Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To Make a Historic District

Let's look at some photos from 50 years ago. Some things may still be the same, some things not. Porch additions, adaptation for new technology like big ground-mounted ac units, and, of course, the widespread installation of floor-to-ceiling glass. Now look at the picture and everything's still the same. It's not necessarily Peter Pan, though. It doesn't want to become young again! Naturally there's some things that are important to save, such as Mount Vernon or the Key House (Wherever the park department lost the thing), or the Old Stone House, last first generation tract-land house in Georgetown, or Dumbarton and Olive Street (The name: last street designations to not be changed to the DC Alphabet system). And, arguably, certain rows of buildings on streets that are of significance. I know a person who moans of the Old Georgetown requirement that recycling pails must be smaller than a certain size). But is it necessary to keep large swaths of 42 neighborhoods in a midsize city? It's dangerous too. I consider the story of the Takoma Park (a fiercely anti-nuclear power town :( preservation board that wouldn't let someone change out their lead paint ridden shades at will. Bad for their children. And then there is the radically Brutalist (raw concrete) building two blocks from the white house that the owners want out with (The Church of Christ, Scientist. They allege that it's a maintenance havoc). It was like a 15 year battle with preservationists. But there's nothing really historic about that building that couldn't be replicated. And anyway, there's a lot of neo-Brutalism- a milder for of said style, and anyway, if someone really liked the school of architecture- they could build their own bunker- I think a Brutalist shed can be made with ordinary driveway concrete. Now about a Victorian neighborhood...

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