Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review of Preservation Politics by Bill Schmickle (93)


Several months ago I received an ad from AltaMira Press for a new book titled Preservation Politics: Keeping Historical Districts Vital.

Curious but uncertain about its quality, I asked the publisher to send me a gratis copy for possible review in this blog. To my surprise, it did.

As it turns out, I am happy to have the book and to review it favorably.

I am happy because Mr. Schmickle rejects the doctrinaire piousness and denial that has characterized much writing (and action) on historical preservation and starts to come to grips with the fact that the American historic preservation enterprise is in decline.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Unique Historic Preservation Task of the College Town: Commemorating Scholarship Not Only Citizenship (92)

In most and ordinary communities, historic preservation is very much about commemorating outstanding residents (as well as, of course, signal events and remarkable architecture).

The commemoration of residents focuses on their citizenship, which typically means contributions to political, educational, charitable and other local community institutions. Thus, long-time elected government officials, educators, and workers in charitable endeavors figure prominently in historic preservation commemorations.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Researching Early Davis Buildings and People: Two Lists of Search Actions (91)

In the course of doing Davis history I have sometimes found it important to assemble the story of a particular older Davis building. A similar need has on occasion also arisen regarding the biography of an early Davis resident.

At first, I pretty much poked around in the dark with regard to both buildings and people. But over time I have developed routines of a sort for both tasks and these often achieve reasonable results.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Historical Commission Declares 315 D Historically Insignificant: Do the Facts Support that Action? (90)

At the November 26th meeting of the City of Davis Historical Resources Management Commission (HRMC), city planners asked that commission to declare that the 1913 home at 315 D Street “does NOT meet . . . criteria for historical significance.”
The Planning Department’s written evidence in support of this action consisted of four unnumbered pages termed an “evaluation” written by a contract-research organization hired by that department and dated June 10, 2008. These four pages and the larger document can be read online here:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Davis Tower Then and Now (89)

Several weeks ago, a seldom seen Shinkle postcard of the “Davis Tower” went on Ebay auction.

Two aspects of this event were and are of particular interest to me.

One, the card presented such a clear, c. 1915 view of the Tower I thought it might feature in a nice “then and now” photo-pair. So, I took a screenshot of the card and went over to the train station and photographed the Tower.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Ben Madson One More Time: Pragmatic Realist or Inclusionist Champion? (88)

The question of how to characterize Ben Madson’s action in the City Council Anti-Japanese Resolution of 1943 was, in my view, unresolved in the exchange between Rich Rifkin and myself in this blog’s posts 82 & 83 (October 28, 2012). There was simply not enough evidence to decide between a portrayal of his action as “pragmatic realist” or “inclusionist champion.”

Still curious, I have tried to identity other materials that might bear on this question. So far I have not found anything that is directly “on point.” My search has included reading press accounts (actually, lack of them) in the Sacramento Bee, the Woodland Democrat, the Dixon Tribune, and various other press and university-published reports on Madson, including obituaries.