existing building stock.”  (Preservation Green Lab/National Trust for Historic Preservation 2011, ix)  Savings as a result of reuse can be significant, ranging “between 4 and 46 percent over new construction when comparing buildings with the same energy performance level…. Moreover, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process.”  (Preservation Green Lab/National Trust for Historic Preservation 2011, vi)

There are plenty of examples of adaptive reuse to enjoy on the Lake Erie Vines and Wines Trail – a barn, a mill, a firehouse, a fruit stand.  Just a little pondering as I wander these beautiful back roads and smell the grapes of autumn.

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Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D., is the Director of Historic Preservation at Ursuline College.

Sources:

MKF Research LLC, . The Economic Impact of Wine and Winegrapes on the State of Ohio 2008: A Study Commissioned by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee. St. Helena, California: Frank, Rimerman and Co., 2010. http://www.tasteohiowines.com/downloads/pdfs/OhioEconomicImpactofWineandWinegrapes2008_FINAL.pdf (accessed September 9, 2013).

“Ohio Wine Producers Association.” http://www.ohiowines.org/cgi-bin/winery.pl?xe (accessed September 9, 2013).

“Ohio Wines: Love at First Sip.”  http://www.tasteohiowines.com/default.aspx (accessed September 9, 2013).

Preservation Green Lab/National Trust for Historic Preservation, . The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse. National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2011. http://www.preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communities/green-lab/lca/The_Greenest_Building_lowres.pdf (accessed September 9, 2013).

“South River Vineyard.”  http://www.southrivervineyard.com (accessed September 9, 2013).

“Ten on Tuesday: How to Preserve Places of Worship, part 1.” http://blog.preservationnation.org/tag/place-type/

“Ten on Tuesday: How to Preserve Places of Worship, part 2.” http://blog.preservationnation.org/tag/place-type