Monday, May 26, 2008

Progress is progress & Death to Squirrels Update

Progress is progress. Some sanding was done over the weekend but the intermittent rain today has prohibited me from putting any primer on. And in case you are wondering, that does piss me off.

Continuing the theme from the last house update, here’s more detail on the work. After removing failing paint, I use a standard five inch orbital sander. I usually start with 80-grit sandpaper and finish with 100. I use 60 on the really nasty stuff but must careful with it because it can chew up wood quickly.
There’s hand sanding involved too, especially on the crown molding which really cleans up nicely. The goal is to get a smooth surface to paint on.
If the weather had cooperated I would have primed everything I’d sanded, but only after giving it a good cleaning.

Squirrel update – from atop my neighbors roof, a tree rat mocks me by apparently dry humping the roof. He knows I don’t have a high powered rifle with which to end his pathetic existence. At least not yet. To refresh your memory on why all squirrels must die, read this past posting or visit this website.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Not the smartest thing I've ever done - Another Update of Work on Ted's House

Busy weekends, and rainy ones, have prohibited much progress lately. I did spend about 7 hours hitting it today (Saturday). It took 1 hour to set up this elaborate system of scaffolding, walk boards and ladders. This certainly does not qualify as the smartest thing I've ever done. But I had to hit this gable somehow. If my Mom knew I was up there she'd be really upset. The second photograph, a rare Ted action shot, was contributed by neighbor Mary Ann Tonini.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Incremental to Irreversible – Downtown New Albany – May 2008

Preservation Month (each May) is a good time to be reflective and assess “progress” in downtown. Incremental progress seems to me to best describe the situation. Four years ago there was a sense of desperation in just getting visitors and prospective investors to show up. We toured shells and had to ask everyone to use their imagination.

Now we see actual projects and it’s not so hard to imagine the evolution because examples can be observed.

It’s still not the realm for the impatient but our incremental progress is slowly turning into irreversible progress.

We had a lot going on yesterday. Below is a summary of the events and various projects that were highlighted.

The Fashion Shop – the official unveiling took place along with inspiring and emotional words from owner Mark Bobo.

Want to see more? Click Here

River City Winery – Opening Summer 2008. The expansive basement (where wine will be crafted) stole the show.

Want to see more? Click Here

Baptist Tabernacle – Recently purchased by the city of New Albany. The possibilities are intriguing. See also this previous post.

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Scribner Place – Opening Fall 2008. The first photo is from Fall 2007. The second is from last week.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Got Googie? Appreciating the Recent Past

I subscribe to Preservation, the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I highly recommend it. The recent issue focus was modern architecture. This article caught my attention – “Gaga Over Googie?”, by Krista Walton.

This Newsweek article also explores the same topic, "Is Googie Good?", by Sarah Kliff.

A debate is stirring in Seattle, Washington. Is this building a landmark? Is it worth preserving? Read and then weigh in yourself.

photo credits - Grace Architects (middle); Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times (right)

I know what my answer is. What about you?

Its architecture is described as being Googie. Features of Googie include upswept roofs, curvaceous, geometric shapes, and bold use of glass, steel and neon. Do we have some Googie in New Albany? Maybe not, but we do have some quality recent past buildings.

One of my favorites? A model Valentine Diner, serial number 2031. Location – 147 E. Market Street. Name – “Little Chef Diner”. It's been operating since 1957. Does this look familiar?

From the Kansas State Historical Society Website:

Valentines were small eight- to twelve-seat diners with a limited menu, making them ideal for a one-person operation. It provided an opportunity to operate a profitable business with very little capital.

The diners were manufactured in Wichita from the late 1930s into the mid-1970s. Sales of the buildings expanded nationwide, and Valentines soon were all over the United States. The diners often were located along major highways, and many of them are still in use today

It’s a building I’ve taken for granted. I’ll be honest and say that it’s been almost invisible to me, sandwiched between the Fair Store and the Odd Fellows building. And no, I’ve never been inside. They are not smoke free so a visit, in that small of a space, will be difficult for me. But I do resolve to get in there for a visit soon.

Additional Art Deco and Moderne architecture in downtown New Albany: 1. 601 E. Spring Street, Dental office of Dr. John Sisk, DDS. 2. Mike Smith Firestone at 227 State Street. 3. 130 E. Main Street

Architectural relevance certainly did not end in 19th century. My own appreciation of modern architecture has changed greatly over the last few years. These buildings are just as significant as any Victorian, Italianate or Queen Anne structures in our community. They contribute to the fabric of our history, telling the complete, unique and up to the minute story of our place.

Have a recent history architectural favorite in the area? Please share.

Additional Reading:

During my internet browsing, I stumbled upon an interesting website called the American Roadside - there was a feature on our own Little Chef Diner.

Googie Architecture Online

Recent Past Preservation Network

Monday, May 05, 2008

One Strange Day - the rollercoaster that was Monday, May 5th

First the good news. Take the trip down to the 200 block of Pearl Street and get ready for a surprise. Someone had a really big can opener out there today.
I wet myself when I saw it.
The kick-off event for Preservation Month went great - head count was 51.
Hillary and a few thousand of her friends were exactly one block away at the same time (no photographs of that).

And it all happened in one day. I can't wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

The 5th Running of the Preservation Month Derby!

It’s May and that means many things for the Louisville Metro and Southern Indiana area – Kentucky Derby, corresponding invasion of B-list and below stars, Derby drunkenness, non-stop local TV coverage of Derby B-list stars and Derby drunkenness and front page news stories on hat’s that resemble sombreros which are highly coveted by women and cost hundreds of dollars.

It’s also Preservation Month. Check the right side bar for information on upcoming events. Visit for more information. We’ve got educational and fun events on the way throughout the month.

And we promise that Larry Birkhead will not be at any of the functions and anyone wearing a sombrero will be promptly roughed up and removed by security.