Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria
901 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Session I – 8:00-9:30 am ARCHITECTURE AND MEMORY / Chair: Jennifer Cousineau (Parcs Canada), Kennedy Room
“Building the Intangible: Tourism and Authenticity in China”
Andrew Johnston, University of Virginia email@example.com
In Europe and America, historic preservationists are highly attuned to the historical authenticity of structures, a practice that Simona Salvo ties to Catholic ideas of relics. The relationship between authenticity and historic preservation in China is differently configured, with intangible heritage taking a significant role. In the wake of the substantial destruction of the historic built environment in the context of both the Cultural Revolution and rampant urban development, many Chinese cities are currently reconstructing city walls that were most often demolished in the early 1950s following the revolution. While these might seem Disney-esque to American eyes, in the Chinese context, these serve as an example of what I call “Building the Intangible,” a materialization of intangible heritage, based on memory and tradition, and operationalized in the context of tourism.
Through case study research in Chinese cities I argue that reconstruction of the city walls is not about historic building methods, but instead is about creating the experience of “city wall” based on memory. The city of Suzhou, renowned for its World Heritage gardens, is part of the trend, and has reconstructed several sections of the city wall, including the Xiangmen Gate. This section houses a “Museum of the Wall” inside its modern steel frame construction, with exhibits that connect this iteration of the wall with a narrative of a long history of building and rebuilding walls. These displays strongly argue that the “memory” of the wall, and the feeling attached to it, is what matters, personally and collectively, and the reconstruction of the wall (no matter in different materials and often not on the same site) is about making that “memory” concrete, and therefore real and legitimate. The intangible memory of the wall, then, in one understanding, makes its physical reconstruction authentic. For those of us schooled in a tradition of material conservation, these ideas are, perhaps, hard to get our heads around. This museum helps make the leap across generations, from today’s grandparents who remember city walls to today’s grandchildren who experience the new walls, over the adult generation born after the revolution who have lived with no walls.
“The Brafferton Indian School: History, Memory, and the Legacy of a Colonial Institution”
Christopher J. Slaby, College of William and Mary firstname.lastname@example.org
On April 30, 2011, the president of the College of William & Mary, Taylor Revelry, spoke at a ceremony to celebrate the upcoming renovations of the school’s Brafferton Building. “We are here to remember that the Brafferton began its life as a school for Native Americans—the first Americans,” he said. “This is an important moment in the life of this great building, which along with the Wren and the President’s House, make up our old or ancient campus.” Revelry was joined by members of Native communities whose ancestors attended the Indian school during the eighteenth century. The event marked an important moment in the history of the Brafferton School, where adulatory institutional meanings comingled with the recognition that at best the school existed to turn Indians, culturally, into Euro-Americans.
While most histories of the Brafferton focus on this period of schooling, during the eighteenth century, this essay addresses the ways that the school has been remembered and the building used since then. Revelry’s embrace of this “great building” was just one of the more recent expressions of how the William & Mary community has related to the Brafferton. Since it ceased to function as an Indian school, William & Mary has focused its attention on the past of the Brafferton, as both a physical site and an institution. From 1931 to 1932, Colonial Williamsburg renovated the Brafferton as part of its larger mission to celebrate the Anglo-American heritage of the United States. While the exterior was hailed for its authentic eighteenth-century appearance, any interior traces of an Indian school were subordinated to the actual function of the building at that time as administrative office space. Currently, the Brafferton serves as the office of the president and the provost. This paper argues that by focusing on the eighteenth-century past of the Brafferton, William & Mary has ignored the ongoing presence of Native peoples.
Idealizing a building and an institution for their historical significance has led to the school sidestepping questions about its role in more recent Native history. What this story suggests is that if we recognize the more recent story of the Brafferton as a case of a usable past, or even imperialist nostalgia, then we are forced to reckon with questions of a possible imperialist present. Given that some Native peoples still claim this land, is the colonialism of the Brafferton really a thing of the past?
“Rubble and Home: Spatial biographies in German Hochbunkers (1945-1960)”
Julia Tischer, McGill University email@example.com
This paper evolves from two chapters of my current doctoral research at McGill University, a typological reading of above-ground bunker architecture (since their conception during WWII to 1960 post-war Germany) in dramatically shifting social, economic and political landscapes. Using spatial biographies as an architectural research method, this study draws from the notion that material traces are the most democratic source of information about the past, often the only “voices” available, rendering space essential to historical investigations. It examines the expressions of power dynamics in the build environment to disclose alternative histories of underrepresented pasts, specifically those of German women and their children inhabiting Nazi bunkers. Unveiling the mutual inscriptions of architectural intentions and its interpretations, this paper endorses architectural fluctuations, liminal and ephemeral spaces as well as demolition, as crucial aspect of architectural analysis.
After the war had ended, allied forces attempted to largely de-militarize the country and bunkers were demolished with great effort and extraordinary resources. I argue that the Nazi imagery associated with these buildings provoked strong negative feelings, blaming architecture for the horrors of the past. The meaning of these demolitions in the context of public memory is explored, building on the scholarly work of Annmarie Adams and Shelley Hornstein arguing that architecture tends to be regarded as public reminders of trauma and that demolition may be a therapeutic way to forget the past.
In a cityscape where bunkers often proved the only standing structures left, their past was temporarily forgiven in favour of sheltering refugee families. As the exodus of Germans from the East took place after the end of WWII, thousands found themselves homeless in the German West. Bunkers became homes to the so called “bunker families.” A building typology once a strategic part of Nazi propaganda, an ode to Fascist power, was transformed to shelter the poor. Various spatial strategies were employed by its users in order to make bunkers livable to the new occupants. Aside from bad ventilation and poor illumination, “bunker families” had to endure the stigma of the buildings itself. This paper sheds light on how negative feelings associated to the spaces we inhabit define us in the eyes of others, and how human agency might contest this.
Session I – 8:00-9:30 am RELIGIOUS LANDSCAPES/Chair: Samuel Ross Palfreyman(Boston University), Roosevelt West Room
“Shaping the Post-Conquest Landscape: Church Architecture in French-Canadian Parishes in the St. Lawrence Valley, 1760-1860”
J.-R. Thuot, Université du Québec à Rimouski firstname.lastname@example.org
September 1760. The British army definitely takes control of the St. Lawrence valley, as New France collapses. At the time, the valley is essentially occupied by the French settlers, as the colonization process gave birth to around a hundred new parishes between 1608 and the British takeover. The catholic temples already built at the time were the legacy of the first immigrant craftsmen teams from France. After the conquest, with the catholic authorities and the master architects partly spread out, multiple church reconstruction and construction projects were at stake. What type of architecture was then produced, and who exactly were the leaders of these initiatives?
Our communication wishes to underline the building culture that prevailed in the making of a vernacular religious architectural form by examining the catholic churches of the post-conquest French-Canadian communities. This vernacular religious landscape, essentially the result of Canadian traditional craftsmen families supported by a few Canadian catholic religious figures (Noppen, 1977), can be analyzed in two different ways. First, by characterizing the particular architectural forms of the church models erected between 1760 and 1860 along different points of the St. Lawrence Valley; secondly, by bringing to light the social profiles of the networks of masons, joiners, carpenters and building contractors that were on the line at the time.
The demonstration will lean on the exam of iconography, material vestiges and notarial records to give life to the architectural forms, and on the census and parish records to reconstruct the crafstmen’s social profiles. The inquiry shows the capacity of the local populations to generate very particular community-related buildings, as in other parts of the North-American British colonies (Maudlin, 2007). Ultimately, these Laurentian church projects appear as important milestones in the construction of the French-Canadian identity in the St. Lawrence Valley, particularly in the crucial post-conquest period.
“Constructing Heaven in Hell: 19th Century Latter-day Saint Public Works Projects in St. George, Utah”
Emily Utt, LDS Church History Department email@example.com
In 1861, LDS Church Apostle George A. Smith called southern Utah “the most wretched, barren, God-forsaken country in the world.” Within a few months of Smith’s comments, however, church president Brigham Young assigned 300 families from the main Mormon settlements in the Salt Lake and Utah valleys to move south and create a new city in the middle of this country that in Smith’s mind (and the minds of many other Saints) God had forgotten. The settlement was, ironically, named St. George after its earlier detractor, who was also installed as its primary leader. Why would Latter-day Saints build a city in such an inhospitable desert? How was the idea of Zion, which included a strong belief earthly perfection, reconciled with the realities of such a hellish landscape? LDS theology includes a strong belief that the earth is holy and created for human use. An 1831 revelation to Joseph Smith said in part “the good things which come of the earth… for houses, or for barns… are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and gladden the heart…” Not many of the St. George-bound Saints could see much chance in any of these predictions come to pass.
This paper will address the juxtaposition of the ideal Zion with the realities of the southern Utah climate and geography through the design, construction, and use of three public buildings in St. George, Utah. These public works projects helped transform a failing city into a fully functioning and stable community. These buildings were all completed within fifteen years of first settlement—the courthouse in 1876; the tabernacle, in 1876; and the temple, in 1877—and together show how government, community and religious ritual were combined in Latter-day Saint communities to create Zion, often in the most hostile environments. Journals and correspondence of church leaders and local members will be used along with the structures themselves to show how LDS theology shaped the landscape of this intriguing western place. Through the united efforts of area residents, the stone and timber removed from the red hills of southern Utah transformed the desert into a central piece of the western Mormon kingdom.
Session I – 8:00-9:30 am POTOMAC WATERSHED/Chair: Warren Hofstra(Shenandoah University), Madison North Room
“The Shared Heritage of Notley Young’s Tobacco Plantation on the Potomac”
James I. Deutsch, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage firstname.lastname@example.org
Much of the land that is now the National Mall of the United States was once occupied by large Maryland plantations, which relied on the labor of enslaved Africans to cultivate tobacco. In 1791, when the U.S. government began laying out the new capital of Washington, D.C., the largest landholders in this area were David Burnes (in the vicinity of what is now the White House and Federal Triangle), Daniel Carroll (in what are now the eastern and northern portions of the Mall), and Notley Young (in what is now the southern part of the Mall). Of these, Young (1736–1802) was the largest slaveholder; 245 enslaved Africans worked on his 800-acre tobacco plantation, according to the U.S. Census of 1790. The Young family’s plantation house (known as Cerne Abbey Manor) was built ca. 1756 and demolished roughly 100 years later. It was located on the north bank of the Potomac River near current-day G Street, between 9th and 10th Streets, within what is now Benjamin Banneker Park, named for the African American astronomer, engineer, and mathematician who helped survey and plan the new federal city. The location of the plantation house is indicated by the red square at left in the map below.
In spite of Young’s sizable holdings and their prominent location—on a site visited by thousands of tourists each day—reliable information about the social and architectural history of Young, his family, and their plantation is relatively scarce. George C. Henning’s article, “The Mansion and Family of Notley Young,” published in 1913 in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, vol. 16, provides abundant details on the Young family genealogy, but remains extremely vague about what life was like on this Potomac River tobacco plantation in the 18th century.
This paper seeks to fill in some of the gaps in this history by using sources that may not have been available to Henning at the time of his research in the early 20th century, including newspapers, memoirs, and more contemporary secondary sources. The goal is to place Notley Young and his plantation within the larger contexts of agricultural history, demographic change, race relations, industrialization, and urbanization on the banks of the Potomac in the late 18th century.
“The Lower Potomac: Architectural Responses to a Reborn Waterway, 1830-1860”
Henry Hull, Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals email@example.com
This paper considers how the architecture of Southern Maryland and the Northern Neck of Virginia changed amid the improved connectivity of rural areas to urban economies through steamboats. The steamboat engaged the counties along the Lower Potomac, defined as Virginia’s King George, Westmoreland and Northumberland counties and Maryland’s Charles and St. Mary’s counties, with the export economies of cities along the Chesapeake Bay, such as Norfolk and Baltimore. Steamboats facilitated the exchange of agricultural products for architectural ornaments, consequently changing the appearance and construction of buildings in the Lower Potomac region. Greek and Roman orders made their way onto porticos, facades, doorways, and mantels in the Lower Potomac during the industrializing construction process of circular saws, cut nails, and cast ironwork. In addition to imported building materials and cultural exchange, steamboats also circulated builder’s guides and pattern books, which conflated classical orders with taste, affluence, and knowledge. The interrelated prosperity of the 1840s through 1850s and the steamboat trade helped Classical Revival architecture disseminate throughout the counties, transforming the building culture along the Potomac.
Existing and documented houses, agricultural buildings, courthouses, and churches testify to the pervasiveness of cultural exchange along the Potomac River. This paper’s methodology borrows from building culture studies, such as Howard Davis’s The Culture of Building and J. Ritchie Garrison’s Two Carpenters, that examine the processes of construction, but it invites a broader interpretation of a building culture to include the contributions of existing buildings in shaping subsequent construction. With this adaptation, pre-existing buildings are instrumental features of the cultural landscape and form the essential relationship between a community and its architecture. Changes to a building culture, such as a transportation revolution caused by steamboat technology, are made manifest through the architectural evolution of pre-existing buildings and new construction. The steamboat rejuvenated the Potomac’s relevance for transportation, where it had facilitated a British colonial tobacco economy during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The nineteenth-century “steamboat era,” as it would later be called, revolved around diversifying crops and a new architectural language spreading throughout the United States.
“The “Nation’s River”: At the Confluence of Urban and Rural Ideals”
Nancy M. Germano, Indiana University firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper presents the history of efforts in the mid-twentieth century to both conserve and develop the Potomac River—the “Nation’s River,” as President Lyndon B. Johnson and his Interdepartmental Task Force referred to it. In a real sense, the Potomac River of the 1960s was the Nation’s River. It had become, in Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall’s words, a “microcosm of America.” It had intertwined with the people and businesses occupying its shores, and while some beauty still remained, its dirtiness and ugliness showcased the imprint of humankind.
In 1965, Johnson officially asked Udall to review the basin development plan, begun by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1950, and to prepare a program for Johnson’s consideration. Johnson intended for development of the Potomac River to serve as a national model for river development in cities and states across the country. He planned to start in his own backyard, in Washington, D.C., with the stated intent of motivating others. As Udall later recalled, they “saw it as an area where you could bring the conservation ideas into the city and do positive things,” and the project became a “kind of laboratory” for their “new ideas.” The project allowed them an opportunity to “show the importance of the conservation idea to the urban areas.” Yet the multipurpose project—with dams and reservoirs for water supply, navigation, pollution abatement, and recreation—never came to fruition despite years of study and planning.
The paper answers my research question of how the Potomac River Project informs our understanding of the national dilemma of choosing between conservation and development. Arising at a time when the dangers of rapid growth and technological advancements reached critical levels and of nascent environmental awareness, the need to both conserve and develop the Nation’s River seemed to be self-evident and viable. Instead, this paper argues that the differing urban and rural ideals worked together to prevent completion of the proposed work that would have changed the landscape of the Potomac River basin.
The paper engages with primary source materials in conjunction with actual results. Sources employed include task force reports, transcripts of hearings conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, government publications, local newspaper articles, and legislative action.
Session II – 10:00-11:30 FIELD NOTES / Chair: Ian Stevenson (Boston University), Kennedy Room
“Fieldwork in the Forest: The Fenn Ranger Station in Idaho’s Nez Perce National Forest”
Shannon Mical Sardell, University of Oregon email@example.com
James Michael Buckley, University of Oregon firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Forest Service constructed human landscapes throughout the American West in the early twentieth century, but, unlike the well-documented built environment of our National Parks, we know little about the historic architecture of our National Forests. The Fenn Ranger Station complex in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest (Idaho) offers an opportunity to consider the architectural production of the Forest Service in the early twentieth century. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937, the structures at Fenn made up one of the most elaborate Forest Service facilities of this era and served as a model of modern “vernacular” designs for ranger stations. The scale of the complex and the attention to its architectural and landscape design reflect the increasing role of scientific research and modern management techniques in the Forest Service in the interwar period.
The Fenn Ranger Station was the subject of the 2017 Pacific Northwest Field School (PNWFS). The field school program paired archival research with onsite investigation (including building materials and cultural landscape assessments) to better understand the vernacular precedents of Forest Service architecture. Analysis of the original design intent of Park Service architects will be used to make recommendations for future maintenance and interpretation. The investigation revealed multiple layers of change, ranging from administrative directives at the time of the Station’s construction to building color choices, siding updates, and planting preferences implemented over time.
This paper will present the PNWFS findings of this property and the preservation issues faced by remote Forest Service sites like this one. Fenn’s place in the evolving aesthetic of Forest Service architecture will be demonstrated by a contrast with both earlier and later station designs within the same region.
“The Harvestore Silo: A Beacon of Prosperity’s Descent into Obsolescence”
Laura Grotjan, University of Wisconsin, Madison email@example.com
Across the rural Upper Midwest, agricultural silos are ubiquitous structures used for mass storage, particularly for grain and fermented forage required for feeding dairy cows. Passersby may have noticed and wondered why some of these structures are made from concrete, while others are a deep, blue color. The blue silos are a specific brand of silo, Harvestore, and are constructed of steel and fiberglass. Beginning during their initial boom in popularity in the middle of the twentieth century, blue Harvestore silos came to be a symbol of prosperous dairy farms due to their advantageous, air-tight design and higher cost compared with other types of silos. However, this paper seeks to explore the recent death of the Harvestore silo’s symbolism, and how newer technologies required by large-scale farms and the prohibitive cost of maintaining aging Harvestores has caused this shift in opinion. Moreover, I will examine the broader environmental and cultural impacts of the disuse of Harvestores and their replacement with concrete bunkers and large, plastic bags for feed storage.
“Trauma, nostalgia, and the interpretation of postindustrial place”
Elijah Gaddis, Auburn University firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1929, workers at the Loray Mill in Gastonia, North Carolina walked off the job. Their months long struggle—which saw a striker and policeman killed, and strike leaders fled to the U.S.S.R.—created a permanent rift in the mill community. The mill continued to operate for three more generations before its ultimate closure as part of post-sunbelt shutdowns. For historians, the history of this place has generally begun and ended in 1929. But the broader history of the community reveals the complexity of the memory of textile mill towns like this one. In this short paper, I remark upon the ways in which both nostalgia and trauma are represented in former industrial sites like the Loray, and particularly upon the ways in which the complexity of that history can be reflected in a contemporary context amid a redeveloped and repurposed structure.
This paper follows from a long term collaborative project undertaken between scholars, students, cultural heritage organizations, and a development company during the three years in which the iconic textile mill was being transformed into a mixed-use development. Though the structure remained largely intact, both the main building and the surrounding village have begun to be transformed into near-unrecognizable loft apartments and shops aimed at the local commuting crowd. In researching and conceptualizing a series of interpretive exhibits, our interdisciplinary team sought to balance nostalgic memories of the mill and village, with their many less positive associations. For many former workers and other community members, the mill and village represented their entrance into the middle class. For an equal number of others its five story Romanesque Revival tower and modest village houses were and are a reminder of decades-long workers’ rights struggles, diminishing wages and benefits, and its ultimate abandonment of the company town it helped build. Balancing these universal understandings of commonplace postindustrial landscapes is an ever more urgent need as more and more of these structures are being repurposed for new generations and new transplants drawn to their grand scale but ignorant of the broader histories that inform these places. My brief presentation will focus on the successes and failures of our project as part of an attempt to articulate and stimulate conversation around methodologies for interpreting both postindustrial trauma and nostalgia in place.
“Shelter on the River–The Storm Towers of the Santee Delta”
Brent Fortenberry, Texas A&M University email@example.com
At the end of September 1822, a devastating hurricane slammed into the Carolina Coast. Making landfall just south of Georgetown South Carolina, the storm devastated the Santee Delta, an area encompassing some forty-six rice plantations. Newspaper accounts relay the level of complete devastation inflicted on the built environment. In these accounts, particular note was made of the deaths of dozens of enslaved Africans who were forced to ride out the tempest in their isolated settlements on the river delta. In response, planters constructed a series of circular masonry ‘storm towers’ to protect the lives of the surviving enslaved Africans–lives they viewed purely as labor.
These structures were a unique response to the historic climatological conditions of the region. Now neglected and unmanaged, the storm towers were recorded using traditional field techniques as well as new digital technologies. They were then reconstructed in a virtual environment to better understand how they were sited within the natural landscape of the Delta, and the built environment of the enslaved settlements. This paper explores the historical context of Santee Delta Storm Towers, and interprets their existence within the vernacular architecture of the wider Greater Caribbean. It charts their construction as an environmental response by plantation owners as well as their regional architectural precedent. This initial fieldwork anchors a wider project to understand the architectures of enslavement in the Santee Delta; a built environment currently under threat from rising sea levels and increasing number of hurricanes.
“Safeguarding the Maritime Traditions of the Tidal Thames: Historic Boats as a form of Contemporary Vernacular Architecture”
Sally Sutton, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper argues that repurposed historic boats are a form of contemporary vernacular architecture. The research explores how traditional working boats that were once characteristic of London’s riverscape have been transformed into a form of habitation that offers an alternative way of life; one that captures the spirit of the city’s fast disappearing maritime past.
The research examines the development of historic barges to gain an understanding into the nature of river dwelling and the context in which floating riverine communities have evolved along the River Thames. It establishes the extent to which riverine dwellers have appropriated the city’s maritime heritage as a form of resistance in response to the challenges posed by the impacts of globalization along its river banks.
A range of methods including a detailed survey of two floating communities (within the Pool of London, once the heart of London’s maritime empire), visual images and archival material provide the data to document the changing nature of the riverscape. It charts the conflicts, creative responses and solutions to the urban transformation taking place on the water’s edge (land and water). Interviews with boat owners and other organizations with an interest in the River Thames examine a range of themes to ensure a variety of perspectives (elite and non-elite) on the changing nature of role of the river and the part played by river dwellers and their historic boats.
This paper forms part of a wider PhD investigation into the crucial role that rivers have played in the post-industrial recovery and regeneration of cities across the world. It asserts that in many cases elitist riverside developments have capitalized upon the water’s edge to the detriment of local communities.
The research examines the ongoing transformation of the built environment along the water’s edge and how this impacts on the evolving patterns of river use. Drawing on the theories of Henri Lefebvre (1996) and David Harvey (2012) the study is situated within the discourse of economic and political urban struggles. Using the framework of ‘right to the city’ it examines the tensions that arise between those that control urban space and citizens that claim some right to the urbanizing process. It investigates the evolving urban ‘riverscape’ as a site of transformation, resistance and appropriation in response to private onshore interests.
“Redlining in the Madison Urban Landscape: How Women Influenced the Development of a City”
Joy Huntington, University of Wisconsin, Madison email@example.com
In 2013, the Barbie fantasy coincided with reality when the real estate website, Trulia, listed Barbie’s Dream house for $25 million. Barbie’s house was always a fantasy: a fantasy that a single woman could afford an extravagant, modern, luxurious house, be a career woman, and a strong influence in her community. The ideal of the wealthy, independent, beautiful, white woman’s glorious house, land, or business is used in my research to articulate an animating aspiration throughout the twentieth century in the U.S. Property advertisements, like those examined in Little White Houses by Dianne Harris and for the Levittown neighborhoods, highlighted the hetero-normative family unit. These advertisements portrayed women – always white, middle-class – solely as wives, mothers, and caretakers of the family and home.
This paper explores the disconnect between such idealized images of female domesticity and the realities of women’s influence by honing in on the cultural landscape of Madison, Wisconsin, during the twentieth century. More specifically, I examine the intersection of gender and race in redlining practices between 1900 and 1980 and its impact on this city. Buildings owned or designed by women are significant as they defied and crossed the boundaries and hierarchies established in the redlining practices. This paper explores how redlining worked here through three themes; Suburbanization, 1900-1970, The New Deal, 1933-1945, and Conservation and Preservation, 1960-1982. Redlining was a social and economic systematic method that instituted separation of races geographically, economically, socially, and through home financing and homeownership. This practice established racial and ethnicity hierarchies and reaffirmed gender hierarchies through property ownership.
Using evidence from newspapers, the HOLC archives, oral histories, maps, and neighborhood histories, this paper is on how women in Madison navigated the discriminatory practices based on gender and race over time that impacted the built environment. This work has larger implications in drawing attention to underrepresented groups as well as reframing our ideas about redlining by showing how these groups, specifically women, challenged discriminatory practices. By using a micro historical approach centered on a few case studies in one city, I show how and why women gained and leveraged influence in Madison and how that changed the city’s urban landscape over the course of the twentieth century.
Session II – 10:00-11:30 VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE AND THE POLITICS OF CULTURE / Chair: William Littman, California College of Arts, Roosevelt West Room
"Design From Below on the Hills of Samaria: Ofra and the Community Settlement"
Noam Shoked, University of California, Berkeley firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1967 Israel conquered the West Bank from Jordan. Although East Jerusalem was fully annexed, most of the West Bank was left in a state of occupation. Soon after, different civilian groups began pressuring the government to erect Jewish settlements in the densely populated northern region of the West Bank. They performed sit-ins, went on marches and squatted in strategic sites. In 1975, their activism took a turn, when a group of modern-Orthodox Jews took over an abandoned military base near the Palestinian town of Ramallah, and, against the opposition of the government, refused to leave. Over the next couple of years, the young activists transformed the base. They formed their own planning and governance agencies, and, together with volunteer architects, designed themselves model homes, and laid out the design principles for a new settlement type they named “The Community Settlement” [Yeshuv Kehilati].
By 1977, when government officials paid a visit to the military base that was now named Ofra, they were shocked. One official protested, “It is impossible to take this baby into the womb.” And indeed, in the next few months, architects at the Ministry of Housing worked with the settlers in order to formalize their settlement, and, quickly, The Community Settlement model they developed became a dominant model in West Bank settlements.
Drawing upon heretofore-undisclosed archival material and a series of interviews I conducted in Ofra, I will elaborate on the design debates that accompanied the construction of the settlement, and trace some of the architectural forms designed by the settlers, and later negotiated with architects at the Ministry of Housing. In doing so, this paper sheds light on the interrelations between architecture and politics, and complicates intellectual frameworks that celebrate the triumph of the user as always a positive.
“Politicizing the Vernacular: Building a New Capital of China with Renovated Courtyard Houses”
Wei (Windy) Zhao, University of Utah email@example.com
Starting in April 2017, the Beijing municipal government enacted a new, three-year urban renewal policy that aims to restore and improve the built environment of the 2,435 alleyways in the historic center of the city. The local implementation, however, has focused on restoring the once continuous solid walls that used to enclose the courtyard houses. The direct consequence of this approach has been to seal up doors and windows that have led to homes and small businesses for decades. As a result, thousands of businesses that had been providing daily services to local residents closed down, forcing many people to move out of the city center. Meanwhile, many homeowners had to remodel their houses so they can access their homes from an alternative means.
Drawing upon archival research and limited interviews, this paper scrutinizes the ways in which vernacular architecture is used as a tool to manipulate power, economy and social relations within a society. It examines the characteristics of the existing urban fabric of the historic center of Beijing and analyzes the social context and execution process of the urban renewal policy. This paper argues that the Beijing municipal government uses the vernacular architecture as a tool not only to eliminate non-permanent residents by decimating their places to work and live, but also to control social activities and residents’ relations through reconstructing urban vernacular place at the local level. As a result, by taking over the ownership of the vernacular architecture from local residents, the Beijing municipal government aims to create the new image of the capital of China as defined by the “Beijing Master Plan 2016-2030,” a plan which is not only ahistorical, but also promulgates the ideas of regularity, singularity and segregation.
“From Alley Slums to Courts: Clearing Racialized Space in Mid-Century Washington, DC”
Rebecca Summer, University of Wisconsin, Madison firstname.lastname@example.org
In the decades before and following the Civil War, rural and poor African Americans migrating north to Washington, DC settled in small rowhouses on the interior of downtown blocks, called alley dwellings, where they adapted to urban life with extended kinship networks, mutual aid, and strong communities
(Borchert 1980, Clay 1978). With dramatic population increases in the last decades of the nineteenth century, these inhabited alleys became increasingly overcrowded. To white Progressive Era reformers, alley communities signified only poor sanitation and moral disorder. Despite repeated and failed attempts by housing reformers to clear inhabited alleys from the city, beginning in the late nineteenth century, Washington’s “alley dwellings” persisted through the first half of the twentieth century. This paper examines their ultimate demise in the 1950s, due to the confluence of a growing federal workforce in the city, available federal funds for urban renewal, and emerging historic preservation practice. In the Southwest neighborhood, local and federal planners used inhabited alleys to justify designation of blighted areas eligible for federal urban renewal funds. In neighborhoods like Georgetown, Capitol Hill, and Foggy Bottom, which were close to employment downtown, white private citizens relied on alleys’ slum connotations to displace African American alley dwellers, rehabilitate and occupy alley houses in the name of historic preservation, and rebrand alleys as “courts.” I argue that the marking of historic inhabited alleys as slums allowed white elites to take advantage of both federal policy and emerging historic preservation practice to displace African American inhabitants, thereby ending “alley dwellings” and black families’ historical claims to these urban spaces. This research is based on archival research in Washington, DC, with sources including federal and municipal planning documents, an oral history collection, and historic maps, newspapers, and photographs. The paper is drawn from a chapter of a dissertation which examines the changing functions and racialized meanings of alleys in Washington, DC from the 1950s to the present.
Session II – 10:00-11:30 AFRICAN AMERICAN LANDSCAPES / Chair: Susan Kern, College of William and Mary, Madison North Room
“The Caretaker’s House at Drayton Hall: A Comparative Study of Rural Freedmen’s Houses in the South Carolina Lowcountry”
Cameron Moon [fem.], Drayton Hall Preservation Trust email@example.com
Following the Civil War, phosphate mining became the major industry in Charleston, SC, relying on the labor of freedmen who remained in the area after Emancipation. Plantation owners and mining companies along the Ashley River hastily constructed lodging for the miners, later building houses, stores, and medical facilities to accommodate their families. Drayton Hall, one of the plantations along the Ashley River, was first leased to a mining company in 1866, and tenant housing was subsequently built on the property to house the miners and their families.
Despite a growing body of literature on African American architecture, scholars have largely focused on slave quarters, neglecting the postbellum period. In By The Work of Their Hands: Studies in Afro-American Folklife and Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, John Michael Vlach focuses on African American contributions to the arts and architecture primarily during the antebellum period. While he touches on postbellum architecture in his scholarship on the shotgun house, the investigation of one style is not representative of African American architecture as a whole after the Civil War. While Barbara Burlison Mooney examines the ideals of freedmen’s housing set forth by white authority figures in “The Comfortable Tasty Framed Cottage: An African American Architectural Iconography,” she focuses on the cultural aspects of African American architecture after the Civil War rather than specific examples of structures. Case studies of extant postbellum freedmen’s houses are missing from the literature, due in large part to the lack of existing resources. However, several of these structures survive in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
To fill this gap, this regular paper proposal examines the Caretaker’s House at Drayton Hall (c.1870), as well as the remains of tenant houses on the property. In this study I closely examine the construction methods of the Caretaker’s House and compare them to other extant structures in the Lowcountry from this time period to discover a trend in materials and form. Conjunctively, I study oral histories, letters, leases, census reports, historic photographs, and maps to learn about the community of African Americans who lived at Drayton Hall and the surrounding plantations along the Ashley River. This study sheds new light on the architecture of freedmen in the South Carolina Lowcountry, focusing on the houses of the African American community living at Drayton Hall while phosphate was mined on the property.
“Returning Slavery to the Built Landscape: The Reconstruction of Montpelier’s South Yard, A Focus on Fieldwork in the Piedmont of Virginia”
Jennifer Wilkoski Glass, The Montpelier Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org
In late 2007, at the tail-end of a whirlwind five-year, $24 million restoration, Iris Ford, an African-American cultural anthropologist whose ancestors were enslaved at nearby Bloomfield Plantation, stood on the terrace of the newly-restored mansion at Montpelier, James Madison’s lifelong home. It was there, looking over the expanse of what we now call the South Yard, a work yard and living space for Madison’s enslaved workers, that she asked a pointed question: “You spent $24 million on the Madisons, and all my people get are dead grass and railroad ties?”
In the intervening decade, we have striven to shift the narrative and restore the built landscape to tell the other half of the story, the story of the enslaved individuals who made the Madisons’ lives possible. Without the outbuildings where the enslaved lived and worked, we could not tell that story.
This effort was accelerated in fall of 2014 when we received a transformational gift from David M. Rubenstein. This gift allowed us to not only excavate the South Yard, but to also undertake architectural fieldwork on a scale that is generally not seen today. Six outbuildings-- two double slave quarters, two smokehouses, a spinning house, and a kitchen, were found through archaeological and documentary evidence, all of which would need to be researched, designed, and reconstructed by 2019.
In 2015, with archaeological excavations complete, the focus shifted to architectural research and fieldwork. Architectural fieldwork is not a new concept, but the breadth and scale of the fieldwork undertaken for this project was unique due to the temporal, geographic, and socio-economic context of the site. While Colonial Williamsburg has reconstructed buildings based on fieldwork in the Tidewater for nearly 100 years, the Piedmont region of Virginia was largely ignored during those surveys.
Because of this, the Montpelier Department of Architecture and Historic Preservation has researched, visited, and documented over two dozen historic sites in the Virginia Piedmont in order to better understand the early 19th-century built environment at Montpelier, and the Virginia Piedmont in general. During this intensive architectural survey, new ideas about the similarities and differences of Piedmont and Tidewater architectural character became apparent. This paper will explore those similarities and differences with a focus on building form, character, and craftsmanship.
“They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon”
Richard H. Schein, University of Kentucky email@example.com
This paper will focus on a charcoal or pencil-on-plaster drawing (c. 1870) rescued from a former slave cabin to engage conversations about vernacular architecture, material culture, and everyday landscapes, in terms of both: (a) epistemological-methodological challenges (e.g. the paucity of the archive, the role of oral history, the “problem” of underrepresentation; the practice of “bringing the margins to representation”), and; (b) ontological possibilities (e.g. theorizing landscapes as relational in order to interrogate and celebrate the landscape’s multi-vocality and its “always becoming” potential). Stabilizing and preserving the drawing as a material artefact captures an interpretive commitment to placing the past dynamically within the present and a socio-political commitment to the role of artefact and landscape in processes of belonging, community, citizenship.
Session II – 10:00-11:30COMMUNITY BUILDING / Chair: Robert Mellin (McGill University), Madison South Room
“The Greatest Agricultural Colony on Earth: Landscape and Community Development of the Estelle Colony, 1895-1910”
Samuel Avery-Quinn, Appalachian State University firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1901, the Chancery Court of New Jersey heard arguments in one of the largest property lawsuits in the history of southern New Jersey. The suit, filed by the Estell family of Atlantic County, alleged that Philadelphia businessman Daniel Risley had failed to repay mortgages held by the Estells on thousands of acres of pine lands along the Tuckahoe River. Risley had developed the lands as the speculative towns of Dorothy, Milmay, and Risley -- a venture Risley promoted as "the greatest agricultural colony on earth." The lawsuit opened a window onto the economic decline, real estate speculation, and demographic changes that were transforming the landscape of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
The value of such large tracts of pine lands owned by iron furnaces and land-holding families like the Estells for their lumber and fuelwood had collapsed by the 1870s. As railroads cross-cut the southern Barrens connecting Philadelphia with a growing resort industry on the Jersey shore, the lines opened the interior to land speculation. Dozens of new towns promising affordable homes and market access for crops appeared in what John McPhee describes as a long succession of instant paradises. Whether paper towns or actual settlements, the paradises came as truck farms, orchards, blueberry fields, and cranberry bogs in agricultural towns, small manufacturing villages, and ethnic colonies for immigrant Germans, Italians, and Eastern European Jews. Risley's venture, however, defies narrow categorization as an instant paradise, a misadventure in town planning, or a struggling ethnic colony. Instead, his project was a mosaic of town planning strategies implemented in new towns across the changing Pine Barrens landscape.
Drawing on the turn-of-the-century architecture of Risley's communities, archival sources including maps and other scraps of material Risley left behind after fleeing to Denver, Colorado, census data, oral histories, and thousands of property records, this presentation relies on a Geographic Information System to trace the community and landscape development of Risley's colony between 1895 and 1910. The material and social strategies residents adopted to build community amid the hardships of the southern Pine Barrens, including nearly losing their homes to the Estells' lawsuit, reveal not only a significant example of placemaking but also of survival.
“Economy and Efficiency: The postwar negotiation of public services and architecture in small Virginian communities”
Andrew Marshall, University of Virginia email@example.com
Economic strife and political battles across the first half of the twentieth century delivered new departments dedicated to the health, safety, and welfare of citizens at the national, state, and local levels. Simultaneously, a scientific lens was brought to bear upon the management of the governments’ ever-expanding role. Extensions of government were increasingly monitored by a vigilant populace and the rhetoric of public officials responded. “Always efficiency and economy” spoke the mantra first coined in the Hoover administration and oft-repeated in later eras of federal works. In Virginia, this national impulse became localized. Akin to other southern states, public services are delivered at the county level. Inevitably, the policies are manifested in built form. Through several case studies and a statewide survey of over three-hundred buildings, this paper explores the political processes as well as the design and construction of public administration architecture in small Virginian communities from 1945 to 1985.
In the decades following the Second World War, Virginia’s county seats and cities constructed an array of new government buildings to house the emergent public workforce. The most common iterations are city and town halls, municipal offices, county administration buildings, health departments, and social services departments. In each municipality, this series of buildings illustrates local responses to the modern demands of governance by politicians, bureaucrats, citizens, and architects. Through fieldwork and primary research, I propose a framework to consider the Virginia’s postwar architecture of bureaucracy via three dominant formal expressions: the utilitarian, the modernistic, and the faux-Colonial. These modes reveal a tension between the extant traditional rural architecture and modern structures of efficiency and economy.
The landscape of public administration is shaped by fickle political will and mutable policies. As citizens demand more services at lower costs, politicians and architects find little room or desire to seek ambitious public works. In addition, it is through these buildings that modern architecture was first introduced to the civic realm in small Virginian communities. The rhetoric and aesthetic of modernism found an analogue in the political speech engulfing these bureaucratic buildings. A lens of civic materialism allows us to view the architecture of postwar public administration in small county seats as transactional. The polis viewed these buildings as distinct from those intended for older, more traditional public services. In the negotiated environment of public administration, the political notion of civic identity through architecture is eliminated and replaced by mere civic utility.
“Park Forest, Illinois: Oral histories of a planned community”
Royce Earnest, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee firstname.lastname@example.org
Park Forest Illinois was the first fully planned post-WWII GI town; it was designed by Elbert Peets and built between 1946 and 1948. The story of the community’s design and implementation can be seen in a positive light as a successful, walkable community that embodied Clarence Stein’s ideas of neighborhood clusters that created a critically and popularly successful setting for family life. A darker side was suggested by William Whyte’s The Organization Man, based on Park Forest, which implied that such neighborhoods reflected the growth of corporate culture and a loss of individualism.
The Park Forest Historical Society and their archivist, Jane Nicoll, have been collecting oral histories of early residents and of the developers. This study uses this collection to examine how the lived experience of the place corresponded to or contrasted from the aims of the designers and developers to create what they called a new democratic model for a community. I am interested in the aims of the designers and their rhetoric for their democratic ideals, but my focus is on the experiences and recollections of the residents, on whether they perceived (or cared about) the designers’ aims, and most importantly on how they created, embellished and inhabited their personal and communal space.
Park Forest was and continues to be a vital and attractive place to live. Oral histories and personal experiences have long been important to vernacular studies and are growing in importance to histories of planning. This study will enrich our understanding of a seminal mid-century development through the lens of its residents as recorded in the valuable work being done by Park Forest’s Historical Society and Jane Nicoll. This illustrates how the approaches that are distinctive to vernacular studies are informing and enriching other fields like planning history, and other researchers (like myself) who have paid more attention to the aims of planners (a top-down approach) and can benefit from recognizing the lived experience of places like Park Forest.
Session III – 1:00-2:30pm HOUSING / Chair: Jeffrey Cohen (Bryn Mawr), Kennedy Room
“Altruistist Profit?: Wardman’s Early-20th Century Housing for Workers in Washington, DC”
Sally L. Berk, Preservation Activist email@example.com
Harry Wardman (1869-1938), the most prolific residential developer in the history of Washington, DC, was born in the textile town of Bradford, England where his entire family were mill hands. Despite innate ambition, he was unable to rise above the working class in his stratified native city. Seeking better opportunities, he left England for the United States at the age of twenty. In less than two decades, as both builder and developer for housing intended for all but the wealthiest residents of the city, and building on a scale never before seen in Washington, he was well on his way to making history. In 1925, he claimed to be housing 10% of the city’s population. A man so profoundly successful would, seemingly, have been motivated only by profit. But closer examination reveals that, having lived in meager circumstances in Bradford, he may have also sought to improve living conditions for the working class in the nation’s capital.
In 1895, when Wardman arrived in Washington, lack of adequate housing was critical; the result of dramatic population increase following the Civil War, as well as growth in the Federal Government. This was especially true for lower-income residents. Many lived in boarding houses or in housing that lacked running water. As one interpreter stated, “At the bottom of the economic spectrum, cheap wooden houses in groups of 3 or 4, often only a single story high, exploited the inherent economics of the type.”
Wardman’s early projects brought a significant change to this conundrum. In 1901, he was hired by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, a philanthropic organization, to build three dozen row-house flats (row houses that appear from the exterior to be single-family houses but actually contain one flat per floor). A year later, he constructed similar houses on his own account, having realized that there was more profit to be made in acting as both builder and developer.
This project of two dozen houses was his largest to date and launched him on the road to being the dominant row-house developer in the city. Employing mass production techniques that he had witnessed as a child working in textile mills, he was able to use time and materials more efficiently than had his predecessors. But it’s likely that he brought more than production skills with him from England. He had to have been aware of housing reform that had begun in his country a half-century earlier. These two early influences, together with his experience working for the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, resulted in his production of housing that offered more conveniences than had previously been available to lower-middle income residents.
“Back to the Land?: Depression-era Self-help Housing in Newfoundland”
Dustin R. Valen, McGill University firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper discusses the self-help housing project supervised by the American social reformer and amateur architect Mary Ellicott Arnold on Newfoundland’s south coast from 1939 to 1941. Whereas self-help housing initiatives in the United States have received considerable attention for their role in New Deal era reforms and back-to-the-land movements, little attention has been paid to similar projects located elsewhere in North America, or their specific contexts. During the 1930s, Arnold preached self-reliance and economic cooperation throughout the Atlantic region. This paper highlights Arnold’s role in spreading the self-help housing movement to Newfoundland by examining her archival drawings, personal correspondence, and other reports. Moreover, by viewing self-help housing—as Richard Harris suggests—as “a medium for reasserting political control,” this study argues that the homesteading movement served a specific purpose in depression-era Newfoundland by addressing contemporary anxieties over issues of race, class, and gender.
In 1934, Newfoundland administration’s was entrusted to a small group of British Commissioners who were deeply troubled by the social and economic conditions they observed there. The majority of Newfoundlanders were fishermen with low levels of education and who relied on public relief to survive the winter months. This seasonal idleness was associated with moral weaknesses, such as alcoholism, gambling, and financial delinquency. At the same time, Newfoundland fishing families upset traditional gender roles since women and children were vertically integrated into an industry perceived as masculine owing to its inherent dangers and pervasive vice. These conditions were exacerbated during the 1930s when nearly a third of Newfoundlanders were forced to draw on relief in the form the dole, leading poverty and malnutrition to become rampant.
Commissioners initiated a Land Resettlement Program in 1934 in an effort to rehabilitate families’ social and moral standards by making them self-reliant homesteaders. In total, eight new agricultural communities were established, including Winterland where Arnold supervised the resettlement of eight fishing families beginning in 1939. In addition to taking up farming and other home-based industries, settlers were expected to build their own homes using money and expertise provided by the state. Self-help housing was a tool for manufacturing British cultural identities in Newfoundland. Commissioners preached self-reliance and individual responsibility to Newfoundlanders in an efforts to make themselves feel at home in a country that was socially, economically, and environmentally incompatible with British expectations.
“The Unusual Transformation of Glenarden, Maryland”
Richard Longstreth, George Washington University email@example.com
On first inspection Glenarden, in Prince George’s County Maryland, seems like thousands of other middle-class residential enclaves developed during the second half of the 20th century that ring cities in many parts of the United States. How it reached that state, however, reveals an extraordinary story. The strategic thinking and sustained determination to turn a poor, isolated settlement into a well-knit, prosperous community distinguishes it from most, if not all, other middle-class, predominantly African American residential developments in the country.
Following the opening of an interurban railroad in 1908, over 154 acres of farmland was purchased by a white Washingtonian and platted as a suburban community for African Americans. Glenarden’s development was hampered by the existence of similar enclaves closer to the city, however. The population remained a modest 300 three decades later. Glenarden lacked basic services and was not served by public transportation. Houses were modest in size and materials; many were probably self-built.
If the circumstances were less than auspicious, the concern for creating a community was persistent. A civic association was formed and successfully lobbied for incorporation as a town in 1939. Over the next fifteen years advances were made in bringing utilities and bus service to Glenarden. A post office was established in 1950. Thereafter, highways made the area far more accessible than previously.
But the primary change occurred through development. Between 1957 and 1964 a number of new residential subdivisions were targeted to attract middle-class African Americans on land that was annexed by the town or on tangent acreage. As a result the population of Glen Arden increased around eightfold.
Equally important to Glenarden’s transformation, local officials aggressively pursued urban renewal funding for clearance and rehabilitation of the pre-1940 core, federally subsidized housing for moderate-income persons, and public housing for those of lower-income and the elderly. New civic and recreational facilities were undertaken as well. These coordinated initiatives were pioneering for the Washington area and unusual for black communities anywhere in the country. Arguably, too, Glenarden set the key example for subsequent developments that have made Prince George’s County among the largest concentrations of middle-class and affluent African Americans in the United States.
With few exceptions, revitalization efforts proved successful in the long term and have resulted in a strong, unified community, defying stereotypes of government-funded urban programs of the Great Society era. Examining what occurred at Glenarden between roughly 1955 and 1985 breaks new ground in our understanding of African-American ingenuity in creating and strengthening communities beyond the established.
The paper draws from extensive probing of period documents related to the community and the metropolitan area. Besides extensive fieldwork in Glen Arden, I have examined residential areas developed for the black middle class enclaves in Raleigh, Charlotte, Savannah, New Orleans, Dallas, Louisville, Jackson, Birmingham, Las Vegas, and a number of other metropolitan areas.
Session III – 1:00-2:30pm THE CONTINUING ROLE OF FOLKLORE RESEARCH IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE SCHOLARSHIP / Chair: Michael Ann Williams (Western Kentucky University), Roosevelt West Room
"Puerto Rico After Maria: Creative Reactivation of Traditions for Survival"
Gloria M. Colom, Indiana University firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper represents a part of my process of experiencing firsthand the catastrophic events of September 20, 2017, the day Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. The hurricane interrupted my doctoral research on the social uses of the marquesina, or open aired carports in Puerto Rico, along with every other aspect of daily life in the island. This paper attempts to address how community members shifted their relationship to space in order to survive, when the geography radically changed at both at the largest and most intimate of scales. Using ethnographic observation and documentation during this time of crisis, I was able to gain a snapshot of how the reactivation of bygone traditions, ingenuity, and the transformation of domestic spaces were used as tools for survival within the community I was living with.
At a time of maximum insecurity, primarily during the first month after the storm, in which food, water, and fuel were scarce, and roads and communication were down, neighbors reached out to each other, forming networks of communication and support. Rumor and gossip were used to spread news about resources even as neighbors worked together to clean the roads, repair infrastructure, and feed each other. Older community members taught younger ones how to wash with a board, how to prepare coffee with a strainer, and where to find pristine water springs in the mountains amongst other things. The home itself completely changed. For many the process of cleaning and throwing out would take precedence, for others, there would be no home to return to. For those whose houses remained habitable, daily routines and spatial uses would radically change due to the lack of electricity, water, and post storm heat.
This brings us back to the marquesina. Already an interstitial and flexible space, the open aired carport, became especially useful as it provided additional ventilation and sunlight. The marquesina provided additional storage for water and fuel, washing and drying of laundry, and for social use. Having a tradition of flexible uses even before the storm, the transition of ascribing post storm activities to the marquesina developed as part of a negotiation through trial and error as well as observation. Whether in the realm of the marquesina or region, community and passed knowledge changed people’s relationship with their surroundings during times of unimaginable crisis.
“Disaster Response and Rebuilding: The Cultural Landscape of Gatlinburg, A Case Study”
Sydney K. Varajon, Ohio State University email@example.com
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee is the town and tourist destination, Gatlinburg, which sustained significant fire damage in the early winter of 2016. I am engaged in ongoing efforts to document community response to the disaster, and the processes and politics of rebuilding. Through interviews with members of the Gatlinburg community and neighboring towns, I explore the effects of disaster on the cultural landscape, in terms of its built, natural, and social elements.
Gatlinburg is a popular tourist destination, boasting attractions such as the Gatlinburg Space Needle, a whole host of wedding chapels and gazebos, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its wide range of cultural and natural attractions make Gatlinburg a popular site for mountain vacations, as well as conferences of various kinds. With its log cabin flapjack houses and Hillbilly Mini-Golf, Gatlinburg has often been referred to as the “redneck Rockies.” In addition to these sites, there are multiple residential neighborhoods. Gatlinburg is, at once, tourist destination, wilderness, and home.
In late November 2016, fires erupted on Park Service land, scorching thousands of acres before following the mountain line and swallowing up almost three thousand built structures in the town of Gatlinburg. While the town center sustained significant damage, the majority of the affected properties were homes of local residents located on back roads.
The population of Gatlinburg includes longtime residents, tourists, and seasonally itinerant hospitality workers, thereby implying varying degrees of permanency and stability.
Through talking to local residents, I have learned about different aspects of the fires, and the subsequent relief and rebuilding efforts. While some foreground vernacular disaster response, other residents speak to concerns about building code implementation and enforcement in reconstruction.
In this paper, I explore how Gatlinburg’s status as a tourist destination, which also retains some qualities of stereotypical rural mountain communities, has affected local action in terms of disaster response, evacuation, and rebuilding efforts. I consider the physical, spatial layout of the town, as well as its web of social relationships as they contributed to effective disaster response, evacuation, and rebuilding efforts. Additionally, I explore plans for reconstruction, preservation, and prevention, and how they contribute to the recovery of built structures, natural areas, and livelihoods.
"Folklorists and the Restoration of the South Union Shaker Village Wash House"
Susanna Pyatt, Western Kentucky University firstname.lastname@example.org
In May 2017, the South Union Shaker Village (SUSV) museum in Auburn, Kentucky, purchased a large, 3-story brick wash house that was constructed in the mid-1850s by the South Union Shakers for their Centre Family. After being used by the women of this Family as laundry and workshop space for around 70 years, the Wash House had been converted into farm tenant housing in the early 1920s and then sold to a Catholic monastery in 1949, with extensive renovations occurring in the 1970s to turn the building into dormitory space. After purchasing the building, SUSV immediately began a long-term project to restore the interior of the Wash House to a more historic appearance.
In this presentation, I discuss the role and approaches of folklorists in this restoration project. The early stages of research have focused on archival records documenting the Shaker use of the building. Yet, the Wash House was inhabited by non-Shakers for close to a century, longer than the time it was used by the Centre Family. As SUSV staff and volunteers move forward with this project, we intend to pursue oral history fieldwork and other more folkloristic approaches to documenting the entire history of the building and its place in the landscape, both Shaker and non-Shaker. In doing so, we put our folkloristic training to use in developing a collaborative restoration project that is intended to strengthen ties between the museum and local communities, expand the museum’s scope of research and exhibits to include later stakeholders in the site, and tell a more complete story about the history of this place and its buildings.
Gerald L. Pocius, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Session III – 1:00-2:30pm INVENTED/CONSTRUCTED LANDSCAPES/ Chair: Virginia Price (Past President, SESAH), Madison North Room
"Scarlett's Dream House: The 1960s Antebellum Plantation at Stone Mountain, Georgia"
Lydia Mattice Brandt, University of South Carolina email@example.com
Philip Mills Herrington, James Madison University firstname.lastname@example.org
In the midst of the civil rights battles of the 1960s, Georgians worked to complete the nation’s largest Confederate monument at Stone Mountain, outside Atlanta. Begun more than forty years earlier, the colossal carving on a sheer face of granite was an aggressive statement about the continued power of white supremacy. At its base sat a new and subtler celebration of Lost Cause ideals: the “Antebellum Plantation.” A collection of vernacular structures gathered and moved from across the state in 1961-62, the for-profit concession memorialized the supposed domestic tranquility and beauty of the Old South. Positioned beneath the enormous figures of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis, the outdoor museum allowed visitors to explore the world they had fought to maintain.
Based in archival research and careful site documentation, this paper will demonstrate how the developers of the Antebellum Plantation disassembled and reconstructed history by using vernacular fragments to buttress a more aesthetically appealing, politically useful, and commercially viable past. Funded by the state and inspired by Colonial Williamsburg, the concessionaires used authentic but often heavily renovated and redecorated buildings to “re-create a typical Georgia cotton plantation.” Once a planter’s residence on the frontier of southwest Georgia, the centerpiece of the Antebellum Plantation had originally been the work of a carpenter-builder only loosely familiar with classical architecture. Its four oversized columns supported a heavy entablature that emerged awkwardly from a long wooden house. Following its “restoration” at Stone Mountain, the house now evoked a more refined past with thin tapered columns, vaulted ceilings, statuary niches, and a welcoming arms staircase. To its creators, the plantation also evoked the romance of Gone With the Wind. At the museum’s opening in 1963, one concessionaire exclaimed “can’t you just see Miss Scarlett swinging down those stairs?” The hiring of Butterfly McQueen to play “Prissy” at the site further blurred the line between authenticity and fantasy.
Decades after Southerners first inserted Lost Cause memorials into their contemporary everyday landscapes, they desired a stage onto which they could act out a vanished world. “Real” plantation buildings provided an essential sense of authenticity, while their gutted and fancifully redecorated interiors offered transportation to a selective past. Combining elements and methodologies of fiction like Gone With the Wind, historic sites, and amusement parks, the Antebellum Plantation gave visitors an immersive experience that softly extended the Lost Cause narrative so forcefully at work in the nearby carving.
“Fortified Sunrise: Architecture, Tourism, and the Landscape of Disappearance at Mount Rainier National Park”
J. Philip Gruen, Washington State University email@example.com
In 1930, landscape architect Ernest Davidson filed a memo regarding a new visitor accommodation district, called Sunrise, on a subalpine plateau along the northeastern side of Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park. Davidson noted that Yakama natives had historically used the site for summer gatherings, but wishing to provide a design of “local and historical interest” he dismissed indigenous architecture as an impossible design precedent. He found inspiration instead in “white pioneers” who erected buildings “for protection against Indians and other enemies.” The park service would erect two blockhouses, a museum, and a palisade in the manner of the frontier military vernacular for employees and tourists in this spectacular setting by 1938. Sunrise quickly became the park’s most popular area.
Modeling administrative buildings and tourist services after defensive fortifications that participated in the destruction of native lifeways cannot be so summarily dismissed. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, what is called the “Yakima Park Stockade Group” was noted for its consciously rustic treatment of natural materials, to which the precision of working drawings bears testament and for which Mount Rainier’s built environment has been celebrated. Yet only the “Yakima” name in the title recalls an indigenous past—a past constructed as a foil upon which to legitimize an allegedly shared heritage of colonization that could be claimed, at the time, by a rising white middle-class tourist clientele. Today, the complexities of the past at the Sunrise Historic District are largely invisible, rendered mute in an appreciation for meticulously whittled logs and an overall design that blends with its rugged, wilderness context.
To question park service decisions made almost ninety years ago dictated by an economic imperative for visitor services may seem anachronistic, and by the 1920s the practice of designing structures to recall pioneer building types was hardly new to the national park, or tourist, landscape. However, the political landscape at Sunrise reveals circumstances that complicate an aesthetically-driven narrative and suggests the limitations of a formal or contextual analysis. This paper draws upon the contested terrain of native-settler relations, treaty rights, and the architectural representation of “heritage” to broaden the discourse for public dissemination at Mount Rainier National Park—and wherever culture has been made to disappear.
“Pilgrims, Profits and Professionals: The Evolution of the Mount Vernon Pilgrimage”
Tim Davis, U. S. National Park Service firstname.lastname@example.org
This presentation will trace the evolution of the Mount Vernon pilgrimage, paying particular attention to the ways in which the landscape between Washington and Mount Vernon has been interpreted, experienced, and transformed in response to changing social, technological, and environmental factors. For over two centuries, various groups and individuals have attempted to define, interpret, shape, and reshape the journey from Washington to Mount Vernon, asserting that the trip through this storied landscape would serve as a testament to America’s achievements and an inspiration for the nation’s moral, social, material, and aesthetic development. The construction of Mount Vernon Memorial Highway between 1928 and 1932 has long been heralded as the culmination of commemorative impulses: a harmonious combination of picturesque aesthetics and state-of-the art technology produced by the open-minded collaboration of landscape architects and highway engineers united in the magnanimous pursuit of beauty, efficiency, and patriotic veneration. The attention showered on this project and its successor George Washington Memorial Parkway has overshadowed both earlier initiatives and the conflicts that arose between professional agendas and local practices, amateur efforts, and the historical and topographic attributes of the site. Along with foregrounding these tensions and illuminating earlier iterations of the Mount Vernon pilgrimage, this presentation will examine the role of race, class, and gender in the development, use, and interpretation of the banks of the Potomac between Washington and Mount Vernon. Sources include federal records, minutes of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, popular and professional periodicals, newspaper accounts, popular literature, and guidebooks to the national capital region.
Session III – 1:00-2:30pm ARCHITECTURE AND IDENTITY / Chair: William D. Moore (Boston University), Madison South Room
“A shared Heritage: Urban and rural experience on the banks of the Arctic Sea”
Susane Havelka, McGill University email@example.com
From historical anthropological studies on seasonal dwellings to contemporary inquiries on government housing’s effect on health, the relationship between Inuit and their urban and rural experience has been a recurring focus of research. Nevertheless, the urban experience of the structured villages where housing policy and designs destined to Inuit has persistently disregarded the deep-rooted knowledge that already exists in northern communities requires better data. How do Inuit conceive and create their relationship to space and to house and how does it affects their daily life?
Since the Second World War, the Canadian government has encouraged Inuit, a migrating hunter society, to settle in structured villages in order to access essential services. However, Inuit were never truly consulted on the design, size, or location of their government-owned accommodation. The result is housing ill-suited to Arctic conditions and neglectful of IQ, Inuit Qaujimajatukangit( Inuit perspectives or way of doing things).
Nevertheless, Inuit have produced a new generation of self-built, kinetic structures that incorporate both local and imported technologies and materials. This kinetic architecture, seen in all sorts of instances such as in traditional sleds, sheds-on-sleds, porches, additions, outbuildings and remote cabins, better reﬂects a contemporary Inuit community’s needs and aspirations.
By examining these frugal yet ﬂexible creations found in both rural and urban environments, I saw Inuit as important producers of a dynamic landscape and I argue that these self-driven constructions, despite their informal and hybrid composition, provide valuable insights into the creation of more appropriate and sustainable Arctic settlements. It blends modernism and traditional culture, contemporary technology and materials with Inuit design principles. It is found within the walls of government houses, in-between their cookie-cutter rows, and in a vast constellation of mobile hunting camps that reach out across the land.
This paper emphasizes the active and continuing Inuit role as partners in transformation. It views the post-contact clash of cultures, the rural versus the urban experience and the imposition of Canadian government remediation as simply another temporary disruptor to be assimilated into traditional culture and building practices. Indeed, in a few short decades, this northern crucible is beginning to forge a new and distinct vernacular architecture.
“Suburbs Without a City: When Mining Companies Developed Picturesque Neighborhoods”
Sarah Fayen Scarlett, Michigan Technological University firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens when an architectural form designed for one place is built and occupied in another place? Put another way, how does the landscape – material, social, and experienced – influence the meanings that people develop for a building? This paper explores this question by considering the social ramifications when remote mining companies in northern Michigan developed upscale neighborhoods filled with Queen Anne and progressive style houses designed for the urban periphery rather than the frontier fringe. These suburbs without a city provide an opportunity to recognize that landscape types, such as “suburb,” “company town,” or “ethnic enclave” often overlapped in the same location, and can help us reveal spatially embedded relational social identities.
This paper presents three upscale neighborhoods developed by mining companies between 1875 and 1920. They contained houses closely resembling patternbook designs built all over North America, but they played specific roles in the companies’ changing paternalistic strategies and actively realigned social relationships in this ethnically and economically diverse region. First, the failing Shelden-Columbian mining company platted East Houghton as a way to recoup its investment. Second, the Quincy Mining Company branched out into real estate development to augment its growing operations. It used restrictive covenants and spending minimums to attract merchants and professionals, and established Michigan’s first building and loan association. Third, second-generation mining executives in nearby Laurium used their profits from Arizona’s new copper mines to erect mansions like none other in the area, effectively transforming what had been a periphery mining region into the urban financial center for a distant industrial hinterland. The culmination of seven years of fieldwork, this paper draws on the full documentation of four houses and their landscapes, as well as contextualization with documents, photographs, maps, and oral histories.
This paper responds to recent scholarship about both company towns and suburbanization. Margaret Crawford has argued that between 1900 and 1930 the “new” company town came to resemble the burgeoning American suburbs. Single-family houses in nostalgic picturesque settings spatially and aesthetically separated residents from the very workplaces that buoyed their lifestyles. The examples in this paper suggest that the intermingling of suburban architecture with company town planning began decades earlier. This kind of fine-grained place-based study of suburbanization answers the call of Crawford herself who recently applauded research that reveals the diversity of experience in American suburbia.
“Visualizing the Invisible - Case Studies of Corner Entrances in Milwaukee Tied Houses”
Seung-youp Lee, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee email@example.com
This paper explores the roles of a corner entrance in representing one’s social identity by interpreting three case studies of tied houses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this research, I assume two things: firstly, everyday experiences are contested. Secondly, the everyday place is not a simple container for obtaining functions but a platform for accommodating interactions with others. These assumptions demand us to consider the everyday in different perspectives rather than take it for granted. While corner entrances are pervasive, there are only a few studies on them usually focusing on their efficiency. However, given that a corner entrance leads people to move a certain way, it subconsciously influences our daily lives regardless of whether people realize it or not.
Three cases were originally built as tied houses, including Pabst 1030, Pabst 9325, and Schlitz 1127. Providing that small-scaled commercial buildings usually employ a corner entrance, a tied house is appropriate to examine the role of it due to its scale. In addition, there were a large number of tied houses in the early twentieth century in Milwaukee owing to the development of the liquor industry. All three cases were established before 1904 and are currently used as a tavern or restaurant. This helps to better understand multiple scales and times that are closely interwoven with adopting a corner entrance.
Considering that people tend to take a corner entrance for granted, it is difficult to trace the origin of it. Instead, this paper attempts to look at people’s perceptions involving corner entrances. More specifically, relationships with a main façade and different roles of entrances depending on gender and social identity are at the center of this research. As primary and secondary sources, I interviewed the current and past owners of three cases, and regional historians. Also, archival research includes the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee and Madison County Historical Societies, and the Milwaukee city hall for pictures, permits, modification histories, and articles in mass media.
Building on these sources, this paper argues that a corner entrance plays a significant role in reflecting users’ social identity connecting with social atmospheres over time. Social exclusion from using a corner entrance and forced to use others, such as women or LGBT community, proves this point. Sometimes, this discrimination stopped by hiding or removing corner entrances even though the building is located at the intersection. This explanation makes this paper distinguished from existing interpretations which mostly emphasize the efficiency of a corner entrance.
Session IV – 3:00-4:30pm ISSUES IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE STUDIES / Chair: Thomas Carter (University of Utah), Kennedy Room
“The Problem of Gender in Vernacular Architecture”
Jessica Ellen Sewell, University of Virginia firstname.lastname@example.org
Gender has been recognized as an important lens of analysis for vernacular architecture studies for many years, at least since Sally McMurry’s 1988 article in Material Culture. In the early 1990s, at the same time that a flurry of books and articles addressed questions of women and gender in architecture more broadly, Rebecca Sample Bernstein and Carolyn Torma (1991) and Angel Kwolek-‐Folland
(1995) published articles in Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture (PVA) that addressed the broad question of how and why to study gender in vernacular architecture. They argued persuasively for asking questions about the role of gender in the creation and use of vernacular architecture, as well as paying attention to how ideas of gender powerfully shape the built environment. While works on gender have continued to be published sporadically in PVA and its successor Buildings and Landscapes (B&L), the broad rethinking of vernacular architectural studies proposed in these pioneering essays has not come to fruition.
Since the early 1990s, the variety of work published in PVA and B&L has expanded enormously. The geographical and chronological range has opened up, and questions of racialized space have entered the mainstream. Explorations of gender have not kept pace; explorations of sexuality are rare (the exception is Adams, 2000), and many articles addressing gender focus on explicitly female-‐only spaces, rather than exploring the role of gender in mixed-‐sex and male space (but see Moore 1995; Holdsworth 1995). This paper examines the trajectory of scholarship on gender in vernacular architecture and explores the traditions of vernacular architectural study that may stand in the way of taking gender seriously.
Vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes have traditionally been understood as expressing the ideals of the culture that created them. As scholars, we have learned to interrogate the built environment to uncover those ideals. However, as Kwolek-‐Folland argues, gender is often manifest in how spaces are used and understood as much or more than in their physical structure. The fetishization of built-‐object-‐based fieldwork can marginalize historical, anthropological, sociological, and interpretive methods that help to make gender visible. I argue, therefore, for a more complex interpretation of fieldwork, one that encompasses anthropologists’ conceptions of the field and historians’ notions of the archive, to help make it possible for a deeper exploration of the role of gender and sexuality to become central to the project of vernacular architecture study.
“Lending an Ear to Architectural History: Meyers Hof (1873-1972)”
Erin Eckhold Sassin, Middlebury College email@example.com
Florence Feiereisen, Middlebury College firstname.lastname@example.org
Textile factory owner Jacques Meyer meant well when he commissioned Meyers Hof, Berlin’s largest Mietskaserne (civil rental barrack) in the working class district of Berlin-Wedding in 1873. Initially housing more than 2,000 people in 257 apartments, along with small businesses and workshops, this “city within a city” not only constituted an affront to the sensibilities of middle class critics, but meant an assault on its residents’ senses---especially their ears.
Architectural history as a discipline has largely relied on visual and material sources, and while we do not contest the merit of the visual, we argue for the inclusion of an additional avenue to create a more sensual “picture”—the avenue of sound. Using Acoustic Ecology, we seek to add a layer to our understanding of buildings such as Meyers Hof to both broaden and deepen the study of vernacular architectural history. While research exists on the intersection of architectural form and the acoustics of cathedrals or concert halls, we contend that the marriage of Acoustic Ecology and architectural history is particularly useful when studying the everyday living and working spaces of socially and economically marginalized groups. Unlike “documentary” photographs, or a middle class journalist’s written account, the acoustic environment is staged and controlled to a lesser degree (i.e. most sounds are literally “background noise”). Considering the hegemonic position of the eye, we propose that the marginalized sense of hearing is a suitable approach to give marginalized groups a “voice.”
Lending an ear to architectural history, however, is no easy endeavor: unrecorded soundwaves are ephemeral physical entities and their reconstruction is made more difficult by the dominance of the visual, developed over centuries in the West. By mining architectural plans, artistic representations, and ear witness accounts in newspaper articles and police reports for sonic clues we have been able to recreate the everyday soundscapes of Meyers Hof. Our sonic case study juxtaposes sounds of modernity vs. pre-industrial soundscapes, investigates the relationship between sound production versus sound reception, and reads the Hof’s sounds as sonic markers of social well-being and unrest against the backdrop of German cultural and political history.
“VAF Architecture Tours as Tools of Social Change”
Arijit Sen, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee senA@uwm.edu
This presentation seeks to examine how tours of vernacular architecture address or prompt civic action. VAF tours present the everyday world as an object of analysis, experience, and examination. In addition to educating lay citizens the value and history of the built environment, VAF public tours offer “ways of seeing the world,” — an epistemic tool that encourages a variety of action-oriented goals such as, stewardship, remembering, community empowerment, and civic action.
The 2015 Devon Avenue tour offered by the Vernacular Architecture Forum argued that it is impossible to capture the complex transcultural and multilayered sense of place of this ethnic retail street by a snapshot study of buildings and landscapes or a sociological study of its people. The tour suggested a multipronged strategy in which time is a central unit of analysis. These time-scopes include the lens of historical time, the microscopic lens of everyday life, and the telescopic lens of geological time. The topography and soil constitution of this region, seen at the scale of geological time, situates the geography of this street and its subsequent human settlement. A sense of historical time helps us unpack the cultural complexity of this thoroughfare, ranging from an urban streetscape produced in the 1920s to the landscape of parks and greens carved into this neighborhood. A sensorial examination of the ethnic stores helps us explore how place is reproduced in ephemeral and transient ways. These time-scopes are simply methods to parse out the complexities of this cultural world; to tell stories of the built environment as a constantly changing palimpsest.
This presentation uses the case study of the Center Peace Neighborhood of Milwaukee to show how a timescope-based vernacular architecture tour reframes the familiar environment as sites of environmental, historical, and personal memory and, in doing so, produces new forms of democratic civic action. Since summer 2017, students, scholars, and community residents of this neighborhood have organized Jane-walks (Jane Jacobs inspired walking tours) based on the 2015 VAF time-scope tour template. Architectural, environmental, ethnographic and social data collected during field work are used in these community walks to generate further discussion around emerging themes and issues. These walks have uncovered local and lay knowledge around history, construction, maintenance, and stewardship of the built environment. They have spurred new forms of grass-roots civic actions including new street-memorials, pop-up designs, and building plans. Indeed, this case study demonstrates how VAF architectural study-tours can become powerful tools for future social action/activism.
Session IV – 3:00-4:30pm VACATIONLAND Vacation, Recreation, and Leisure Settings / Chair: Michael J. Chiarappa (Quinnipiac University), Roosevelt West Room
“One Land, Two American Dreams: Rediscovering the Secondary duPont Narrative at James Madison’s Montpelier”
Sarah Sanders Potere, AECOM email@example.com
In 1901 William duPont, Sr. of the Delaware duPont family purchased a large tract just outside of the small rural town of Orange, Virginia. Located over 200 miles from the family's seat in Wilmington, this swath of land was the remnant of President James Madison's Montpelier. Following acquisition of the property, duPont and his successors transformed the long-forgotten plantation into a thriving gentleman’s estate. Despite duPont’s addition of over 150 buildings to Montpelier's modern cultural landscape, little attention has been given to preserving the uniquely intact collection of twentieth-century buildings that personify the duPont legacy.
Within the greater context of Montpelier’s history—and the way in which this history is currently presented at the historic site—the duPont’s story is deemed a secondary narrative. Secondary narratives are most easily defined as narratives considered non-essential to the primary interpretation goals of an historic site. Given the established significance criteria in the United States, secondary narratives are currently undervalued and as such often difficult to address. The duPont influence at Montpelier serves as an ideal lens through which to explore this challenge, given that the estate’s current landscape clearly embodies more than one period of significance. Only two Madison-era buildings remain, in contrast to over 130 nineteenth and twentieth-century buildings scattering the property.
The paper investigates the treatment of secondary narratives at historic sites, utilizing Montpelier as the primary case study. Through this lens, the paper explores the inclusion of alternative histories within site interpretation, challenges the currently accepted term “period of significance,” and proposes a plan of more responsible historic site stewardship. To guide the revaluation of the secondary narratives, this paper explores an alternative value-based approach, similar to the ‘heritage values’ utilized by England’s English Heritage, to supplement the current federally recognized significance criteria in the United States.
“The Early-to-mid Twentieth Century Equine Landscapes of Aiken and Camden, South Carolina”
Mary Fesak, Clemson University and the College of Charleston firstname.lastname@example.org
During the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, wealthy northerners developed the South Carolina cities of Aiken and Camden into important winter resorts known as Winter Colonies. South Carolina’s mild winters and accessibility by rail attracted Gilded Age elites. As part of the recreational social activities, the wealthy developed golf courses, polo clubs, and fox hunts. Vacationing thoroughbred racehorse owners realized that the mild winter climate was ideal for training, leading them to establish training facilities and racetracks during the early-to-mid twentieth century. These training facilities cemented the towns’ statuses as important winter training centers, leading major racing farms to construct or board their horses at stables near the racetracks. This paper analyzes Aiken and Camden’s equine landscapes to understand how the barns reflected local vernacular building practices and design aesthetics. It also provides insight into how the equine landscapes reflected class, gender, and racial hierarchies.
The paper examines training barns located on or near the Aiken Mile Track and the Aiken Training Track, as well as the barns at the Springdale Race Course and the Camden Training Track. The spaces inside the barns and the barnyards are evaluated using diagrams of public and private space, the functions of each space, and the use of space by class, race, and gender. The paper also uses sightline analysis and architectural evaluations to determine owners’ prioritization of spaces and presentation of themselves and their race barns to the public and their peers. The spatial analysis of the horse barns is supplemented by archival materials including period photographs, maps, plats, correspondence, newspapers, magazine articles, and oral histories to gain insight into the local racing culture.
This paper recovers inclusive narratives of the people who lived and worked in these spaces. African Americans who lived in or near the stables provided the labor necessary to training racehorses. Additionally, upper-class women, like Marion duPont Scott, challenged the male domination of the thoroughbred industry by constructing their own training facilities where they produced champion racehorses. This paper will recognize the contributions of African Americans and women to the equine landscapes, thoroughbred industry, and racing culture.
“’Big Sellers of Sunshine:’ The Mackle Company’s Efforts in Retirement and Vacation Homebuilding in Florida, 1955-‐65”
Anna Vemer Andrzejewski, University of Wisconsin, Madison email@example.com
In October 1958, Mackle Company of Miami ran a two-‐page advertisement in Life magazine with a headline that read: “Now, Make your Florida Dreams Come True.” For $10 down and $10/month, one could secure a lot on which to build a ~$10,000 house in the Mackle Development of Port Charlotte on the central Florida gulf coast, “a vacation home now” or a “retirement home later.” Mackle’s success had propelled them to the forefront of national homebuilders; House and Home labeled them #1 that year with 2,504 housing starts. What accounts for Mackle’s success? While promises of Florida’s climate and its low taxes helped propel Mackle to the forefront of the American homebuilding industry, it also related to the postwar building industry’s continued reinvention of itself in the aftermath of the initial building boom (1944-‐55).
This paper traces the history of the Mackle Company alongside other postwar builders in Florida and the southeastern U.S. as they sought to develop new markets and new clients during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Mackle Company began - like many merchant builders - building veterans’ homes in the aftermath of World War II. By the mid 1950s, that market was not only saturated but non-‐existent; builders struggled to find new markets. Some builders, such as Madison-‐based Marshall Erdman, moved out of housing altogether. Others, such as Ryan Homes studied by James A. Jacobs in his recent book, tried to convince homebuyers to “upgrade” with bigger homes in the latest styles. Mackle, meanwhile, recognized the potential market in the Sunbelt, and beginning in the mid 1950s cultivated a new market in vacation and retirement homes. Mackle was not alone; House and Home abounds with advertisements during the late 1950s and 1960s showcasing the vacation/retirement home in the southeast.
Using evidence from newspapers and trade magazines as well as archives of Mackle and other retirement builders from the late 1950s and early 1960s, this paper brings to light an understudied dimension of the postwar building industry. Examining retirement housing also allows us to better understand the building industry after World War II by showing how it evolved from its initial “boom” (surrounding veterans homes) and accommodated new markets in the later 1950s and 1960s. Finally, it suggests the important role of the “new south” in the postwar building industry, which has received far less attention than large scale developments on the east and west coasts.
Session IV – 3:00-4:30pm ERASURE IN THE URBAN VERNACULAR LANDSCAPE / Chair: Aaron Wunsch (University of Pennsylvania), Madison North Room
In his 1895 article “The Clearing of Mulberry Bend,” pioneering photojournalist and urban reformer Jacob Riis lauds the precedent-setting municipal demolition of sub-standard housing in New York City’s notorious Five Points neighborhood. Slum clearance via eminent domain has remained one significant way that swaths of urban landscape are erased and remade in contemporary U.S. cities. Earlier, in 1845, poet and sometime building speculator Walt Whitman identifies and soon bemoans “the pull-down-and-build-over-again spirit,” a facet of American character too ready to demolish “something noble, stout, and true” in the name of appearances. “Good-bye, old houses!” he laments, “There was that about ye which I hold it no shame to say I loved passing well.” Gentrification is also nothing new.
Yet, erasure in the urban vernacular landscape is more subtle and complex than the commonplaces of large-scale urban renewal, or piecemeal gentrification, might suggest—engaging individuals and communities in locally situated entanglements of social, cultural, political, and economic forces. New research on redlining, for example, maps the legacy of discrimination onto contemporary cities and communities in everyday ways. From ownership patterns and food deserts, to poverty, unemployment, and the dynamics of policing, the localized experiences of urban residents are shaped by a legacy of erasure as much as by survivals. Derelict houses, teardowns, illegal dump sites—but also thriving community gardens—all grow from the effacement of what came before, block by block, building by building.
As preservationists we seek to nurture and protect the human-built landscapes around us, which always carry traces of the past. But built environments are never static; they are also always subject to individual and collective renovation, reinterpretation, amplification, memory and forgetting as time, nature and culture take their course. This session brings together case studies from particular neighborhoods in and around four East Coast cities—Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia—to explore the situated processes of erasure in contemporary urban vernacular landscapes with an eye toward changes in meaning at the local level. Each addresses how physical erasures through demolition work to shape, reshape or disappear communities and their legacies beyond physical traces alone. Together, the presentations work to demonstrate that in an era when the uses of history and memory are newly in the daily news, we do well to consider loss as well as survival, to recover what was forgotten, in thinking through the vital importance of vernacular landscapes for daily lived experience.
“Remembering MOVE; or, the Everyday Spaces of Extraordinary Events”
Susan Garfinkel, Library of Congress firstname.lastname@example.org
In June of 2017 Philadelphians dedicated a historic marker at a corner of Osage Avenue in deep West Philadelphia, near the site of a fire that destroyed a neighborhood thirty-two years before. “On May 13, 1985, at 6221 Osage Avenue,” reads the text, “an armed conflict occurred between the Phila. Police Dept. and MOVE members. A Pa. State Police helicopter dropped a bomb on MOVE’s house. An uncontrolled fire killed eleven MOVE members, including five children, and destroyed 61 homes.”
MOVE, short for “The Movement,” is mostly gone now. They were a politically radical, predominantly-African American back-to-nature intentional community that formed in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village neighborhood in the early 1970s. Based on the teachings of a 41-year-old handyman Vincent Leaphart—soon John Africa—encouraged by a social work graduate student from nearby Penn, the group sought to fight off the evils of modern life by emulating a hunter-gatherer lifestyle: eating raw foods, scavenging, composting, eschewing modern technology, harboring stray dogs. They grew dreadlocks and protested animal captivity over at the Zoo.
By 1976 and ‘77, some dozen adult MOVE members and many children were living communally—some say squatting—in a ca. 1880 Victorian duplex on the corner of 33d and Pearl Streets, north of Market. With time they became erratic and violent, establishing a fortified compound, haranguing neighbors via loudspeakers, and stockpiling weapons. Police erected a blockade to starve them out. On August 8, 1978, the city went in to oust MOVE members from their home with battering rams and water cannons. Shots erupted; police and firefighters were injured and an officer was killed. The Victorian house was bulldozed. Nine MOVE members were sentenced to life in prison. And by the early 1980s. the cycle of fortification, haranguing behavior, municipal intervention, violent confrontation—and the razing of a landscape—would play itself out again with even more disastrous results at and around the Osage Avenue location—where the proximity of narrow gridded streets and contiguous row house housing stock made both MOVE’s imposition and the city’s reaction that much more consequential.
So, what of the houses, the city streets, the neighborhoods? The shared, the local, the everyday? The irony of a back-to-nature cult holed up in a polychrome-brick middle class Victorian duplex replete with its bilaterally symmetrical millwork wooden porch? Much has been written on the oddities of MOVE, the disruption of lives, the seeming lack of consequences for officials of “the city that bombed itself.” The houses on 33d Street and on Osage have been replaced (but badly); for most Philadelphians not directly involved, the vivid evocation of MOVE has faded from view. In this paper I work to untangle two intertwined aspects of what happened at the physical sites of MOVE confrontation: how the pre-existing shape of the city’s everyday built environment shaped the events that led to overt conflict; how the legacy of MOVE now shapes the everyday built environments that still bear its deep but sometimes hidden scars. Violent erasures come in many forms. How might the physical forms of MOVE’s sometime-violent legacy help us, like that newly-erected historical marker, to remember?
“Tearing Down "Blight" in Baltimore”
Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritage email@example.com
Decades of demands by local residents and policy-makers to "fix up or tear down" vacant rowhouses in Baltimore, Maryland are expanding under Project CORE, a new program created in 2016 to provide millions in new state funding for local demolition priorities. While the program includes grant funding for stabilization and rehabilitation, the main goal is to erase blocks and blocks of the "blighted" mostly vacant rowhouses concentrated in the historically segregated districts of east and west Baltimore. Tearing down old buildings while following state and federal preservation law and giving legal due process to private property owners, however, is more complicated than elected officials acknowledge when they promise to make the problems of the past disappear. What room do the politics and policy of demolition leave for residents to mourn the loss of a building or neighborhood? How do residents and advocates envision the benefits of demolition? In this presentation, I use research on Baltimore's history of vacancy and demolition and interviews with contemporary neighborhood advocates and public administrations to explain how demolition is experienced and made meaningful by Baltimoreans and their government.
“Suburbia’s Great Rebuilding: Gentrification, Displacement, and Erasure”
David Rotenstein, Invisible Montgomery firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a great rebuilding underway in America’s oldest suburbs. Fueled by capitalism and driven by consumption, the nation’s suburban landscapes are being remade, rebuilt, and retrofitted. The communities built on the periphery of the nation’s earliest cities are experiencing pressures first seen in the inner city during the second half of the twentieth century. Suburban landscapes developed as early as the 1880s and as recently as the post-World War II building boom increasingly are losing their sense of place. Gentrification, teardowns, and poverty all are finding a home in the suburbs.
As cultural landscapes and buildings are erased, so too are people of color. Like its urban counterpart, suburban gentrification results in the displacement of black bodies and black history. This paper explores how suburban spaces are converted for whiter and wealthier residents. These residents remake residential subdivisions and adjacent commercial districts into hipster havens dominated by McMansions, brewpubs, dog parks, designer bakeries, and trendy eateries. In addition to the brick and mortar gentrification signs, newcomers also construct new narratives about their community’s history; historic preservation programs become tools to reinforce a false sense of history that privileges sanitized origin narratives, architecture, and cultural landscapes over others. In other words, historic preservation in these places reproduces Jim Crow doctrine: it is separate and unequal.
The data for this paper derives from six years of research in the Atlanta and Washington, D.C., suburbs. Using published histories, historic preservation surveys and context documents, and extensive interviews with residents, I look at how history and historic preservation are produced in spaces of change. I begin with a question: “Where can I go to see African American history sites in your community”? Very often, the answer is, “There aren’t any.” In communities with long histories of an African American presence, I interrogate that answer to identify the processes that lead residents, black and white, to the conclusion that African American historic places and spaces have been erased or exist elsewhere in contexts mediated by whites.