Friday, December 29, 2006

BCon Blog Featured on Fixer-Upper Blog

Many thanks to Mindy at the central New York-based houseblog Fixer-Upper for featuring and linking to us (and Troy) in her December 20th post "Go pro--get a degree." In addition to information about our program, she includes several beautiful historic postcards of Troy and links to a number of Troy resources; we hope you will check it out.

Mindy is an alum of RPI's fascinating and cutting edge Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication program and, as mentioned in our December 19th post, is rehabilitating an historic home in central New York with her husband, Teague. Not surprisingly, Mindy's web and blogging skills are far greater than mine, her posts are a pleasure to both ear and eye, and she is very much in tune with the social networking possibilities of blogging and similar technologies.

Some of her eclectic and amusing recent posts describe having a clawfoot tub refinished, selecting color schemes for a bathroom (complete with examples of colors, furniture, shower curtain, etc.), hilarious photos and comments regarding cute dogs in Christmas outfits, and the all-too-common frustrations of having time off and not making as much progress on a home improvement project as you thought you would or could! We've all been there and you will enjoy following Mindy's and Teague's progress. Fixer-Upper also has tons of great before and after photographs for "house voyeurs," descriptions of many completed projects, and links to other house blogs and resources. Thanks again, Mindy.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Updated Building Conservation Program Web Site Launched

The Building Conservation program's updated web site went live today. It is still a work in progress and has some rough edges, but it provides much more information about the program than was previously available. It will be refined with additional navigation and content in the weeks to come.

The URL is:

Students, faculty, alumni, and friends, please share this information with anyone who may be interested!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

End of Semester, Christmas/New Year Break, Historic Preservation Blogs

Building conservation students completed final classes and exams last weekend and have now dispersed for an approximately one month break. Classes will resume Friday, January 12th, so until then, blog postings may be nonexistant or more infrequent than usual.

We do want to wish everyone a fantastic holiday, however they choose to observe or celebrate it, and we look forward to the coming semester.

In the meantime, in the event our students and other readers have some blog reading time, we thought we would call attention to other historic preservation, building rehabilitation, and history blogs that may be of interest. We do this because we think others will find them as interesting as we do, but also to show other examples of how preservationists are using blogs as an information sharing and communication tool. We hope that you, our readers, will share your own preservation blog discoveries with us; feel free to notify us using the comment function below this post.

As far as we have been able to discover, the number of preservation (and related) blogs is still fairly small. Here are a few we like, in no particular order:

--My Hometown Ohio, the "online magazine for Ohio's preservation and revitalization community."

--Fixer-Upper, an online journal that tracks the progress of a web designer and her contractor husband as they rehabilitate their 1890s Victorian Italianate house in central New York.

--Historic Districts Council Newsstand, "an open forum featuring news, events and alerts (and even the occasional report) from New York City's preservation community - collected and posted by the Historic Districts Council, the citywide advocate for New York's historic neighborhoods.", a combination web site/blog that presents "a collection of historic preservation-related news and information gathered from a wide variety of sources across the Los Angeles area and throughout Southern California."

--Brownstoner (Brooklyn inside and out), which describes itself as having "an unhealthy obsession with historic Brooklyn brownstones and the neighborhoods and lifestyles they define."

--Save Our Sarasota, a blog about "preserving Sarasota's [Florida] quality of life."

--The Gowanus Lounge, "musings and photos about life and real estate development in post-industrial Brooklyn and New York City."

--CECPP (Citizen's Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation), a blog developed by a group that recently organized "to save New York's architectural heritage by demanding that the Landmarks Preservation Commission perform its legal mandate by upholding the landmarks law."

We will add other blogs as they are discovered and time allows, and may eventually add a "blog roll" to the sidebar at right. However, please note, that inclusion here does not reflect endorsement: these blogs are presented for informational purposes only.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Main Street/Downtown Program Links Added to Blog Sidebar

We recently added links to the Main Street and downtown revitalization organizations and programs for northeast and midatlantic states to the blog sidebar (right hand side; scroll down to view). "Main Street" refers to a program piloted by Building Conservation program adjunct professor and friend Norman Mintz in Corning, New York, and subsequently adopted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It is essentially a community-based, grass-roots, downtown revitalization strategy based on the four key points of Design, Organizing, Promotion, and Economic Restructuring. We will be following the Main Street approach in our spring Preservation Design Studio, when we will focus on improvements to the upper Congress Street corridor.

For additional information about the Main Street program, visit the National Trust Main Street Center or any of the statewide or city sites we have added to the sidebar.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stay Informed With NPS Heritage News

Heritage News, the National Park Service's monthly e-newsletter, reports on topics including grant opportunities, new laws or policies, events, and activities of interest to the national heritage community. It is emailed to anyone requesting a subscription; to subscribe, go to:, or read it online at

Regular features include National Register statistics, preservation tax credit approvals, grants, conferences, training, publications, heritage in the news, on the hill, and milestones. Each issue has numerous brief articles with links to sources for additional information.

Suggestions of news or calendar items may be sent to News items should be no longer than 200 words and all items should include contact information and websites.

The National Park Service also publishes CRM: The Journal of Heritage Stewardship twice each year. It is available by subscription and can be read online at Back issues are also available online at

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Historic Preservation Jobs (New York)

Thanks to Building Conservation alumna Elisabeth Bakker-Johnson ('02), Lorraine Weiss of the Preservation League of NYS, and Kim Alvarez of Landmark Consulting and the Capital Region Preservation Network, we have recently learned of two New York-based preservation job openings that may be of interest to students, alumni, and other readers:

1. Historic Albany Foundation, a preservation nonprofit in Albany, NY, is seeking a part-time Technical Services Coordinator to provide technical services, develop programming, and administer and work on projects in the City of Albany. The Technical Services Coordinator reports to the Executive Director. Qualifications: Bachelor's Degree, Masters (preferred) in historic preservation, architectural history, or architecture with preservation experience; 3-5 years of practical experience in historic preservation can be substituted. Excellent communication skills and previous experience with the public; technical background a must. Salary based on 20 hours per week; pro-rated benefits. Position open until filled. Interested candidates should send a resume with references to; fax (518) 463-2704 or via mail: HAF, 472 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY 12208. See Historic Albany Foundation for full job ad.

2. Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the regional, nonprofit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park, is seeking a Program Director who will work in conjunction with other AARCH staff and appropriate board committee members. Applicants should have: degree in historic preservation or a closely related field; graduate degree preferred; two years experience in the historic preservation field; program experience is preferred; a demonstrated ability to plan, administer, and execute complex programs with great attention to detail; excellent writing, research, and communication skills; knowledge of Adirondack history and architecture is desirable; computer skills are required. For more information, contact Steven Engelhart, Executive Director, (518) 834-9328, and visit the Adirondack Architectural Heritage website.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Participate in Dutch Farmstead Survey

The Dutch Farmstead Survey is looking for volunteers to "hunt down" and catalog all Dutch and Dutch-influenced buildings in the former New Netherland colony. The survey is funded in part by the Kellogg Foundation and "aims to record all known -- and particularly unknown -- buildings in a new central database that is thorough, consistent, and accessible to all researchers.

The project will be carried out by volunteers who either know their area's history or who want to know more, and would enjoy spending an afternoon or two exploring their countryside. Volunteers are needed for:

-- combing the countryside for buildings
-- recording on-site information (like styles and dimensions)
-- conducting research to locate old buildings through the archives and other records
-- completing forms for known buildings
-- training sessions

For more information, contact survey coordinator Steve Jones at or 518.381.1826 (snail mail 1077 Wendell Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12308). You can also visit

Friday, December 01, 2006

Historic Preservation and Neighborhood Revitalization in Troy's Pottery District

Please accept our apologies for the relatively long delay between posts. We have been distracted by mid-term grading, Thanksgiving travels, and winding up the semester.

However, classes are in session again this weekend, with the students attending Industrial Archeology this morning and Building Conservation this afternoon. Since the semester is winding down, our Friday evening session will mainly be social, and will be held at the Pumpkin House, the recently restored, National Register of Historic Places listed Federal home of Building Conservation program friend and historic Pottery District founder Carl Erickson. Three of the Building Conservation program's professors also live in the Pottery District, which is located at the southern edge of historic downtown Troy at the northern end of Little Italy.

The Pottery District is a great living laboratory for studying neighborhood revitalization, and, as in past years, we will hear about its founding and revitalization, an effort that has been going on since the mid-1990s, when Carl purchased and began restoring 180 Fourth Street with his father (before and after facade photos shown above). When the restoration work was well under way, he began holding pot luck dinners to show off his progress and working hard to attract new property owners and residents to occupy and rehabilitate surrounding buildings. Within a very short time, seven neighborhood houses were purchased and rehabilitated, with several new owners coming from outside Troy. Based on the neighborhood's history, the group christened themselves the Pottery District, and began advertising additional homes and reinforcing the neighborhood "brand" by developing t-shirts, sweat shirts, posters announcing work in progress, banners, and product labels for honey produced in neighborhood hives.

Tomorrow the students will once again travel by train to New York City, where they will meet at the offices of Building Conservation Associates and continue to the conservation labs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Following exams two weeks from now, there will be no classes until Friday, January 12th.