Trust Me

Berke at Work

Credit: Art by Richard Thompson

Snow-capped peaks, a lighthouse, a city skyline, a farm—even the sun, moon, and stars. They're all to be found in the winning entry to the Trust's National Preservation Week poster contest. The artist of this ultracolorful creation, William Denton Ray of Indianapolis, calls it a "childlike collage of our landscape." Indeed, in the foreground stand two silhouetted children, a key to reaching the "new frontiers in preservation," the Preservation Week slogan. P.W. (May 3-9) is almost upon us, so get in the spirit by viewing Ray's art, the second- and third-place posters—by Steve Veach of San Diego and Nancy Ellis and Jay Denny of Trinidad, Colo., respectively—and 10 honorable mentions at

… Rescue and reuse have earned the Trust a tribute—the John Wesley Powell Prize. Bestowed in March by the Society for History in the Federal Government, the award salutes the Trust for aiding McGraw Ranch in Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park. Dating to 1884, the McGraw was first a cattle operation, then a popular dude ranch from the 1930s through the '80s. The National Park Service had planned to raze the ranch's buildings in 1993, but the Trust's mountains/plains office persuaded park officials to go with rehab instead—and raised more than $800,000 toward that end. What's more, 80 Trust members pitched in to rehab some of McGraw's log structures. The ranch reopened last fall as a center for researching the park's cultural and natural resources.

… Ohio will restore the 1828 Blaine Bridge, which is its oldest span and the last three-arched survivor of the old National Road from Maryland to Illinois. Long ago upstaged by bigger bridges, the sandstone-block Blaine sank into decay, was closed in 1994, then endured the collapse of one arch. The state transportation department (ODOT) fixed that damage, and in 2001 the legislature named the structure the state's official bicentennial bridge. (Ohio turned 200 in 2003.) But the locals wanted more, so nearby resident Sue Douglass founded the Blaine Bridge Community Preservation Project to push for full restoration. Two years of hard work later, they won. In February, odot said it would restore the entire bridge, using $1.6 million in federal transportation-enhancements funds. "This is major news here," says Douglass. Work on the Blaine, five miles west of Wheeling, W.Va., should begin this month and be done before the snow flies in the fall.

… The Trust came to the aid of Jeffersonville, Ind., after more than half of a downtown block was devoured by fire on Jan. 11. To stabilize what remained of the seven late-19th- and early-20th-century buildings, Jeffersonville Main Street and the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana started an emergency fund, to which the Trust's Midwest office gave $5,000. Although ultimately only one of the buildings was saved (and will be restored), says Main Street Director Jay Ellis, the rest will be rebuilt to closely match their precursors. Four of the properties had been recently rehabbed as part of the growing revival of the business district of the Ohio River city.

… Let me toot this magazine's horn. One of the pieces in Preservation's Place department—"Monuments to Our Better Nature" by Michael Byers—will be republished later this year in The Best American Travel Writing 2004 (Houghton Mifflin). In the essay, which appeared in our January/February 2003 issue, Byers returns to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to contemplate what its noble buildings and spaces mean, what they inspire. Well done, Michael—twice.

… Do old road plans ever die—or even fade away? The gray-bearded scheme for extending the Paseo del Norte through the west side of Albuquerque, N.M., makes me wonder. First proposed in 1981, the road would run through the northern part of Petroglyph National Monument, endangering thousands of Indian rock drawings; that threat put them on the Trust's first 11-most-endangered list, in 1988. Years of study and debate ensued. Finally, Albuquerque voters rejected the plan last fall when they killed a city bond issue. Done deal? Nope. After prodding from state Sen. Joseph Carraro, Gov. Bill Richardson has now decided to fund the road—but with four conditions: analysis of transportation alternatives, enhanced protection of the national monument, official support from the city council, and a guarantee that the project is "legally defensible."

… The whitefish came from the Straits of Mackinac, lamb from the land of the Navajo, and scallops from the waters off Massachusetts. Bona fide foods from across the country starred in a dinner cooked by top chefs from four of the Trust's Historic Hotels of America. The Mar. 18 feast, the fifth sponsored by HHA, was hosted by the James Beard Foundation in the Greenwich Village townhouse where the late cookery giant lived. Collaborating were Hans Burtscher from Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Mich.; Laurent Poulain, The Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston; Fernando Divina, Hermosa Inn, Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Alicia Prescott, Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, S.C. Soup to nuts? How about tartar of buffalo tenderloin to pan-fried lemon angel food cake (topped with Carolina gold rice ice cream).

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