When it comes to historic preservation weaknesses, I have a few (ie, many). And right up at the top of the list are plan books. These historical publications may have covered contemporary house plans, painting palettes, or more esoteric subjects such as cast iron storefronts. As an example, Sears was going all out during the first half of the 20th century, hawking their “Honor-Bilt” homes in their ubiquitous catalogs.
I love perusing these plan books because they provide great insight on what people were building or using, and can provide good rehabilitation inspiration. So, you can imagine my excitement at being reminded about the Building Technology Heritage Library, the multi-year project from the Association for Preservation Technology to digitize these resources and make them available through the Internet Archive. Now, all you need is an internet connection to review the Sears 1936 catalog (go ahead, see what Sears had to offer here) and literally thousands more. Happy online reading!
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While the majority of our Ohio Main Street Programs devote 100% of their time to improving their respective downtowns, some programs have begun dipping their toes into the residential revitalization pool. Main Street Wooster helped make the Howey Houses project a reality, and Main Street Medina recently completed its Renew Medina project to give new life to a neglected residence adjacent to the downtown.
Now, Lakewood Alive has teamed with Detroit Shoreway to rehab a former boarding house back into a single-family home. You can learn more about the home’s happy outcome here (and make sure you check out the Before/After image gallery at the bottom of the post).
Although downtown revitalization programs have traditionally focused their resources solely on work to improve the business district, we’ve come to learn that the downtown’s health is more often than not inextricably tied to the health of the surrounding neighborhoods, including the residential neighborhoods that ring the downtown. Programs that have forged community partnerships, and that have the financial and human resources to take on these special projects, are finding that their mission-driven accomplishments sometimes happen outside of the downtown, as well as in the downtown.
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Update (6/16/15): Senators have removed language applying a moratorium on the successful OHPTC program! Thank you! Your messages touting the economic power of the tax credit resonated loud and clear among the Ohio Senate.
Yesterday, the Ohio Senate proposed to eliminate the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit (OHPTC), with the possibly of transitioning it into a grant program several years from now.
This highly successful economic development program, without prior discussion, is in jeopardy of disappearing. Without the OHPTC Program, Ohio would not have had more than 1.4 billion dollars invested in the state, in the process rejuvenating countless abandoned or blighted buildings. The OHPTC promotes economic development at its finest: creating income-producing, taxpaying, and neighborhood-contributing buildings.
Since the program’s inception in 2007, the tax credit program’s investment statistics speak for themselves: 7 million square feet of redeveloped building space; 3,429 new housing units created; and an overall ROI of $6.70 for every dollar of tax credit generated.
To help save the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, we need you to do two things TODAY. Please email Senator Oelslager, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Peterson, Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, and your Senator to tell them why this will be detrimental to Ohio’s economic growth.
Thank you for helping us to send the message about the tax credits where it’s needed most!
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Thank you to everyone who voted this year, and congratulations to Judith Khaner, this year’s winner!
Judith’s winning image features the interior of the Arcade, a Cleveland landmark revitalized for shops and hotel use in the early 2000s. As this year’s winner, Judith’s image will be featured on a future issue of Revitalize Ohio.
Whether entering our contest or voting for a winning entry, we hope you’ll join us next year for Preservation Month for our 2016 Photo Contest.
Here’s Judith’s winning entry:
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By: Kalpa Baghasingh
Additions are one of the trickiest aspects of working with a historic building. Additions are often required for programmatic reasons. The National Park Service (the agency that develops historic preservation policy and guidance on preserving and rehabilitating historic buildings) advises that “an exterior addition should be considered once it has been determined that the new program requirements cannot be met within the existing building envelope.” Sometimes the available square footage and configuration of spaces do not meet the needs of a proposed use, and sometimes an addition is warranted to account for expansion of the current use. Many times, an addition helps in extending the life of a historic building, which would otherwise have been in danger of being abandoned or demolished for being infeasible of supporting modern uses.
Additions can be as small as an entry vestibule, or as large as entire buildings. In any case, designing an addition is a delicate balancing act–the addition should be compatible with the historic building, but should also be distinguished enough so as not to offer a false impression of being historic. In a nutshell, respect the historic building, but don’t try to pass off an addition as old. It’s no wonder then that an addition often invites opposing design philosophies and controversy.
So, what is a “sensitive” addition? The National Park Service (NPS) has published guidelines, which strives to answer this very question, and provides a sort of checklist to help achieve it:
- A new addition should be simple and unobtrusive in design, and should be distinguished from the historic building in a manner that makes clear what is historic and what is new.
- A new addition should be constructed in a way that there is the least possible loss of historic materials and so that character-defining features are not obscured, damaged, or destroyed.
- A new addition should not be highly visible from the public right of way; a rear or other secondary elevation is usually the best location for a new addition.
- The construction materials and the color of the new addition should be harmonious with the historic building materials.
- The new addition should be smaller than the historic building—it should be subordinate in both size and design to the historic building.
You can read the entire Preservation Brief #14 here.
Let’s look at a couple local examples now. The first example is a classical addition at the Ohio Statehouse, and the second one is a more modern addition at the Columbus Museum of Art.
Ohio Capitol Atrium Connector
Architect: Schooley Caldwell Associates
The Ohio Capitol Atrium was added as a connector between the Ohio Statehouse (1838-1861) and the Senate building (1899-1901) in 1993. The space was a walkway between the two buildings, and is now used as a space for conferences and special events. The addition is compatible with the neoclassical style of architecture of the Statehouse. The façade is set back from the front, and the scale is subordinate to the parent buildings. The addition looks different enough to not be confused with the historic buildings
You can read a brief history of the Connector here
Columbus Museum of Art Expansion
Architect: Design Group
This ongoing expansion project at the Columbus Museum of Art has an interesting bold design as its addition. Its minimalistic yet soaring design contrasts with the historic building, but also borrows from it. The pre-patinated copper and limestone façade has clearly been inspired by the historic building. The two-story addition is tied to the historic 1931 museum building by a recessed glass connector, which protects the integrity of the original building. This definitely pushes the boundaries of conventional “rules” regarding sensitive additions, but also emphasizes the fact that there is no one right answer when it comes to sensitive additions.
You can read more about the expansion project here:
In summary, a sensitive addition should strive to:
- Preserve the historic character and integrity of the property.
- Preserve significant historic materials and features.
- Protect the historical significance by making a visual distinction between old and new.
- Be compatible to the historic scale, mass and form.
- Be reversible.
So, the next time you come across a historic building, try figuring out if it was added on to. Or if you are looking to construct an addition to your vintage house, consider these guidelines before moving ahead.
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By Sarah Marsom
Craft breweries and distilleries have swept Ohio by storm. Many breweries are hoping to revitalize the state’s history as a beer capital, and many distilleries are using historical beverages to inspire their contemporary palates. Here are a few places you should try!
Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus (Columbus)—both a popular bar and eye catching building in Columbus. Elevator Brewery’s history dates back to 1897. Located in the Bott Brothers’ Billiards building, this contemporary bar thrives on its historical elements—the billiards tables from the 1800s, stained glass entry, tile floors, decorative ceilings, and a well preserved bar. The Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Columbia Building. You can go to www.elevatorbrewing.com for more information.
Rhinegeist (Cincinnati)—Rhinegeist means “ghost of the Rhine”, and bringing a ghost back to life is exactly what this beer company did! Located in the historic Over-the-Rhine brewery district, Rhinegeist is revitalizing the beer industry, which made the area thrive in the late 1800s. Prohibition put 38 breweries out of business and left countless German immigrants unemployed. In the recent past, developers have been revitalizing the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood; Rhinegeist has sparked new life into Christian Moerling Brewing Company’s old bottling plant. Want to learn more about the building’s history and Rhinegeist? Take one of their guided tours. You can learn more at www.rhinegeist.com.
*Cincinnati is also home to underground brewery tours! This town’s beer history is deep!
Homestead Beer Co (Licking County)—while the brewery is not in a historic building, Homestead Beer Co has its headquarters in the very historic community of Granville, and the name evokes wonderment of the original farm settlements, which created a thriving Licking County in the 1800s. Homestead Brewing does not use modern yeast strains, instead preferring yeast which could have been used by grandfathers of the past to brew. With brew names such as 1805, Five Points Irish, and Barnraiser, one knows the people behind Homestead use the past as inspiration to create contemporary drinks. Go to www.homesteadbeerco.com to learn more.
E.S. Distillery (outside Fremont)—located in a 120-year-old barn, the Ernesto Scarano distillery is worth a visit. This craft distillery is supposedly the smallest legal whiskey distillery in America. Www.esdistillery.com for more information.
What are some of your favorite bars, breweries, or distilleries in Ohio with historic elements? Add your favorites to the list in the comments section below.
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We’re excited to start a new blog series this month, with preservation perspectives written by Young Ohio Preservationist members. Sarah Marsom, the YOP chair, kicks off the series this month.
The Young Ohio Preservationists are new to the scene and excited for 2015. We have already hosted a successful tour of the Cristo Rey Columbus High School, which was an exciting multi-million dollar tax credit project, and we had an engaging window restoration workshop, where we fixed all of the historic windows in a Dutch Colonial home in the Westgate neighborhood of Columbus.
It is the Young Ohio Preservationists board’s goal to provide unique experiences to both recreational and professional preservationists. And if you are wondering if you are too old to participate, do not worry! We invite people of all ages to engage with us.
Throughout the year we will be rolling out exclusive events, but here is a sneak peek for two experiences you cannot miss out on!
On April 25, the Young Ohio Preservationists are taking Newark by storm. The Licking County Foundation has invited us to tour the Louis Sullivan designed Home Building Association Bank, and they are coordinating some bonus historic building tours exclusively for the YOPs! Following the tours, we will be hosting a design charrette and helping the foundation brainstorm the best adaptive use opportunities for the Sullivan designed bank.
As part of the Green Lawn Abbey CLG grant, the YOPs will be hosting a marble cleaning workshop. Green Lawn Abbey is a 1927 neoclassical mausoleum listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has been undergoing a restoration for a number of years. The Centennial Preservation Group will teach participants the best practices for marble cleaning. Our assistance will bring Green Lawn Abbey one step closer to renting the space for events and creating a sustainable income source for maintenance.
Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or join our mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure you know about our events!
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Heritage Ohio will bring their popular Building Rehabilitation Workshop to Findlay, Ohio August 8th. Historic commercial centers are seeing a strong resurgence in economic activity, as walk-able communities and urban living become more prevalent. This workshop is a good opportunity for building owners to learn more about successful financial strategies and how tools such as historic tax credits are used to renovate historic commercial structures. To view the agenda and register click HERE.
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We all have something we geek out over, something we could spend hours looking at or studying. Maybe for you it is house colors, baseball statistics, the next way you might design your garden. For me, I regularly have what I call nerd nights where I pick a city and look at the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. Sanborn maps are probably my favorite historic resource to consult and for this blog post, I am going to share why I get so excited when I find Sanborn maps.
Sanborn maps were created as a risk analysis tool for insurance underwriters. The maps were produced from 1866 through 1970. Population growth, demographic shifts, and urban sprawl all necessitated the need for regularly updated maps. A new map was created approximately every 10 years. The maps were created for towns and cities, but are generally not available for country properties. For the bigger cities, like Columbus or Cleveland, multiple volumes were needed to show the entire city. New York City reportedly has 39 volumes.
What’s so special about these maps? The wealth of detail and information which can be gained about a building for which there are no photographs can often be found in these maps. Each map was created on a piece of paper measuring 21” x 25” and was drawn at a scale of 50 feet to 1 inch. Everything was measured by tapeline, including the buildings, streets, sidewalks, and other utility features like distance to fire hydrants, gas lines, and water lines. The last part was particularly important for the fire insurance aspect of the maps. While the maps were created across the country, all maps are set up the same; all keyed the same, and demonstrate the same level of detail. Each volume was set up in the following order: a decorative title page, index of streets and “specials” which included schools, churches, and bigger businesses, a master key for the map (a map of the entire city color coded and numbered showing which map you would need to look up for your particular address), and some general information on population, geography, geology, economy, etc. In the case where multiple volumes were needed for a city, the master map would also let you know the volume number you needed if the area was adjoining the map you were currently using. Many states, including Ohio, have indexed digitized copies of the maps. If you have a library card, you can access this database (yes, even from your home in your comfy clothes). Here’s the link http://sanborn.ohioweblibrary.org.oh0057.oplin.org/ unfortunately, most of the digitized maps are black and white, but a lot of information can still be gained.
For this example, we will look at Heritage Ohio’s location. If you’ve never been to our office, feel free to do a quick Google maps street view search so you can get a 2014 idea of what the neighborhood looks like today. Our address is 846 East Main Street, Columbus. Click on the sanborn.ohioweblibrary link from above and type in Columbus on the search box. Now we have a list of the maps which have been digitized for the city. Notice that the first two years only have a single volume, then in 1901 there are 3 volumes, 1921 there are 6, and then in 1951 there are 9 volumes.
Go ahead and click on 1887. This will bring up a hyperlink for each map and also lists the “specials” and the streets (including the street numbers represented on that map). We want the street titled, Main, E which includes 846.
One of the first pages (usually page 0a or something similar) will always be the index, which if there were multiple volumes for the map would let us know if we were in the correct volume. In this case, the index is the first link. Clicking on the link, we find that there was a gap in the mapping between 824 and 893 East Main Street. Rather irksome knowing they cut off right where you need the map! So, click the red ‘x’ next to the Date: Feb, 1887 on the left side of the screen and it will bring you back to the list of maps.
Let’s try 1891. The index tells us that we need sheet number 70. On the right side of the screen, you can “jump to” a specific page. Go ahead and type in 70 and check it out. You should be able to zoom in to read the tiny details. If you had a chance to drive by our office or street viewed the neighborhood, you would know there is a square block of nothingness across the street from us. However, now you know what used to be there….an orphan asylum, and a large campus at that! The next map available is from 1901. I’ll save you the time and let you know you that our address is in Volume 3, sheet 320. Compared to the last map, we can see there has been a lot of development on our block. Our building is at the bottom of the sheet, where 844 and 848 are labeled. Yes, the one with the attached bowling alley. Focusing on this parcel of land, this map shows us that the building was 2 stories, with an opening to get between 844 and 848 in the middle, as well as access to the bowling alley. Keep going and find out what else became of the block. What became of the orphan asylum?
The color coded maps, in my opinion, are well worth the trip to the library or historical society. Here are the links for the keys so you can decipher the map. For the black and white maps, like the digitized maps mentioned in this blog, use this key: http://sanborn.umi.com/HelpFiles/bwkey.pdf
Here is a color coded key: http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/sanborn/images/sankey22c.jpg
Here is a link for the many of the abbreviations found on the maps: http://www.newberry.org/sites/default/files/researchguide-attachments/sanbornabbrv.pdf
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