Trust Me

Arnold Berke

Credit: Art by Richard Thompson

Once again, the largesse of Lowe's is aiding preservation. Up to 20 Rosenwald Schools, built in the early 20th century for African American students in the South, will be eligible for grants ($50,000 maximum) from the home improvement company's Charitable and Educational Foundation. Funded by Sears Roebuck chief Julius Rosenwald, some 5,000 of the primary and secondary schools rose in 15 states between 1913 and 1932, but fewer than 10 percent survive. In 2002, the National Trust placed them on its 11-most-endangered list and launched the Rosenwald Schools Initiative, working with scholars, activists, and state and local organizations to research and promote the structures. Now the foundation’s grants will be used to help restore them. For more on the Lowe's gift and on the initiative, go to


  You may recall the Coker House, the decaying 1852 dwelling not far from Jackson, Miss., that Preservation covered last year (Reporter, March/April). Used as a Civil War battlefield hospital, the house is owned by the state, and funding complexities stalled its attempt to save the National Historic Landmark. The Coker seemed doomed, but a year on, things have improved. Under an agreement to get federal transportation money for part of the project, the state committed funds to finish the job. Also, the Trust's southern office secured $13,000 from the Battlefield Preservation Fund for architectural help. Plans are now to have the house back in shape by next spring. 


Change the world. That's what HGTV wants to do in New Orleans and four other communities, where in April it will send teams of volunteers to boost revitalization and environmental improvement projects. The channel launched its "Change the World, Start at Home" campaign in November by asking its audience to check out such ventures in 10 market areas, from Portland, Ore., to Boston, then vote on-line for their favorite. The winners—Baltimore, Denver, the Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.—were announced by HGTV on Jan. 1 during its coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. The National Trust, Rebuilding Together, and the Natural Resources Defense Council are partners in "Change the World, Start at Home."


… Some good news from the land-use front: Voters in Oregon approved Measure 49 in November. Their OK (the initiative passed by 62 percent) is expected to ease problems caused by 2004’s Measure 37, which required state and local governments to reimburse landowners if use restrictions lowered the value of their properties. The cheaper alternative was simply not to enforce those regulations, crippling the state's growth-control system. "Voters sent a clear message," said 1000 Friends of Oregon after the new measure passed. "Oregonians love this state and they want her farms, forests and special places protected from rampant, unplanned development."


… When the National Trust and its siblings worldwide met in New Delhi, India, in December, on the agenda for the 53 countries represented was the creation of a formal alliance. Thus was born the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO), a coalition that aims to confront the threats to heritage sites posed by decay, natural disasters, wars, and unprecedented economic growth. The launch, said Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari in his keynote speech, "takes conservation back to the people, the ultimate guarantors as well as the beneficiaries of the preservation of their heritage."  

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