Trust Me

Arnold Berke

Credit: Art by Richard Thompson

It's hard to believe cities still dis their downtowns, but such is the case in Stockton, Calif., where the local redevelopment agency hopes to raze up to seven historic hotels for parking (needed, it says, for downtown to be competitive). But the group Save Old Stockton (SOS) says the hotels, built from 1874 to 1914 when Stockton was a regional center and a port on the San Joaquin River, could be reborn as housing and shops, dovetailing with the city's dreams of reviving its historic core. "There are so many reasons to retain those buildings," says SOS member Linda Derivi. Aided by a $5,000 National Trust for Historic Preservation grant, SOS sued the city in late 2007, gaining an injunction against the demolition. The matter is now in negotiation.

… Can't make it to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio any time soon? Then pay a virtual visit to the National Trust historic site in Oak Park, Ill., courtesy of a new DVD produced by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. The two-disc set—which includes a 60-minute documentary, 28 minutes of interviews with notables like FLW grandson Eric Lloyd Wright, and an interactive tour of the house—profiles the 1889-1898 structure, where the architect lived for the first 20 years of his career. "The Home and Studio was really the basis—the grounding—for his future work, for everything that came after," says Eric Lloyd Wright on the DVD. Buy it online at

… A referendum in the Chicago suburb of Kenilworth, okayed by 64 percent of Election Day voters, halted the village board's plan to nominate the entire town—800-plus buildings, mainly houses—to the National Register of Historic Places. Referendum supporters feared (incorrectly) that register status would restrict property rights. In 2006, the National Trust placed Kenilworth on its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, citing the rise of teardowns there. The board has since withdrawn the nomination. Read more recent news about this Chicago suburb known for its McMansions

… Every neighborhood should boast a school that kids can walk to. The National Trust, which for years has been helping cities preserve these community anchors rather than build new schools on the edge of town, recently granted $33,000 to promote neighborhood-centered schools in six states. Recipients are the Local Government Commission (California), the Healthy Schools Campaign (Illinois), Innovation Partnership (Oregon), the South Carolina Design Arts Partnership, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, and Preservation Pennsylvania. "When older neighborhood schools are abandoned," says National Trust President Richard Moe, "it's a waste of both physical resources and shared history."         

For more photos, stories, and tips, subscribe to the print edition of Preservation magazine.