PROTECTING RESOURCES IN OHIO’S COUNTIES AND TOWNSHIPS

By- Nathan Bevil, Young Ohio Presevationists

While the State of Ohio is known for its industrial heritage the sites associated with that history are quite limited. Beyond our cities and villages are all the farms and cross roads communities that make up the Ohio landscape—the barns, fields, cemeteries, roadside stands, and forests that have been inhabited for over 200 years. And then there are the countless resources we don’t see—the archaeological sites that are hidden beneath the ground that tell the long story of Ohioans that predate European contact. All of these sites and places, above and below ground, make up a large part of the story of Ohio. Yet many of them are in danger.

In the State of Ohio historic preservation is only as strong as your local government. In cities and villages you can create just about any sort of local historic preservation ordinance you want. The same is not true for counties and townships. According to the Ohio Revised Code anything outside of a municipality has limited power, meaning that historic and archaeological resources located in those unincorporated areas are at risk.

The loss of rural resources is especially distressing. As farms are consolidated into larger corporate enterprises the need for individual farmsteads is eliminated. Barns, outbuildings, and even the farmhouse can be demolished to make way for more crops. Small crossroads communities, serving the scattered farms within the township, are decimated—too small to remain a village. Small commercial buildings are left to collapse, citizens driving further and further to big-box retailers and strip malls. The community character is lost to rot.

Archaeological resources are even more threatened. Between oil and gas exploration and ever expanding corporate farming there is little to protect archaeological resources if they are uncovered. There has been limited survey of these sites and this has created large problems.

So, what can be done? How can we save these important resources? It all starts with advocacy. Explaining why these resources matter—and how our elected officials and local township and county trustees can do something about it. First and foremost these trustees can agree that these historic resources, wherever they may be within the jurisdiction, are worth investment in repairs and maintenance. Secondly they can seek out the tools available to them to offer protection from outside forces.

As advocates it is also important to talk with your state legislators. Without additional powers granted in the Ohio Revised Code it is difficult to craft ordinances or resolutions to protect historic and archaeological resources. Be an advocate to your legislators to help protect the rural resources that help define Ohio.

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#beersavesplaces – Craft Beer Competition

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One thing is for sure, #beersavesplaces!  We all have our favorite craft breweries and at the RBCoYP Launch Party on Friday, April 8, we are going to put them head-to-head.

Here is how it works….

-Bring your favorite local 6-pack or growler to the RBCoYP party!  Your 6-pack is your official entry into the competition, so if you need something to sip on before the competition starts… grab from the share table or bring extra brews.

-The competition begins promptly at 9pm.  Get ready to sample the Rust Belt.

-Each beer will compete in brackets (NCAA style) against other beers from its respective states.  We will try to match IPA vs IPA, Porter vs Porter, or Cider vs Cider (we can’t let beer have all the fun)…. Until we reach the top beverage of each state.  There is a catch- you cannot be a taste tester* for your state!

-Once the top beverage from each state is selected, the states will compete for the glory of being the best Rust Belt Craft Beer!  The winner will receive more than just glory, but that is a secret for now.

 

Don’t drink beer? Don’t worry!  You can vote for best label!  And if you try to slip a craft soda into the competition, we won’t be mad.  We will be excited to sample one of your state’s delicious products.

*Taste testers will each get a sample of the beverage, not a full can.  Think of this like the biggest beer flight you have ever experienced.

2016 Takeover! Look Out Ohio!

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Since starting in 2014, the Young Ohio Preservationists (YOP) have been exploring opportunities and trying to create a vision for what we want to be and how we want to move the needle of preservation in the Midwest.  We are excited to announce and tease some of what we have planned for 2016!

-Our first scholarship program!  The Young Ohio Preservationists are partnering with Schooley Caldwell Associates to create an Emerging Professionals session at Heritage Ohio’s Annual Conference AND Emerging Professionals Conference Scholarship.  This competition will grant an Ohio resident under 40 the opportunity to present on how they are part of the next wave of preservation! Winners will receive complimentary conference registration, 2-nights at the conference hotel, and $100 travel stipend.  Keep your eyes wide-open for the upcoming official competition announcement.

-Preservation Month will end with our first Architectural Trivia event (May 31)!  In partnership with the Society of Architectural historians, we will live stream Ohio architectural trivia!  The Society of Architectural Historians have been creating a nationwide Archipedia (basically a way nerdier Wikipedia). To align with the launch of Ohio’s Archipedia page, YOP will be hosting a rootin’ tootin’ BYOB trivia night in the German Village Historic District.  In person competitors will have the chance to win prizes, and we will be interacting with online participants throughout the night.

-Mark your calendars for October 7,8, and 9!  The weekend leading up to Heritage Ohio’s annual conference, the Young Ohio Preservationists will host  a regional RBCoYP meet-up in Cincinnati.  Cincinnati had major preservation wins the past few years – the Museum Center, Music Hall, the progress in the Over-the-Rhine historic district, and we cannot wait to share some of Ohio’s treasures with you.

Be a part of the Young Ohio Preservationists and help us become a valuable resource for the next generation of preservationists.   Join our mailing list and reach out if you have any questions or want to get involved!

RBCoYP PGH Summit Update

For those of you who have registered for first meeting of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists, here is an update! If you haven’t registered, please do!

Our home base for the weekend will be Pittsburgh’s Northside, specifically the neighborhoods of Manchester, the Mexican War Streets, and East Deutschtown. Check out the yellow markers on the map in A Beginner’s Guide to Pittsburgh, Part 2 for an idea of what the heck we’re talking about.

And we still have space! Pittsburgh YPA members and allies are opening up their homes to host out-of-town guests. We’ll be getting in touch with you directly to follow up about placing you in a YPA house or helping you find private accommodations, depending on what you indicate on your registration. If you told us you can find your own accommodations, then stay tuned for schedule updates to find out when and where to meet up with us! The weekend begins on 7pm on Friday, April 8th, or whenever you get into Pittsburgh.

SPEAKING OF MEETUPS! We are planning lots of great things to do! The purpose of the first meeting of the Rust Belt Coalition is to get to know each other, and we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it. Plan on getting together for food and drinks and chit chat on Friday and Saturday night, and breaking off into groups for excursions around Pittsburgh on Saturday afternoon (while you’re at it, take our quick survey to let us know what you’d like to do!) Rivers of Steel Heritage Area will be offering a guided tour of Carrie Furnace, a former blast furnace site, for the entire group on Sunday.

And, of course, if you have any questions, you can contact us at rbc@youngpreservationists.org.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Pittsburgh, Part 2

A Sneak Peak into the RBC PGH Summit

By Mike Panzitta – Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

Not familiar with the Steel City, but want to have a voice in what we do in April at the first meeting of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists? Here’s a quick breakdown of potential activities we’ve pulled together so you can make an informed vote about what you want to see most! When you’re done reading, take our quick survey and weigh in on the itinerary!

Downtown to Mt Washington Bike Tour

Downtown. Central Business District. Golden Triangle. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the economic hub of the region and the historic location of Fort Pitt and the town that would grow up to be Pittsburgh. While modern skyscrapers might catch your eye, there are plenty of historic sites to check out. Flat and very bikeable, we can cover a lot of ground on two wheels. Mount Washington is right across the Monongahela from Downtown and offers fantastic views of the city and its rivers. We’ll pick up bikeshare bikes from the Northside, head over to tour Downtown, drop off the bikes, and then take the incline up to Mount Washington. What’s an incline? It’s an awesome little trolley that runs up the side of the mountain, and a great way to get up to the summit.

Pittsburgh City Steps Urban Hike (Location to Be Determined)

Pittsburgh is one of the hilliest cities in the United States, and boasts both the steepest public street and the most public steps in the country (eat your heart out, San Francisco). Some hillsides are so steep that there aren’t formal streets: the steps are considered the street itself, and the houses are only accessible from the city steps! We’re planning to go on an urban hike up and down the city steps, taking in vistas that rival Mount Washington and talking about the topography that created Pittsburgh’s many neighborhoods. The City Steps were a YPA Top Ten Preservation Opportunity in 2015, so this is an activity near and dear to our hearts.

“Crossroads of the World”: Hill District Foot Tour

Just east of Downtown, the Hill District is one of the most storied areas of the city. Before some disastrous urban planning mistakes devastated the neighborhood, it was home to a thriving, vibrant middle-class African-American community, among other diverse ethnic and racial groups. From jazz musicians to photographers to playwrights, the Hill provided a cultural melting pot where artistic genius was fostered. However, redevelopment threatens many culturally important sites throughout the Hill. Local historian Terri Baltimore has offered to accompany us on a walking tour through the neighborhood highlighting and telling stories about the buildings and (more importantly) the people of “Little Harlem.”

Blue-Collar to Brooklyn: Lawrenceville Foot Tour

Lawrenceville is one of those things that gets mentioned all the time in any national press about Pittsburgh (right after they talk about the french fry sandwich thing…), and for good reason. In a very short time, it has transformed from a working-class neighborhood during steel’s heyday, to a disinvested section of town after the mills moved out, to the “it” area of the 21st century, while preserving almost all of its historic architecture. Butler Street, its main drag, is full of boutiques, bars, and popular restaurants while supporting antique brick rows behind. Lawrenceville is a living example of the active urban transitions happening in Pittsburgh.

Vacant not Blighted: Wilkinsburg Foot Tour

Wilkinsburg is the definition of a community with “good bones.” The architecture in this borough just outside the City of Pittsburgh is phenomenal, especially in its business district. Served by the city’s East Busway and bordering some great Pittsburgh neighborhoods, it is in a prime location. But Wilkinsburg has seen tough times recently. Lack of a sufficient tax base has caused it to begin sharing services with the city. But there is hope – young artists and artisans have been moving into the area to start up businesses and buy their own homes, and a “Vacant House Tour” highlighted properties which, with some work, could make for fantastic homes. We’re going to take the Busway out and explore this borough with a bright future.

Carrie Furnace Tour

The Carrie Blast Furnace is one of the few still-standing furnaces from the days of Big Steel. Part of the Homestead Steel Works (of Homestead Strike Fame), it was one of the largest mills in the United States and part of Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire. We got a slot reserved for us to go on a tour of the site, led by a Rivers of Steel tour guide. This activity is $15/person.

Rust Belt Capitol: A Stop in Braddock, PA

After the Carrie Furnace Tour, we’ll be hanging out in nearby Braddock, a steel town that has lost 90% of its population from its peak. A neighborhood on its way back, it has amazing history, fantastic buildings, and a really cool mayor. We’re going to check out some of the sites in this great borough until you decide to head home.

PGH Summit Survey

The first meeting of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists is a little over a month away, and we are toiling away here at Headquarters trying to make sure you have a good time! But we want your input too. Fill out the below survey to let us know what you’d like to see during your visit in Pittsburgh!

Not familiar with the city? Check out A Beginner’s Guide to Pittsburgh, Part 2, and you’ll know just what to expect for each event!

What’s Happening in 2016: Wheeling, WV

What’s Happening in 2016: Wheeling, WV

By Stephanie Wright – Wheeling Young Preservationists

Who are the Wheeling Young Preservationists?

WYP logoWe are skilled tradesmen/women, social service workers, stay at home dads, young couples restoring their dream home, bankers, political science majors, archivists, entrepreneurs, developers, local historians…we just about have it all! WYPs may come in many forms, but we have one common thread: Our passion and determination to maintain positive momentum as we usher in Wheeling’s new era of rust-belt resilience.

WYP has several ongoing projects from years past that we are excited to continue and expand upon in 2016.

Education

WYP- wood epoxy consolidation workshopLast year, WYP launched a monthly hands-on workshop series geared towards equipping young, DIY-minded preservationists with the knowledge to tackle some of their own restoration projects. Our workshops included a 3-part plaster restoration workshop, a wood epoxy consolidation workshop and a lead safety workshop. The 2016 workshop series will run from June – October; more information will be released on WYP’s Facebook page soon!

Mt. Wood Cemetery

Preservation efforts began in the summer of 2012 when a grassroots movement of several local organizations and volunteers began meeting on Mt. Wood’s behalf.

Incorporated in 1848, it is resting place for many of the area’s prominent and hardworking citizens and offers breathtaking views of the city and the Ohio River. Volunteers come together monthly to participate in the physical restoration of long-neglected headstones and monuments, and to survey, document and research each grave.

Information on the progress at Mt. Wood Cemetery can be found here.

WYP mt. wood cemetery inventory

New in 2016

WYP is excitedly planning a month-long celebration for May. This fun and education-filled Preservation Month will kick off with an Instameet on the 1st that will encourage the use of the National Trust’s #ThisPlaceMatters campaign as well as our own local version, #WheeLove. Additionally, we will be featuring local preservation success stories on our blog throughout the month, organizing community service days at The Blue Church, participating in First Friday festivities with a Plein Air-style paint and sip, and releasing a printed walking tour of Centre Market, Wheeling’s historic shopping district.

To follow our events in May, get up-to-date information on upcoming workshops and service days, please check out our website and follow us on Facebook.