Chicago Cultural Center Dome
Atop Preston Bradley Hall, the world's largest Tiffany art glass dome glitters again after a painstaking facelift. Each of the 30,000 pieces of glass in the 1897 dome was repaired, the ornate cast-iron frame restored, and the concrete shell above replaced with a translucent exterior dome—allowing natural light to flood the room once more. During a previous rehabilitation, glass "jewels" meant to catch and reflect light had been turned to face upward—the wrong way. Now, the jewels face visitors below, and the bright glass sparkles just as Louis Comfort Tiffany originally intended.
Nemours Mansion and Gardens
Alfred I. duPont's formal French gardens and mansion in Wilmington, Del., are emerging from the first phase of a 10-year, $39 million restoration. Workers have built a new visitors center, updated mechanical and electrical systems, and revived original paint schemes. Restoring the 12-foot-tall statue Achievement, which crowns the central fountain, was a major feat. Experts stripped away layers of paint, restored the damaged bronze, and applied sheets of gold leaf—so the statue looks just as it did at its unveiling in 1930.
This modest town just a few miles southwest of Orlando has preserved an idyllic Main Street, complete with dirt roads, three National Register properties, and a quaint police station. Now a local developer has purchased four acres of the small downtown and intends to construct a 50,000-square-foot commercial center. Local activists fear that the complex would cause overwhelming traffic congestion and destroy Windermere's distinctive small-town character. Read more
Garland H. Jones Building
With an exterior of white marble and panes of blue glass, the 1961 Garland Jones Building, formerly the First Federal Bank Building, is an eye-catching landmark in downtown Raleigh, N.C. Recently, Wake County officials announced plans to raze the building and construct a new, $214 million judicial complex in its place. Local preservationists have expressed outrage. County officials say the building is not historic, but the Garland Jones will be eligible for the National Register in three years.
St. Brigid's Church
Miracle on 34th Street? No, make that Avenue B. In late May, an anonymous donor gave $20 million to save this 1849 Gothic Revival church in New York City's East Village. Closed in 2001 because of structural problems, the Catholic sanctuary faced the specter of demolition. A series of legal appeals kept bulldozers at bay, and now supporters hope that the building will be restored and reopened for services. St. Brigid's was originally constructed as a haven for refugees from the Irish potato famine. More recently, it has served a largely Latino congregation. Read more
Hoboken Ferry Terminal and Clock Tower
The skyline along the Hudson River in Hoboken, N.J., shined a little brighter this spring after the 1907 Hoboken Ferry Terminal and Clock Tower were lighted for the first time in 50 years. The clock tower went dark in the 1950s, and ferry slips were vacated in 1967. In 2004, the state's transit authority began restoring the Beaux-Arts terminal and repairing its elegant copper facade. Though the original 230-foot-tall clock tower was demolished in the 1950s, architects designed a replica as part of a $115 million effort that will culminate in 2010, when passengers can again travel from the historic terminal to Lower Manhattan.