Beaux Arts “Beaux-Arts” was originally a french term meaning “fine arts” or “beautiful arts”, but in the late 1800’s it came to refer to a specific style of Parisian-influenced architecture in the U.S.  A style of architecture that can be summed up with two words…

Massive and grandiose.

Marrying the classical design elements of largesse and symmetry from the Greek and Roman architectural traditions with the elaborate ornamentation from the Rennaissance design ideas, Beaux-Arts architecture became synonymous with larger-than-life, over-the-top architectural identified by the following elements:

•Constructed with stone
•Balustrades
•Balconies
•Columns
•Cornices
•Pilasters
•Triangular pediments
•Lavish decorations (swags, medallions, flowers, and shields)
•Grand stairway
•Large arches
•Symmetrical façade
•Main entrances are the center of the main facade

 

CLICK HERE TO OGLE A BUNCH OF REALLY GORGEOUS BEAUX-ARTS BUILDINGS

 

Articles on Preservation of Historic Buildings and Architectures

Abandoned Vermont: Putney Schoolhouse

Schoolhouses are easy to recognize, especially one room schoolhouses that appear to have a bank of windows. This brick building in Putney, VT struck me as just that…..Continue reading

Nice Ride Minnesota

Nice Ride bikes are designed for one job, short trips in the city by people wearing regular clothes and carrying ordinary stuff. All Nice Ride bikes are the same size, the only thing you may have to adjust is the seat, and it’s easy!…..Continue reading

A Preservationist’s Confession: I Get Overwhelmed at Farmers’ Markets

It’s true. I love the idea of farmers’ markets: local food, local folks, supporting the local economy, community gatherings, live music, mingling, sunshine, open air, chatting, fresh food, baked goods, use of town green space or something similar. They embody some strong preservation and…..Continue reading

Richmond Checkered House Bridge Opening

Tuesday May 28, 2013, the Richmond Checkered House Bridge opened to traffic. This 1929 Pennsylvania truss bridge was the first ever widened truss bridge in the country – an incredible feat to maintain historic integrity and to keep this bridge in the transportation network. You can see in the photographs where…..Continue reading

Abandoned Vermont: Bloomfield Church

Bloomfield, VT is a small crossroads on the Connecticut River. Across the bridge is Stratford, NH. The general store is closed and not many houses populate this town. This church sits next to the town offices, the former school. Based on the piles of boxes in the windows, the church is abandoned…..Continue reading

Proctor Marble Bridge

Proctor, Vermont is home to the marble bridge, a structure built in 1915 of reinforced concrete and marble. The bridge stands as a memorial to Fletcher D. Proctor, given by his mother Emily Dutton Proctor. This marble bridge replaced three…..Continue reading

Craftsbury Standard School & Playground

Historic schoolhouses are commonly found throughout Vermont, some converted to residences, some as museums, some abandoned, some creative rehabilitations, and some remain in educational use. In the 1930s schools faced state regulation, and had to comply with standards in order to become a Vermont “Standard School.” These regulations were for the quality of education. Schools were also required to have certain…..Continue reading

We are currently working on a window replacement project at the United Arab Emirates building in Washington D.C.  Built in 1912 in the Beaux-Arts style, the  embassy is part of the former grounds of the National Bureau of Standards in Cleveland Park that became a high-security enclave just outside of Embassy Row.  This enclave houses 18 embassies in historic buildings from the late 18th Century through the early 20th Century in an eclectic mix of Queen Anne, Georgian Revival, Tudor Revival, Beaux-Arts, and other  styles.

For this project, our windows were required to undergo testing procedures we haven’t gone through before.  We found the  experience so interesting that we’re highlighting the results here.  (Don’t worry – we’ll highlight our work on the building in a future newsletter, and we’ll post about the Beaux-Arts style in another post.)

First, the results…

Results Table

 

Danielle’s Thoughts

This was my first time experiencing the testing process and the whole thing was really interesting to me. They force the product through conditions I have never experienced in “real life” (which makes me wonder exactly what situations they are making the windows qualify for?).

Our fixed window surpassed all the testing and actually withstood F5 hurricane forces!! (And yes, we were there to witness those forces… behind safety glass of course.)

Our single-hung window performed well enough to earn the rating we “had” to achieve, but they stopped the testing at that point and did not push it to the limits like they did with the fixed sash because the window (understandably) did experience water infiltration at one point.  (Hey, it opens, so it’s got moving parts – you kinda have to expect iit.  Especially when there is a wall of sprinkler heads spraying water on it from every direction.)

Since you can only get a rating as good as the lowest test, they stopped the other tests when they passed the point they needed to for the rating we were required to have. It was kind of disappointing.

I would have liked to have seen the single-hung pushed to its limits as well.  But we construct them the same waY as the fixed sash, so I would assume the single-hung would have performed as well on the structural tests as the fixed sash if they had.

 

Moira’s Thoughts
Danielle was feeling under the weather that day, sick and surely contagious.  But none of us could convince her to stay home, so we headed out to the National Certified Testing Laboratories in York, PA.  (Hoping we weren’t setting a pandemic in motion with her germs.)

Two windows were going to be tested for air leakage, water leakage, and how much air pressure they could withstand structurally.  To test the windows, they clamped them to a large plexi-glass wall.  This structure was surrounded by a plastic box that was taped at the seams to eliminate any outside air flow from impacting the tests.

For the air leakage, forced air was directed at the window to measure how much air leaked through the window to the other side.  When they tested the damp-water penetration resistance mechanical spraying devices sprayed water at the windows in 5-minute cycles, with one minute between cycles for the wood to rest, that increased in pressure with each cycle until the window reached its fail point and water would fall over the lip of the sash.  During this test the window was constantly monitored by a testing technician who viewed the window from the back side of the testing wall where he visually inspected the joints for water penetration during the testing with a flashlight.

The last test was the structural load test and this was definitely my favorite.  Sensors were applies to various points on the sash to measure movement.  Both positive and negative pressure were increased substantially in cycles.  This test was simulating the kind of forces a window would experience during a hurricane and as the pressures were increased in each cycle you could visibly see the bowing of the window.  As it neared its fail point you could hear the cracking of the wood.

Factors

 

We ended our summer here at Historic Restorations with a bang…our Preservation Circus in late August.We really enjoyed hosting it and all our guests raved about how much they enjoyed being there for it, so we’re calling it a huge hit. Penelope’s “reviewing” it from her perspective in her column this month (and we hear she took lots of pictures).

Event box

Penelope was a hit herself at the Circus,and she’s lucky she was because she pulled a naughty prank and showed up in a clown costume even though clowns had specially been banned. (We are a bit worried that all the fan mail she is receiving is going to her head, but it does help keep her motivated to keep her deadlines. We just hope it doesn’t turn her into too much of a diva.)

Penelope is quite inquisitive and very observant (especially when there are treats involved-she has mastered sitting very still if she THINKS a treat might be involved). When ever we are ready to give her a lesson in historic preservation, we just pull out the treat bag and we have he complete and utter attention. Atleast for as long as we have that bag in our laps…

This month we are highlighting the recent testing our windows underwent to see whether or not they met the LEED standards that a project we’re currently working on required we meet.

It was an interesting experience and one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. I mean,when you experience testing that involves machines that open and close doors, giant wrecking balls, and a huge propeller system -it kind of makes an impact on you. (Even though none of our windows were lucky enough to experience those particular tests.)

Our windows were tested for air infiltration, structural integrity, and water infiltration .And despite the fact that I was sick and trying my hardest NOT to contaminate the world, I am glad I went to see the actual testing as it was done.(I think some of our guys wanted to go and were a bit jealous of me -well, not of the being sick part- because they wanted to see the wrecking ball in action.)

The results shocked us and weren’t at all what we expected. So keep watch for them in upcoming posts!

While you’re waiting, grab yourself a pumpkin spice latte, a piece of pumpkin pie or pumpkin bread, or whatever pumpkin flavored food it is you enjoy this time of year and celebrate the arrival of fall with me!

As always,if you have any questions or need anything just let me know.

Danielle

[email protected]

717.291.4688

 

PS: DONT MISS OUR NEXT BIG HAPPENING!

Join us (virtually) on October 22nd at 7 pm EDT for

tips on planning your project from the comfort of home!

(see our events column for more details)

 

 

 

Articles on Preservation of Historic Buildings and Architectures

 

Tourist Cabins: Wallinda Cabins

Perched on US Route 2, just west of Marshfield Village are the Wallinda Cabins. For years I’ve seen this sitting quietly on the side of the road, presumably unoccupied but having a neat and tidy appearance. Just last week on my way through Vermont, I decided that I would finally stop and photograph these before they disappeared……Continue reading

A Train Station and a Fire Station

The fire station in Wallingford, Vermont is located in a the former train station, which is still located adjacent to the tracks. It’s quite the unique adaptive reuse. Take a look (those photographs were night shots, hence the blurry quality).

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across a non-traditional building turned fire station. Remember the Cavendish Queen Anne house that became a fire station with truck bays on the first floor……Continue reading

Boston’s Waterworks Museum

What are three preservationists to do on a sweltering hot summer afternoon in Boston, MA? Even we have our limits for strolling the row house lined streets. When we could bear the heat no longer, we headed out to Chestnut Hill, just past Brookline to the (relatively) new Waterworks Museum, located at the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir and pumping station……Continue reading

Preservation Solution? Reversible Exterior Window Shades?

What do you do in the dog days of summer? Hide from the sun, of course. Remember the end of the school year during review and finals when classrooms would be sweltering? Large pull down shades could help control the temperature and industrial size fans, but it was still hot. Quite often when historic school buildings are renovated for modern use……Continue reading

Wine Tasting to Support Norwich Schoolhouses

In Vermont and across the country we all see too many schoolhouses abandoned or neglected. Sometimes these buildings will have better fates: converted to residences, used as community centers, or as a museum. And some have even better fates, like the Root Schoolhouse and the Beaver Meadow Schoolhouse, both of Norwich, VT…..Continue reading

Articles on Preservation of Historic Buildings and Architectures

 

Abandoned Vermont: Enosburg Falls Factory

The former Dr. B. J. Kendall Company factory sits boarded up and neglected on Vermont Route 105 in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. Enosburg Falls was put on the map when Dr. B. J. Kendall began manufacturing Kendall’s Spavin Cure in 1879. Spavin is a disease that occurs in livestock – a type of osteoarthritis that causes lameness.  Dr. Kendall’s business……Continue reading

Coffee in Enosburg Falls, VT

Who needs a cup of coffee? That’s rhetorical. Aside from needing coffee, I love a good strong cup of coffee in the morning, or most anytime of day. And I love local businesses that serve good, local coffee brewed just right. Those are the businesses that care about their customers. One of my favorite places to get a cup of coffee in……Continue reading

Preservation ABCs: V is for Viewshed

Preservation ABCs is a series that will work its way from A to Z, bringing words into conversation that are relevant to historic preservation, whether it’s an idea, feature or vocabulary term. The idea is to help you see preservation everywhere you look and wherever you go……Continue reading

Fort Popham, Maine

Fort Popham in Phippsburg, Maine is a coastal defense battery on the Kennebuc River in Phippsburg, Maine. Construction on this semi-circular granite block fort began in 1861 (for the Civil War) and stopped in 1869, never to be completed. The fort was garrisoned again during the Spanish-American War and World War I, though eventually became obsolete with the construction of nearby Fort Baldwin……Continue reading

Shelburne Museum Concerts on the Green

As mentioned yesterday, summer is not over. It sticks around for a good three weeks in September. So let’s keep talking summer. What has been your favorite part of summer? The longer daylight hours, barbecues, farmers markets, outdoor concerts, swimming, sunshine, not wearing 10s of layers of clothing, cold drinks, better moods……Continue reading

Preservation Pennsylvania has released their “Pennsylvania At-Risk: Twenty-Year Retrospective of Pennsylvania’s Endangered Historic Properties, Where Are They Now” edition. It’s a fascinating look at preservation in action and we’ll be posting a look at each property in a series of posts over the next several months.

INTRODUCTION
Preservation Pennsylvania established the annual Pennsylvania At Risk list in 1992, making us the first statewide preservation organization in the United States to have an annual roster of endangered historic properties. Since 1992, we have listed and worked to preserve more than 200 endangered historic resources, including individual buildings, historic districts and thematic resources statewide. For 2012, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our organization, we are presenting a 20-year retrospective edition of Pennsylvania At Risk. In this issue, we revisit some of the amazing historic places across the Commonwealth, some of which have been rescued from extinction through preservation and rehabilitation efforts, and others that still need our help.

Approximately 18% of Pennsylvania’s At Risk properties have been lost, having been demolished or substantially altered. Another 32% have been saved or are in a condition or situation where the identified threat no longer poses a problem for the historic property. Approximately 50% of the 201 At Risk resources remain in danger, or we have not been able to confirm their current status as either saved or lost.

By monitoring these properties over the past 20 years and working with individuals and organizations trying to preserve them, we have learned many valuable lessons. Those lessons are called out throughout this publication.

 

• AT RISK •

2012 — Hershey Chocolate Factory, Dauphin County

Hershey Chocolate Factory

The Hershey Chocolate Factory is important as a reflection of industrial processes and buildings of its time, and reflects changing trends in manufacturing and human consumption. As the heart of the company town that developed according to Milton Hershey’s vision, the chocolate factory is central to the story of Hershey. In addition to being the economic driver that built and sustained the community of Hershey, the Hershey Chocolate Factory has long been important to visitors. The first public tours f the factory were given in 1927, and by 1972, more than 10 million people had visited the factory.

Public tours of the Hershey Chocolate Factory ceased in 1973, but hundreds of thousands of visitors still flock to Chocolate World each year to take a virtual tour of Hershey’s chocolate production.

Even though many have not been to Hershey to visit the large downtown industrial property, people across the country feel a connection to this historic building and are concerned about its preservation. As a result of changing manufacturing and economic practices, including the construction of a $300 million expansion to the company’s West Hershey facility just outside of town, the Hershey Chocolate Factory is no longer able to be used effectively for its original purpose. The numerous buildings that comprise the factory are functionally obsolete. As a result, the Hershey Company has rehabilitated the oldest remaining portions of the complex for continued use as their offices, and proposes to demolish the rest, retaining the iconic Hershey Cocoa bushes and the smoke stacks at the facility’s power plant. The physical limitations imposed by the complex historic structure, the technical challenges associated with satisfying current building codes, and modern parking requirements make it impossible for Hershey to justify the high cost of rehabilitating this large industrial complex in a busy downtown. The Hershey Company has met with developers and attempted to find a feasible new use for the factory but has been unable to do so. Demolition of the interior portions of the building has begun. For the most part, there are no regulations in place to prevent the demolition of this privately owned property using private money. Derry Township’s Design Review Board did have an opportunity to review the proposed demolition of the buildings along Chocolate Avenue and could have recommended denial of a Certificate of Appropriateness, which may have delayed demolition. However, at the end of a lengthy public meeting during which representatives of the Hershey Company explained the rationale for having to demolish the structures, the Board voted to authorize the Certificate. The Hershey Company plans to raze the remainder of the chocolate factory over the next 12 to 18 months. Preservation Pennsylvania has received unprecedented outreach from people hoping to see this factory, or at least a significant portion of it, preserved. We hope to work with the Hershey Company and others to try again to find an alternative to demolition. A rehabilitation option that preserves the features that define the historic character of the property while allowing it to change to accommodate new use may exist, if the right partners are involved in the process and the right intervention tools  are made available.

There is no architectural element in our historic architecture more nostalgic than the American porch.  We remember playing on them as kids.  We hung out on them with our friends as teenagers (probably stealing a kiss or two we weren’t supposed to have yet).  We sat on them as adults sipping iced tea on hot summer evenings.  We visited with friends and family laughing and playing cards.  We sat on them to watch parades.  Some of us even slept on them to escape the oppressive heat inside on hot summer nights.

But where did porches come from and how did they become the porches we know today?  Here’s a quick primer on the history of the American porch.

Late 1700’s –

Porches were utilitarian covered doorways or flanked “stoops” that protected the main entrances from the weather and served as transitions to and from the outdoors

historic porches, history of porches,

Governor’s Palace, Colonial Williamsburg
Photo by Fletcher6 on Wikipedia

 

1778 –

George Washington sets the porch building standard with his American classical porch at Mt. Vernon

historic porches, history of porches

George Washington’s Mt. Vernon
Photo by Martin Falbisoner on Wikipedia

 

Early 1800’s –

Longer porches that span the entire front of homes become more popular

 

1800’s –

Porches in the Northeast were called “piazzas”, a word adapted from the Italian word for “open space”

 

Porches in the south were called “verandas”, a term that reflected British colonial design influences from India.  This term would eventually become the dominant term along the East Coast.

 

Porches in the French colonial areas of the deep South wrapped around the entire house and were referred to as “galleries”.

 

Porches in Spanish colonial architecture were called “arcades”.

 

1830’s & 40’s –

The classic columns of the Greek Revival make their way onto porches of public buildings, hotels, and mansions

Historic porches, history of porches

Millford Plantation, South Carolina
Photo by Jack Boucher on Wikipedia

 

Mid 1800’s –

Porches have fully evolved from transition spaces into gathering places for socializing

 

The growing middle class builds homes with elaborate porches dressed with fancy millwork in new suburban neighborhoods.

 

Late 1800’s –

Highly decorated wrap-around Queen Anne style porches became wildly popular and are even added to small and simple houses.

historic porches, history of porches

Carson Mansion in California
Photo by Cory Maylett on Wikipedia

 

 

Porches are now used as outdoor living spaces and their shaded and landscaped privacy offered a discreet meeting spot in an age obsessed with propriety.

 

1873 –

President Rutherford B. Hayes: “The best part of the present house is the veranda.  But I would enlarge it.  I want a veranda with a house attached.”

 

Early 1900’s –

Growing understanding and acceptance of germ theory brings medicinal value to porches as doctors begin touting the benefits of fresh air.

 

Hipped roofs and exposed rafters hit the scene on porches with bungalow architecture.

 

SLEEPING PORCHES BECOME A POPULAR AS TUBERCULOSIS SOARS.

historic porches, history of porches

Sleeping porch at the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
Photo by Rolf Müller on Wikipedia

 

1920’s – 50’s –

As autos hit the roads, porches move to the side of the house as we retreat from the noise and dirt and seek more privacy.  Eventually they will end up at the back of the house where they will predominantly stay in new architecture for the next fifty or sixty years.

 

Articles on Preservation of Historic Buildings and Architectures

 

Victor Moore’s Junk Castle in Washington State

There was this guy who lived in Washington State who wanted to do something funky for his Master of Fine Arts thesis so he built a castle out of junk in his yard. He used all salvaged materials from a local junkyard and a nearby defunct rock quarry. This happened back in 1970 so it was probably quite a sensation at the time. The guy’s name was Victor Moore and he went on to teach high school art and to inspire hundreds of students to do more with less, so to speak……Continue reading

Exploring western ghost towns: Ashcroft Colorado

This past Labor Day weekend, I dragged my reluctant family on a jaunt up into the Colorado high country to find a certain ghost town known as Ashcroft. Located 11 miles outside of Aspen, Ashcroft is easily accessible and the site is well-tended by the Aspen Historical Society. On a bright sunny Colorado day, we traversed the short trail and came upon the remains of Ashcroft……Continue reading

Waterville, Vermont Playground

You never know where or when you will come across an awesome historic playground! The small town of Waterville, Vermont is such an example. The current library and town offices are housed in the former Waterville Central School, which is a classic 1930s two-room schoolhouse (a relatively common building type in Vermont)……Continue reading

Articles on Preservation of Historic Buildings and Architectures

 

Greenfield Bridge Replacement and Restoration

In response to plans to demolish and replace the historic but structurally deficient 1922 Beechwood Boulevard (Greenfield) Bridge over the Parkway East (I-376), the Young Preservationists Association (YPA) advocated saving and restoring the bridge’s original ornamental approaches by naming them to the 2012 Top Ten Preservation Opportunities List……Continue reading

Pittsburgh’s African American History

After nearly three years of work, YPA is pleased to present the first-ever tourguide of African American historic sites in the southwestern Pennsylvania region. Called “Discover the Legacy: The African American Experience in Southwestern Pennsylvania……Continue reading

Pablo Picasso’s former home/studio is for sale!

For a whopping $220 million you can buy the former home of acclaimed cubist artist Pablo Picasso. This beautiful villa and studio in the French town of Mougins just north of Cannes was home to Picasso for the last 12 years of his life.Apart from his avant guard body of work, Picasso is known for his many mistresses and the immense amount of personal wealth he amassed from the sales of his work……Continue reading

Autumn houses

Here at House Crazy, autumn is a favorite season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, corn mazes, and of course, going overboard with pumpkin decorations. The light is elongated and the hues become earthy and intense. Fall just feels spooky and special – at least when you live in an old house like I do. So I thought I would do a mini-fall equinox celebration by featuring some photos of houses and cabins in all their autumn glory……Continue reading

New Zealand’s Larnach Castle

New Zealand is a country blessed with tremendous natural beauty, laid back peaceful people, and my personal favorite: no snakes. But for all its riches and blessings, New Zealand has only one castle – Larnach Castle just outside of Dunedin on the south island……Continue reading