Trust Me

Inside the National Trust


By Arnold Berke

Credit: Richard Thompson

The number of decaying structures on Ellis Island just shrank by one—the Ferry Building, which reopened in April after seven years of restoration inside and out. Topped with a ziggurat-ish art deco tower, the 1934 building is the first to be fixed up on the New Jersey portion of the island, where some 29 more await renovation. (The Trust named this side of Ellis a most-endangered place in 1992.) Save Ellis Island, Inc., working with the National Park Service, led the project, funded by the federal, state, and county governments, Save America's Treasures, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., Tourism Cares, the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation, and others. The Ferry Building replaced an earlier edifice used for the same purpose: sending immigrants on to new American lives.

... After you visit certain Trust historic sites, take some of their charm home. The architecture, interiors, and gardens of six of these landmarks have inspired a new line of Karastan carpets. Touring Brucemore, Drayton Hall, Filoli, Lyndhurst, Oatlands, and Shadows-on-the-Teche, designers conjured up eight patterned and two plain carpets reflecting styles and details they encountered.  Each one comes in a wide range of shades. Karastan, part of flooring giant Mohawk Industries, is giving a percentage of sales to the Trust. The carpets expand the Trust's Design in America series of furnishings inspired by places the Trust has preserved. View the new collection at

... Say you love an old building that needs a new use to survive. You feel it has a great future but have to prove it to others (and yourself). Then pick up Preservation Books' new Feasibility Assessment Manual for Reusing Historic Buildings, by Donovan Rypkema, a handy and thorough manual that will take you step by step through the process of answering the ultimate question: Will it work? Guides to selecting an assessment team, forming goals, collecting and weighing information, and writing a feasibility report are included, along with a CD-ROM with spreadsheets to help calculate capital and operating costs, income, and expenses. Order at (202) 588-6296 or at

... The ever-expanding Historic Hotels of America has six more members, including two country retreats. Tubac Golf Resort occupies an old ranch south of Tucson, Ariz., and Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs is modeled after an Italian villa. Back in town are the Jumeirah Essex House in New York City, soaring over Central Park since 1931, and the 1926 Sofia Hotel in downtown San Diego. Oklahoma City boasts two—the Colcord, born out of a 1910 office building, and the 1911 Skirvin Hilton, vacant for years and recently reopened after a top-to-bottom restoration.

... Be sure to hop on-line to learn the latest on how the Trust helps communities nationwide. Our growing website now offers videos, two of which explain the Trust's Rural Heritage Development Initiative in the Arkansas Delta and central Kentucky. Local residents, preservationists, and merchants praise the historic and scenic assets each region offers, describe the issues it faces—from languishing town centers to inappropriate development—and voice their hopes for the future. Go to and scroll down to "pilot projects." Stay current also by checking this magazine's website at, your top source for breaking news as well as updates of Preservation stories.


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