Places Restored, Threatened, Saved, and Lost in Preservation Magazine's 2018 Winter Issue
In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here are are six from Winter 2018.
Restored: Detroit Fire Department Headquarters
A $28 million transformation of the circa-1929 Detroit Fire Department Headquarters into the Detroit Foundation Hotel was completed in May. The Detroit Fire Department used the Neoclassical building until 2013, when Aparium Hotel Group and a group led by developer Walter Cohen purchased it. Architects McIntosh Poris Associates, with help from consultants Kraemer Design Group, oversaw an adaptive-reuse project that included repairing and restoring the building’s redbrick and terra cotta facade, as well as cleaning and repairing decorative terra cotta panels. Crews from Sachse Construction also restored the firehouse’s original red doors, in addition to cleaning and repairing the glazed brick tiles covering the interior walls of the former fire engine hall, now a restaurant and bar called The Apparatus Room. The 100-room hotel encompasses the circa-1882 Pontchartrain Wine Cellars building next door, which provides meeting spaces and additional guest rooms.
Saved: Stagecoach Inn
Located in Round Rock, Texas, near the Chisholm Trail, the Stagecoach Inn was built between 1848 and 1853 using hand-cut stone quarried on the hill where the inn stands. It remains one of the three oldest buildings in the city of Round Rock, about 20 miles north of Austin. Stagecoach drivers and passengers used the inn as a way stop and horse-changing station until 1876, when the arrival of the railroad in Round Rock rendered stagecoach travel obsolete. The structure then served as a private house. More recently, it contained a series of restaurants. The inn had previously received local and statewide historic designations, but the latter was revoked in 1996 following alterations to the roof and windows. The structure now lies directly in the path of a planned road expansion. In March of 2016, the city applied for a permit to dismantle the building and use the materials in another historical context, but the municipal Historic Preservation Commission denied the motion. Following a city-funded relocation feasibility study conducted by architecture firm Architexas, Round Rock approved $98,300 for the relocation of the inn to an area near Chisholm Trail Crossing Park. The estimated total relocation cost is $630,000. The nonprofit Round Rock Preservation is raising funds for the building’s restoration, and the city is hoping for in-kind donations of labor and materials. As of press time, the city expected to move the structure this spring.
Restored: Blue Rock/Banning Toll House and Creedville Post Office
In 1829, Ohio’s State Congress passed legislation that would charge travelers for the use of public roads. Citizens in Colerain Township, Ohio, constructed this small wood-frame toll house at the intersection of Blue Rock and Banning roads, and covered it with board-and-batten siding. It served its original purpose until roads in the state became free for travelers again, later in the 19th century. By 1879, the Blue Rock/Banning Toll House had become a general store, and in 1895, the postmaster moved the Creedville Post Office, named for local attorney Jerome Creed, into the space. In 1905, the post office was moved to another location and the toll house building was relocated to a nearby farm, where it served as a “summer kitchen.” The local historical society took possession of the structure in 2003 and placed it in storage after learning that the land where it stood was being sold to a developer. In January of 2017, the historical society once again moved the building, this time to a permanent location at Colerain Township’s riverside Heritage Park. The group commenced a restoration that included stabilizing the structure, adding a new roof, repainting the front door, and replacing damaged siding. The restored toll house was rededicated on October 29 and is open to visitors.
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Threatened: Booth Home
The Boise, Idaho, chapter of the Salvation Army is planning to sell the Booth Home, built in 1921 as a maternity hospital and shelter for unwed mothers. The redbrick building, which combines elements of Colonial Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival styles, is one of a handful of Booth Homes around the country, named after William Booth, the Salvation Army’s founder. In the 1960s, the Boise School District provided a teacher to instruct high school–level classes at the home. The Boise Booth Home stopped housing women exclusively more than a decade ago, and started offering classes and daycare for pregnant and parenting teens, as well as emergency shelter services to families. Since 2015 it has been known as the Booth Marian Pritchett School for Pregnant and Parenting Teens. Last year, the Boise branch of the Salvation Army purchased 6.8 acres at another location, with plans to construct a new building. It is currently working on an $11 million campaign for the new facility that it hopes to conclude before placing the original Booth Home property on the market. Idaho preservation groups—who are concerned for the 1921 building and the adjacent midcentury buildings housing a chapel, classrooms, and a kitchen—fear that the Salvation Army may sell the surrounding land to a developer who will demolish the structures.
Threatened: Point Counterpoint II
In the mid-1960s, Robert Austin Boudreau, conductor of the Pennsylvania-based American Wind Symphony Orchestra, commissioned Modernist architect Louis Kahn to design a floating concert hall that could carry the ensemble through America’s waterways. Point Counterpoint II, a 195-foot-long, self-propelled barge with a hydraulic, clam-like roof capable of opening for performances and closing for travel, was launched in 1976, two years after Kahn’s death. It has visited berths in North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. The boat is currently anchored on the Illinois River in Ottawa, Illinois. For two decades, Boudreau, who is now in his 90s, has tried to sell it for $2 million. If he does not find a buyer soon, he plans to sell the ship for scrap, according to a letter written by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and published in the August 17, 2017 issue of The New York Review of Books. As of press time, the boat’s fate was still uncertain.
Threatened: Sperry Chalet, Glacier National Park
On August 31, 2017, the Sprague Fire, which burned almost 17,000 acres of land in Montana’s Glacier National Park, destroyed the roof, windows, and interior floors of the Sperry Chalet. The 1913 stone chalet was one of 13 structures built by employees of the Great Northern Railway in and around Glacier National Park, and is listed as a National Historic Landmark contributing property. Hikers loved to stop there for a much-needed hot meal along the Floral Park Traverse. As the Sprague Fire spread, a highly skilled group of firefighters installed an extensive hose system, and applied protective wrap in exposed-wood areas and around the base of the building. However, they were unable to fend off the flames, and much of the structure was lost. The fire also caused damage to a nearby dormitory building. A promising engineering assessment of the chalet in September led the National Park Service to invest in stabilization measures for the four remaining walls before winter, using a grant from the Glacier National Park Conservancy. However, the structure is still considered to be in a vulnerable position. The Park Service plans to conduct a more thorough assessment this spring, with the hope of rebuilding.