David Murrell on everything that’s not being done for the Philadelphia birthplace of the United States:
See the Curbed article on Virginia Savage McAlester, the author of A Field Guide to American Houses. A revised version of the encyclopedic classic came out a few years ago, and McAlester is now planning a field guide to commercial buildings.
The Merchants National Bank building in Grinnell, Iowa, also known as the Jewel Box, was designed by famed architect Louis Sullivan late in his career and built in 1914. Used as a bank for over 80 years, it now serves as the visitors’ center for the town. The building is a National Historic Landmark and part of the Grinnell Historic Commercial District.Continue reading “Louis Sullivan’s Jewel Box in Grinnell”
The Mercer Cemetery in Trenton, NJ, was created in the 1840s. There were few new internments after the 1930s. Unlike the Riverview Cemetery, which is still active, no one has been buried in Mercer since 1973. In the 1990s, the city spruced up the cemetery, but it became neglected, landscaping and maintenance was deferred, and conditions within the cemetery deteriorated. Fortunately, Trenton is now looking to rehabilitate the Mercer cemetery, beginning with a recent volunteer cleanup effort.
There are over 150 houses within the Van Wyck Brooks historic district, ranging in age from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s. Here are just a few of them.
What does concrete block want? Probably a sympathetic and historically accurate restoration.
Louis Kahn is considered one of the most important architects of the twentieth century, but his early career was unremarkable. When Kahn was about fifty, he traveled through Italy, Greece, and Egypt. The ancient architecture he studied there transformed him, and when he returned to the United States, one of the first buildings he designed was the Trenton Bath House, one component of the Trenton Jewish Community Center. This unassuming structure, completed in 1957, is a landmark in Modernism and marks a turning point in Kahn’s design vision, and in twentieth century architecture.Continue reading “Modernism and Louis Kahn’s Trenton Bath House”
These three small houses are located along the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Trenton, where movable bridges formerly crossed the canal. Houses were provided so the bridgetenders were always available to swing the bridge out of the way as a canal barge passed through.
The Hanover Street house was renovated when Thomas Edison State College built the large building that partially surrounds it. The Calhoun Street house appears to be stabilized, while the Prospect Street house looks occupied.
Philemon Dickinson, called “one of the truest patriots of the revolution” by historian William Stryker, was from a wealthy family that owned land in several states, but he chose to establish a country estate, which he called the Hermitage, at a site outside the town of Trenton, New Jersey. He bought the property, which included a house and barns, in July of 1776.
Not long after he bought the property, Hessian troops seized the building and established a picket there, which guarded the approach to Trenton from the north. Dickinson, who was a general in the New Jersey militia, was stationed across the river in Yardley, where he could observe the Hessians occupying his home. After crossing the Delaware on Christmas night, American troops marched past the Hermitage on their way to Trenton, driving the Hessians before them. General Dickinson, still stationed in Yardley, contributed to the effort by ordering the artillery to shell his own home; fortunately for his real estate, the effect was mostly symbolic.
Around 1934, a New Jersey man bought a trolley car and turned it into a home. Over the years, the trolley was hidden as the owners expanded the house around it. Now, the newest owners are tearing down the house to preserve the trolley car. Mystery of trolley car unearthed from N.J home solved. Now it’s headed for restoration
Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America is James Fallows and Deborah Fallows take on American towns that are surviving or thriving.
The focus on dense, walkable, multimodal urbanism, regardless of the size of the city or town, was a common feature of areas the Fallows felt were bouncing back. Many cities are taking advantage of their 19th-century building stock, investing in historic preservation and adaptive reuse. They’re also adding art and music spaces, showcasing how small-town urbanism is alive and well.