Places Restored, Threatened, Saved, and Lost in Preservation Magazine's Summer 2019 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 five from Summer 2019.
The newly restored Four Arts King Library in Palm Beach, Florida (also known as the Gioconda and Joseph King Library), opened its doors to the public in December of 2018. Designed by acclaimed architect Maurice Fatio and built in 1938, the library was founded by a group of seasonal residents to advance appreciation for music, drama, literature, and art. Additions were constructed in the 1950s and ’70s, and the locations of some doors and windows were moved over the years. The Society of the Four Arts, which operates the library, hired Kirchhoff & Associates Architects to restore the building. Work included removing drop ceilings, adding wheelchair access, updating restrooms, returning windows and doors to their original locations, re-creating a damaged mural, redoing the first level’s poured concrete floor, and cleaning the exterior clay tiles and stucco.
The circa-1880 McIntire Ranch and Mansion in Colorado’s San Luis Valley is deteriorating due to environmental conditions and neglect. The ranch was built by former Colorado governor Albert McIntire and his wife, Florence, and deeded to Florence after their divorce in 1898. She expanded the property and managed it until her death in 1912. In addition to its historical significance, the site is unusual for the mansion’s Territorial Adobe–style architecture. The ranch has been vacant for at least 70 years; since 1993, it has been owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Currently, the roof is missing, and several walls have crumbled. In 2019, Colorado Preservation Inc. (CPI) placed the ranch on its list of Colorado’s Most Endangered Places. CPI is spearheading efforts—with help from BLM, Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center, and descendants of the McIntires—to find funding to stabilize and interpret the site.
In March of 2019, the 1895 United States Marine Hospital in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, reopened as the new home of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The former hospital had most recently been a summer camp, which closed in 2007. Years of deferred maintenance and water and wind damage had taken its toll on the building. In 2010, the museum hired Oudens Ello Architecture to work on a feasibility study and purchased the property in 2011 based on the study’s findings. It later asked the firm to develop a master plan for the site and carry out the mostly privately funded, $18 million rehabilitation of the building. Rotted elements such as the exterior shingles and several studs had to be replaced, but crews were able to preserve much of the original building, including decorative trim, railings, and windows. Using historic photographs as a guide, the team reconstructed the structure’s chimneys and center porch. The site contains Wampanoag archaeological artifacts, which were left undisturbed. A new glass pavilion was added to the museum to house an 1854 lens from the Gay Head Light, a historic lighthouse on the island.
The Hamilton Midtown Detroit re-opened in October of 2018 as a refreshed apartment building that honors its past. The Neo-Georgian-style structure opened circa 1914 as a long-term-stay apartment hotel for workers who were coming to Detroit for jobs in the auto industry. It was later converted into apartments. In 2016, developer Broder & Sachse Real Estate purchased the building and embarked on a rehabilitation partially funded by federal historic tax credits. Design firm Hamilton Anderson Associates worked with the state historic preservation office to ensure that the work preserved as much historic fabric as possible. Along with adding fire protection and making the building ADA-compliant, crews removed drop ceilings in the dining room to reveal the original plaster, which had some water damage. The plaster, terrazzo flooring, and windows that had been painted over were restored. Once finished, the developer allowed existing tenants to move back into the Hamilton at a rate similar to what they had previously paid.
After decades of neglect, jazz musician Buddy Bolden’s shotgun house in New Orleans has been stabilized and will be restored. PJ Morton, a Grammy Award–winning solo artist and keyboardist with the pop band Maroon 5, is leading the effort with his nonprofit, Buddy’s House Foundation. Bolden, a cornetist who lived in the house as a child, was instrumental in developing the jazz genre in the late 19th century. The significance of the circa-1870s house, owned by the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church, was not widely known until recently. Termites, rot, and black mold have damaged it, but Morton’s foundation recently helped repair the roof and gave it a fresh coat of paint. Morton is raising funds to restore the house, with assistance from the church and the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, so that it and the shotgun house next door (also owned by the church) can be turned into a community recording studio, a space for teaching young artists about the business side of the music industry, and a small museum about Bolden.
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