Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Clarity in the Aftermath

Eventually, after getting to settle into my host site, things became obvious. I hope that my fellow Ohio History Corps members are finding their host sites equally hospitable and educational.
I am located at the Cleveland Landmarks Commission. My priority to facilitating historic inventory surveys on several areas; Tremont South and Shaker Square. I will be revisiting existing National Register nominations, and I will be providing a fresh take on mid-20th century buildings.
There is a unique stance between my organizations. For example, the Ohio Historical Society is pushing for the recent past survey, which makes sense because they are looking at the developing need for such. While Cleveland needs both proper historic properties examined and the recent past.
The urgency in Cleveland are demolitions. Yes, demolitions are typically a preservationists urgency, but in this post-housing crisis fallout there are more than a thousand properties on the list. The extreme vacancy rate paired with the stagnant housing market is leaving more and more properties in disrepair. Extreme sections of the City appear empty, and landmark property is at a crucial pivot.
Mid-20th Century properties are largely at jeopardy. This October a unique property on Carnegie Avenue, the former Brunswick Florist Building, was demolished. Ironically, this post-modern building was demolished for a historic property in renovation, the Tudor Arms, to have parking space.
It is funny that in this climate a historic property would be able to wager such a venture, but it does show that our understanding of building stock is limited. We have grown to value our "historic" assets over the last fifty- years-or-so, but somehow this has created a disparity between our value of other building stock.
The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation state that a historic property must be fifty years or older or be substantially unique. In terms of preservation, it does make sense to wage a time-buffer surrounding a property, but this shouldn't limit interested preservationists to only thinking about Victorian properties. It is true that not all preservationists think this way, but what is shown by the demolition of a post-modern building that our modern building stock are highly disposable (materials, design).
We need to become more weary of this condition, because our cultural tendency, to over-develop, is one huge cause of our house/economic crisis.
It has become apparently clear to me that I want to continually grow as a person, preservationist, and community member. In order to do so, I have to become further engaged, and challenge myself to stay active.
One of the bits on CSU's College Radio Station,WCSB, states that the more you know the less you like it, but this simply isn't true. Since, the more you know the more you can change how you think.

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