Owners Ann and Robert Betteridge lived in Crestmead, an antebellum mansion in Pilot Grove, Mo., for nearly 30 years. They had lovingly restored the 1857 Italianate-Greek Revival residence, which included a freestanding staircase and observatory, and gave frequent tours of the house to local schoolchildren and tourists. In early March, an electrical fire devastated Crestmead. The blaze destroyed the top floor of the house and much of the Betteridges' historical memorabilia collection, including original land grants signed by Andrew Jackson. The Betteridges plan to rebuild on the property, salvaging as much of Crestmead's original structure as possible.
Varsity Twin Cinema Theater
The Varsity Theater, a 1939 art moderne landmark in Honolulu, was one of only two surviving theaters designed by noted Hawaiian architect C.W. Dickey (1871-1942). Kamehameha Schools acquired the movie house in June 2007 and planned to renovate and lease it to a commercial tenant, but repairing structural damage would have cost more than $3 million. In late March, the owners salvaged light fixtures and picture screens, gave them to a local high school, and donated the neon "Varsity" sign to the Varsity bar across from the theater. They then demolished the building. A parking lot will be built on site.
Fox Oakland Theater
When the city of Oakland, Calif., bought the Fox Theater in 1996, vagrants were camped inside and mushrooms were growing out of the carpet—a far cry from the exotic grandeur that distinguished the 1928 movie palace during its heyday in the 1930s and '40s. The theater closed in 1966 and remained neglected for decades. The city purchased it and began a $60 million renovation, aided in part by a National Trust/American Express Partners in Preservation grant. This fall it will reopen as a performance hall and the permanent home of the Oakland School for the Arts.
Last spring, the owner of New York City's Moondance Diner—a 1933 landmark famous for the yellow, rotating crescent moon that crowned its distinctive facade—announced plans to raze the building and construct a high-rise in its place. That's when preservationist Michael Perlman, "the Diner Man," found Cheryl and Vince Pierce, who bought the Moondance for $7,500 and moved it more than 2,100 miles to their hometown of La Barge, Wyo. They soon began a complete restoration, retaining the original floors and sprucing up the exterior. The Moondance reopens this summer, and business should boom: It will be the only restaurant in the town of 600.
Johnson Creek Covered Bridge
Damaged in recent years by flooding and vandalism, the 134-year-old Johnson Creek Covered Bridge in Robertson County, Ky., faced twin threats: the danger of collapse and lack of funding. The bridge, one of only 12 publicly owned covered bridges in the state, needed stabilized support beams, replacement footings, and roof repairs. This February, county officials secured $425,000 through the U.S. Department of Transportation to restore the 131-foot-long crossing. The bridge will reopen to foot traffic early next year.
Built in 1929 along historic Route 66 in Lincoln, Ill., this beloved restaurant served some of the best sandwiches and schnitzel around. And with its quirky allusions to a Dutch windmill, it caught the eye as well. Abandoned in 1996, this spirited example of American roadside architecture deteriorated until the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County acquired it in 2006. Last summer, the group began renovating the structure for use as a Route 66 museum and photo-op attraction. With restoration underway, the Mill will likely reopen next year.