Julia Rocchi is the managing editor for the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.
The gas stations, theaters and monuments saved this year.
Before we all rush into 2013, eager and excited to save even more places, we at the National Trust just wanted to reflect on our favorite successes from this year -- and hopefully hear what you accomplished in your communities as well. Share your biggest preservation successes in the comments.
Cesar Chávez National Monument -- Keene, CA
President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate César Chávez National Monument. The La Paz property is recognized worldwide for its historic link to civil rights icon César Chávez and the farm worker movement. The site served as the national headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW) as well as the home and workplace of César Chávez and his family from the early 1970’s until Chávez’s death in 1993. This site also includes his grave site.
Howard Theatre -- Washington, DC
The Howard Theatre is the historic landmark that helped launch the careers of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, and The Supremes. In the spring of 2012, after sitting vacant for 32 years, the theatre was renovated with the help of a $29 million endowment in addition to equity from the federal historic tax credit. The site, located in one of Washington’s historic African- American neighborhoods, has been restored to its original 1910 appearance, bringing vibrancy and life back to the community.
Michigan Bell Building -- Detroit, MI
The Michigan Bell Building was built in 1929 as headquarters for Western Electric. The building, which stood vacant for several years, underwent a $50 million renovation. A Detroit nonprofit, Neighborhood Service Organization, used both federal and state historic tax credits to transform the building from a vacant warehouse into a mixed-use space that will provide permanent housing and supportive services such as vocational training for homeless men and women.
Phillips 66 Gas Station, “The Flying Saucer” Phillips 66 Gas Station -- St. Louis, MO
When local preservationists discovered this iconic former gas station was threatened with demolition, they launched an exceptional public campaign to save the landmark. Less than a month later, the developer who had planned to replace it with a new commercial space announced plans to preserve the flyer saucer-shaped structure.
Chimney Rock National Monument -- Pagosa Springs, CO
The National Trust believes that the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, the ancestral home of the Pueblo Indians, is the single most important cultural site managed by the U.S. Forest Service, but until this year, it did not have sufficient protection. On September 12, 2012 President Obama named Chimney Rock a National Monument.
Pillsbury A Mill -- Minneapolis, MN
Listed on our 2011 America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Place list, the Pillsbury A Mill received a big boost in 2012 when City Council committee gave preliminary approval to the plan which will convert the building into 250 low-income apartments. The projected $112 million needed will be compiled in a complex financial package that includes funding from tax credit bonds sold by the city, federal historic tax credits and the Minnesota Historic Rehabilitation tax credit. The federal and state historic tax credits were critical in moving this project forward and bringing it to fruition.
Los Angeles Boyle Hotel -- Los Angeles, CA
The East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) bought the building in 2006, when it was used as an apartment complex. Work was completed in August 2012, and in December, the intersection of First Street and Boyle Avenue, which is home to the Boyle Hotel, was opened. Inside the hotel, many original features were restored, including the grand staircase and foyer. Other historic elements, such as original wood trim and molding, were uncovered during construction and restored. The entire building was outfitted with new safety systems and seismic retrofits.
Emerson School -- Denver, CO
This year marked the completion of an innovative $3.2 million "green rehabilitation" of the Emerson School. Donated to the National Trust in 2010, this 1885 schoolhouse is now home to the Trust’s Denver Field Office, as well as seven other nonprofit organizations, including Historic Denver, Colorado Preservation, Inc., and Downtown Colorado, Inc.
Wake Forest Biotech Place -- Winston Salem, NC
The recently unveiled Wake Forest Biotech Place in Winston-Salem is a tremendous success on many levels. Not only has it transformed a portion of the historic -- and previously vacant -- Tobacco District complex into a state-of-the-art life sciences center that will employ 450 workers, but it also made excellent use of federal and state historic tax credits. Its renovation created more than 600 construction jobs and generated $51 million in state and local taxes. Best of all, this development enhances Winston-Salem’s rich history and architectural heritage.
Hotel Lafayette -- Buffalo, NY
Hotel Lafayette is a historic hotel built during the early 20th century. It is listed on the National Register for Historic Places, and was once considered one of the finest hotels in the nation. In 2010, a rehabilitation project using state and federal historic tax credits was undertaken to convert the hotel into a mixed use building of apartments and businesses. The project was completed in early 2012.
Top image: Michigan Bell Building, Detroit
This post was compiled by the Public Affairs department at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It originally appeared on the National Trust for Historic Preservation blog Preservation Nation, an Atlantic partner site.