#loveyourHD : Wright-Dunbar Neighborhood

By: Carolyn Thurman, Young Ohio Preservationists

The YOP is passionate about preserving and celebrating Ohio’s history. Each month, the YOP blog will shine a spotlight on one of Ohio’s many great, historic neighborhoods.

These places matter!

First up: The Wright-Dunbar neighborhood in west Dayton.

From the National Parks Service:

“Best known as the home of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Orville and Wilbur Wright, the Wright-Dunbar Village developed as a Dayton streetcar suburb in the half century following the civil war, and it was annexed to the city of Dayton in 1869. The area includes a residential neighborhood and the Wright Dunbar Business Village, also known as the West Third Street Historic District.

In the late 1890’s, Wright-Dunbar became home to a diverse urban population, including Hungarians, Romanians and Eastern Europeans of the West Side Colony. These workers came to work in Dayton factories and formed a tight community with a host of businesses, churches, and social organizations to meet their needs. Connected to the city by five streetcar lines, it attracted increasing numbers of middle class residents who left the old city center to reside in the new western suburb.

In the years following World War I, the area emerged as the cultural and commercial center of Dayton’s African-American community. African American-owned businesses, such as the Palace Theater, built a strong African-American community. The population shifted in this area in the years after the war and there was a widespread movement of African Americans from the South to the “Industrial North”. Housing segregation also brought many African-American residents to West Dayton.

The destruction of residences and businesses resulting from the construction of Interstate 75 in the early 1960’s and later by U.S. Route 35 had a devastating effect on many neighborhoods but most notably on the West Dayton commercial districts. The face and character of the area changed even more drastically on September 1, 1966, when racial disturbances broke out in the commercial district. This single event further contributed to a pattern of disinvestment in the neighborhood.

Although a large portion of the area was lost in the 1950’s and 1960’s to interstate construction, urban renewal, and civil unrest, the remaining structures in Wright-Dunbar Village are experiencing a period of revitalization.  Innovative housing strategies by the city of Dayton, combined with Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and the work of Wright-Dunbar, Inc. have assisted in creating a viable urban neighborhood and a resource for Dayton history.

You can learn more about Wright- Dunbar here: http://wright-dunbar.org/

And if you find yourself in the area be sure to check out the Paul Lawrence Dunbar house: https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/paul-laurence-dunbar-house

#LoveYourHD: A Recap!

By Raina ReganPreserve Greater Indy

For May, we asked you to share why you #LoveYourHD. We loved seeing participation from around the Rust Belt and all the great historic districts that protect and preserve our built environment. Instameets were held in Wheeling, Indianapolis, Toledo, and Columbus in local historic districts to celebrate #LoveYourHD during Preservation Month. Here’s a few of our favorite moments from the month of May that celebrate why you #LoveYourHD!

German Village, Columbus, Ohio

In German Village, eighth grade students gave some actual love to the local historic district at a workshop. We love seeing youth involved in hands-on activities in preserving historic places. This asks a good question: For what types of activities could you use student volunteer help in your local historic district?

Indianapolis, Indiana

One of Indy’s finest examples of Art Deco, the former Coca-Cola bottling plant, is about to be redeveloped. Thanks to its local designation, the project will have to obtain approvals from the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission before altering this one-of-a-kind terracotta façade.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Local designation preserves distinctive places until the right new use and owner comes along. We’re glad to hear this Wheeling gem will be turned into apartments.

#wyp member @adambedway took this pic from his tour of the Boury Warehouse on Saturday. The Boury Warehouse is apart of the Wheeling Warehouse Historic District. It sat empty for years but is now being turned into apartments by the WODA Group, Inc. Don't miss another historic building tour and join the Friends of Wheeling. You can find them on facebook. Membership is $10 a year. Their monthly news and event letter alone is worth that! #wheelove #thisplacematters #deserve2preserve #wheelingwv #wheelingfeeling #loveyourhd #wyp #wheelingwestvirginia @adambedway's original caption: ・・・ Touring the Boury building in downtown Wheeling this morning. WODA is redeveloping the building into residential units that range from 600-1200 sq. ft. These are the kind of projects we need in this town. #preservation #wheelingwv #wheeling_shooters #thisplacematters #downtownwheeling

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Cleveland, Ohio

The Cleveland Restoration Society featured Cleveland historic districts along with updates from the Cleveland Landmarks Commission. We know that attending your local commission meeting and being a local advocate is important to show our elected officials and appointed boards that preservation is important in our communities!

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

We’re thankful that the use of local historic districts prevented the unnecessary demolition of so many historic resources in our community. To think this beauty could have been lost…

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Our local historic districts preserve the historic neighborhood fabric so, instead of demolition, our historic resources can wait until someone is able to show them love and invest in their future. This before and after in Fort Wayne shows the potential every historic property has to come back to life.

#SavingPlaces #FortWayne #ThisPlaceMatters #LoveYourHD

A post shared by ARCH Inc. (@archfortwayne) on

Toledo, Ohio

Local historic districts protect outstanding architecture in our communities. This house could never be built today. We’re glad to hear it’s being restored by a sympathetic new owner.

Thanks to everyone who tagged photos with #LoveYourHD! We encourage you to continue spreading the good work of your local historic districts and built support for their value to your community. Check out the #LoveYourHD tag on Instagram for even more historic district goodness!

#LoveYourHD: Rochester’s Park Ave.

#LoveYourHD: Rochester’s Park Ave.

By Nick Delahanty – Young Urban Preservationists

Many Rochesterians and visitors spend a great deal of their leisure time and dollars in our city’s historic districts.The diversity of retail, quality housing, and picturesque streetscapes draw people in and, whether they know it or not, they are appreciating and supporting the preservation of these areas. You might even call them closet preservationists (see Caitlin Meives’ TEDx Flour City talk below for more about this). The historic buildings, parks, and public spaces that make up the fabric of our city are critical to a healthy neighborhood. For me though, it’s the pedestrian-centric design and the human scale of our historic districts–created before America became infatuated with the automobile–that are the underpinning for the success of our historic districts.

ParkAve-Rochester-2016_08I live in one of Rochester’s best preserved and most popular neighborhoods, just south of the East Avenue National Register Historic District (also a locally designated City Preservation District). Park Avenue runs along the southern edge of the East Ave. district and is the commercial and social spine of the neighborhood. Radiating from this street of bars and restaurants overflowing onto the sidewalks with dogs and people is a tightly woven grid of small apartment buildings and turn of the century homes. The sidewalks, lined with mature trees and welcoming front porches, boast a diverse, ever-changing cast of characters–from overindulgent college students, to retirees and their noble dogs, to visitors from the suburbs and an ever-growing armada of strollers.

ParkAve-Rochester-2016_06

 

Although we’re just a few blocks south of Park Ave., those of us in the heart of the Park Ave. neighborhood (a large swathe of thousands of properties) are left out of the district and therefore left out of the NYS Homeowners Tax Credit program. Our section of the neighborhood has been officially eligible for listing since the 1980s but no one has ever taken the initiative to pursue a district. New census data has revealed that Park Ave. (admittedly one of the wealthier neighborhoods in the city) is now in a census tract that qualifies for the NYS tax credit programs. That was the motivation that we, as homeowners who are spending an inordinate amount of income on old house repairs, needed to begin the daunting task of getting a nearly 2000 property district listed.

ParkAve-Rochester-2016_05

With my partner and YUP co-founder, Caitlin, leading the charge, we’ve begun the long process of getting our neighborhood listed as a historic district. We are starting by getting estimates from consultants and reaching out to homeowners (both in the existing East Ave district and the potential Park Ave district) to inform them about tax credits and the National Register listing process. Rochester has so many amazing neighborhoods, and I believe the impetus is on us, the citizens,to be good stewards of the amazing neighborhoods and spaces our city has to offer for future generations.

ParkAve-Rochester-2016_07

#LoveYourHD: Pittsburgh

#LoveYourHD: Pittsburgh

By Mike PanzittaYoung Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh

Though we don’t have the same urgency of potential threats to our local historic districts and landmarks as seen recently in Michigan and Wisconsin, Pittsburgh residents have to navigate through some legal hurdles to push for preservation in our neighborhoods. Whether it’s the City Code, zoning restrictions, or other obstructions, sometimes YPA has a great plan to save a site, only to be stymied by legal issues.

An interesting example of such legal issues is the Albright United Methodist Church. Some of you came by to snap a photo the Sunday of the RBCoYP Pittsburgh Summit…ugh, Ok, let me figure out how to embed Instagram photos…Ok, here it is:

The Albright Church and its congregation has a rich history that is inextricably tied with Pittsburgh’s own  – a great summary can be found here. The congregation formed in 1843 and is one of the oldest continuously worshiping religious groups in the city, having moved from the heart of Downtown during the early 20th century to the then-developing East End as the city expanded. The congregation worshiped in the building at Centre and South Graham for over one hundred years.

Sadly, a mold issue in 2013 forced the Albright Community to stop using the structure, and a developer has struck a deal with the Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference to demolish the historic church and construct a suburban-style, single-story commercial building with parking lot and drive-through in its place. When we heard about this story and plan, YPA decided to work with the nonprofit Friends of Albright to save the building from threat of immediate demolition by supporting a city historic designation.

The only wrench in the works is – and I’m gonna get a little into potential “boring” territory here – City of Pittsburgh Code, Section 1101.03, which says that religious structures must be nominated for historic designation by their owners. Friends of Albright has used the fact that the Western PA Methodist Conference has been on record that the structure, as it is no longer used for religious worship, isn’t a religious structure, and the statute doesn’t apply. Regardless, after the city Historic Review Commission recommended it for Historic Designation, the Methodist Conference decided to sue the city, Friends of Albright, and a few local residents.

albright
Albright United Methodist – A beautiful church on a beautiful day. Photo credit: Adam Sellers

 

Nevertheless, the push for historic designation moved ahead, and yesterday (May 3) afternoon, the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to back the designation. The next step, then, is City Council, and if they have no objections, Albright will be a city Historic Structure (yay!). Aaaaaaand then the lawsuit will likely commence (boo!).

So we at YPA don’t know what will come of the suit or the city code that impedes citizens from nominating religious structures to historic designation. But we plan to back the Congregation and Friends of Albright through the mess and prevent this gorgeous and historic structure from being replaced with drive-through, suburban-style “development.” I hope you all are interested in following the push for historic designation! We’ll be posting about it on the RBCoYP Facebook page, and follow Friends of Albright on their website.