News en-us Kohler Foundation to Restore Itasca Rock Garden Sat, 21 Sep 2019 00:00:00 PST The Freeborn County(Minnesota) Historical Society has announced that the Kohler Foundation has purchased and will restore the Itasca Rock Garden in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Although not on the NRHP at this time, the rock garden has a long history and is a revered asset of Albert Lea. The society says that the Kohler Foundation will gift the property to the Freeborn Historical Society sometime after the restoration is completed. <p> Also known as the Christiansen Rock Garden, construction was begun in 1925 by John Christiansen. He and his wife collected rocks for the garden when they travelled. <p> According to the Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi, the rock garden has sometimes been referred to as a "grotto" but there is no religious connotation to the collection. (Similar sites in the midwest have the term grotto in the name. Most are religious in nature, such as the <a href="" target="_blank">Dickeyville Grotto</a>.) The museum also reports that the extensive garden was comprised of lily ponds, bridges, miniatures, walls and numerous structures. <p> The last structure was added in 1938, John passed away in 1939. His wife continued to keep the garden open after his death, subsequent owners also kept it open to the public at least until 1952, when it was sold again. <p> Sources: Facebook: <a href="" target="_blank">Itasca Rock Garden</a><br> Facebook: <a href="[0]=68.ARC-6laQ_kSFkiPX-mxYDiv8z9OVWJ0iRKN12uHC0PoMta6PRPuVjXJFjSEdHC0wa2KHyNDywRfjbcoiwcgARPUzDzVKUmAXDU_BwSUtBUGgkbdLjejq4MfZMo96Lx5GVJFdtANeGsezaXI0NL8koXwxWHlEq6liKyZTJOGKFtRbf9t3or8NhyZ0svuLNWM-fRutBH7WMmpoHLzgoT-eIlPH0VehZq_qzOOVDvqKIH8znndThBZSP_uSWnu32z4R1sauytCoSoH4ZIVBgsDjyJyg8m1FCylEVXfMwiVW0aem8Bvt3TJXy3jUCrXVA1e15ie9mfSD5Fmwuzmgdo6X3Wo&__tn__=CH-R">Save the Itasca Rock Garden</a><br> Minnesota Museum of the Mississippi: <a href="" target="_blank">Christensen Rock Garden</a> <p> Funding Secured for Kaukauna's Veterans Memorial Bridge Wed, 11 Sep 2019 00:00:00 PST The Fox River Navigation System Authority (FRNSA) in a press release is reporting that funds to repair the Kaukauna Veterans Memorial Bridge to operational status have been secured. The U.S. Coast Guard notified the City of Kaukauna that the bridge, over the Fox River Navigation Channel, must be operational by May 1, 2021. <p> <img src="" width="400" height="300"></a><br> <font size="-1">Clearance is limited without lifting the bridge.<br><em>Photo by J.R. Manning for Bridge and Landmark Hunter sites.</em></font> <p> Because everything else about the bridge, except the lift mechanism is in good shape, there are no federal dollars available for the repairs. Funds were included in the current State of Wisconsin budget but were struck from the budget by Governor Tony Evers, using the governor's line item veto. In his budget memo, Governor Evers stated, "I am vetoing these sections as I object to the placement of the project in the budget, particularly given the lack of additional funding provided to ensure that this earmark does not result in a delay for other needed repairs." <em>(Source: <a href="" target="_blank">Veto Message, Office of Tony Evers</a>, page 64.)</em> <p> The Fox River Navigation System Authority (FRNSA) says that it worked with city officials and funding was secured through a "newly formed $75 million Multimodal Local Supplement grant program." <p> The lock system in the Lower Fox River was originally built in the 19th century to allow river traffic from Lake Winnebago to the Green Bay and Lake Michigan. (The Upper Fox River was also part of the locks system that allowed river traffic from the Wisconsin River in Portage, Wisconsin to Lake Winnebago. All but one of those locks are now closed and the canal to the Wisconsin River is sealed. The system allowed water traffic between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.) <p> 16 of the 17 locks of the Lower Fox River were restored between 2005-2015 with an investment of $14.5 million and is operated by FRNSA. It is one of the only fully restored, hand-operated lock systems in the United States. Currently, the <a href="" target="_blank">Menasha Lock</a>, at the upper end of the lower Fox River, is closed to prevent the invasive Round Goby from getting into Lake Winnebago Ecosystem and the Upper Fox River. <em>(See </em><a href="" target="_blank">Menasha Lock Closed, Invasive Species Found in Fox River</a><em> in the Landmark Hunter news feed.)</em> The lock at <a href="" target="_blank">Rapide Croche</a> ("Eighth Rapids") was sealed in 1988 to prevent invasive species from entering the Fox River and Lake Winnebago ecosystems. <p> The Lower Fox drops 180 feet between the head of the river in Lake Winnebago and the mouth at Green Bay. The rapids attracted millers and paper makers to the Fox River Valley in mid 19th Century. Eventually, the Lower Fox River was dammed to take advantage of the potential energy. <p> After the <a href="" target="_blank">Portage Canal</a> was opened to connect the upper Fox River to the Wisconsin River, it was possible to go from the Green Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. A Peek Inside "Old Main" Before Restoration Begins Fri, 30 Aug 2019 00:00:00 PST One of the last bills that President Abraham Lincoln signed into law was an act creating three "Old Soldiers Homes" to take care of disabled Civil War veterans. It was the beginning of the VA, and one of those three was the Northwestern Branch built in Wood, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee. <p> Old Main, a favorite landmark in the Milwaukee area, opened in 1869 and today, is in deplorable shape. Fundraising to save Old Main continues, with plans to convert the grand dame into 80 units of housing. <p> Milwaukee Independent published a virtual reality 360º walk through of Old Main along with an array of still photos, posted by Lee Matz. Follow the link to see the pre-restoration conditions of this once magnificent structure. <p> <a href="" target="_blank">360º Inside Old Main</a> by Chicago's Patio Theater May Be Returned to Former Glory Thu, 22 Aug 2019 00:00:00 PST A new owner has purchased the Patio Theater in the Chicago neighborhood of Portage Park, located on Irving Park Road. The auditorium is an Atmospheric theater with twinkling stars and drifting clouds on the simulated night sky. According to the theater's website, the capacity is 1,496 seats. <p> The Patio opened on January 29, 1927 when silent films were still standard fare. A 3 manual, 10 rank Barton Theater Organ was installed to accompany the films. The organ is still there, according to sources, it is the last Barton theater organ still in its original installation. <p> The single screen theater was built in a neighborhood and never suffered the multi-plexing that happened to so many old theaters, and it was never demolished as also happened to so many old theaters. The survivor closed in 2001, had some restoration performed on it in 2019 to reopen in 2011. It closed again and reopened in 2016. The new owner is showing films and some live performances. <p> Chris Bauman, the new owner, plans to refurbish the old gem and reopen it - again. The marquee has been struck several times by passing trucks and one of Bauman's first tasks will be to resolve the marquee's issues. <p> The Patio Theater is not on the NRHP but it is certainly eligible. <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Block Club Chicago</a> article about the Patio. <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Cinema Treasures</a> article about the Patio. <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Patio Theater</a> website. Eight Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Added to the UNESCO World Heritage List Sun, 07 Jul 2019 00:00:00 PST The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and news sources are reporting that eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across the United States have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are nearly 1,100 World Heritage sites, only 24 of which are in the United States. <p> Arguably one of America's greatest and most influential architects, FLW created over 1,000 designs. 449 of them were actually constructed. Of those 449 realized Wright-designed structures, there are 380 extant structures but 67 have been demolished. <em>Architectural Record</em> --- selected twelve FLW buildings for its list of 100 most important buildings of the 20th Century, four of which are on the list of buildings added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. <p> The properties added to the list are on the National Register of Historic Places and are listed here. The list includes <a href="" target="_blank">Unity Temple</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Frederick C. Robbie House</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Taliesin</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Hollyhock House (Aline Barnsdall Complex)</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Fallingwater</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Taliesin West</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum</a>. <p> Links: <a href="" target="_blank">FLW Foundation</a><br> <a href="" target="_blank">Dwell</a><br> <a href="" target="_blank">Architect Magazine</a> Ford May Rethink Renovation Plans Fri, 24 May 2019 00:00:00 PST <a href="" TARGET="_BLANK">Ford Authority</a> is reporting that Ford Motor Company is rethinking the plan to renovate <a href="" TARGET="_BLANK">Detroit's Michigan Central Station</a>. The original plan was to convert the upper floors to apartments but the plan may change to make those floors into a boutique hotel. A decision on the potential change should come at the end of the month. <p> Ford is spending tons of money on the restoration of the abandoned property and has invited other automakers to join them in using the revamped facility. (Ford is planning on bringing in 5,000 workers for autonomous and EV development. The station will be the anchor of a 1.2 million square foot campus.) <p> The hotel will occupy the twelfth and thirteenth floors, although due to superstition, the top floor will not be so named. A Ford spokesman said the floors lend themselves to hospitality and conferencing more so than residential space. <p> Scaffolding will soon surround the structure as repair of the exterior begins. 227,000 gallons of water has been drained from the building along with removal of 3,000 carloads of debris. The project is slated for completion in 2022. Ford received $239 million in local, state and federal incentives to build the campus. Here's Your Chance to Own a FLW House Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 PST The <a href="" target="_blank">Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation</a> is reporting that the T.A. Pappas House in Town and Country, Missouri is for sale. The Usonian House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1955. One of only two Wright-designed homes in St. Louis, the sale price of $1.2 million includes all the furniture FLW designed for the house. <p> <img src="" width="400" height="300"></a><br> <font size="-1">Theodore A. Pappas House in 2017.<br><em>Photo by LittleT889 for Wikipedia, used by CC BY-SA 4.0</em></font> <p> FLW passed on before construction began but the family wished to expand the original floor plan. The expansion was handled by architects at Taliesin Associated Architects who saw the project through to completion. Ford's Highland Park Factory For Sale Wed, 17 Apr 2019 00:00:00 PST Curbed Detroit is reporting that the former Ford Motor Company Highland Park plant is for sale. <p> The historic plant was designed by famous and prolific industrial architect, Albert Kahn. The site was home of the Model T Ford and was the location of Henry Ford's famous assembly line. The plant was also the location of Henry Ford's announcement of the Five Dollar Day that revolutionized the automobile industry and attracted a migration of workers to Detroit from around the country. The Highland Park plant opened in 1910 and was the standard for industrial plant design for many years. <p> Curbed Detroit tells us the four story, 54,000 square foot plant is currently owned by the Woodward Avenue Action Association that bought the plant in order to preserve it. The listed price is not revealed but the Woodward Action Association bought the facility in 2013 for $550,000.00. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">Administration building at Ford’s Model T plant in Highland Park is for sale</a>. <p> Detroit Masonic Temple in line for $2 Million Upgrade Thu, 07 Mar 2019 00:00:00 PST Crain's Detroit Business and other news sources are reporting that the massive Masonic Temple is getting an upgrade with a new operating agreement with AEG Presents. <p> AEG Presents will operate the 4,400 seat Masonic Temple Theater and 1,586 seat Cathedral Theater. AEG Presents will also book acts for the theaters. AEG will provide $2 million for renovations and restoration, including upgrading sound and lighting. <p> Groundbreaking for the temple, the largest Masonic Temple in the world, was on Thanksgiving Day, 1920 and the building was mostly completed by 1926. The design called for three theaters (only two were completed) a Shrine building, a chapel, eight lodge rooms, two ballrooms, offices, a cafeteria and dining rooms, 16 bowling lanes, a barber shop and a powerhouse that provided electricity for the building. Construction was halted during the Great Depression and the top three floors are still empty. The temple has 1,037 rooms and more than half a million square feet. <p> AEG Presents is a division of AEG Live of Los Angeles, promoting live entertainment. In the agreement, AEG Presents will exclusively book entertainment for and manage the facilities. Grand Chandeliers from Chicago's Uptown Theater May Be Returning Thu, 07 Feb 2019 00:00:00 PST WTTW in Chicago is reporting that the Rapp & Rapp designed Uptown Theater will be undergoing a $75 Million restoration. (See the original article here: <a href="" target="_blank">WTTW Uptown Theater</a>.) The fabulous chandeliers that were a part of the opulent decor of the magnificent movie palace have been stored offsite for more than 20 years. <p> <iframe width="512" height="332" src="" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" seamless allowfullscreen></iframe> <p> When the Uptown opened in 1925, it was the 12th largest movie palace in the United States. It was built by the Balaban & Katz Corporation, owners of a chain of theaters in Chicago. The Uptown was a fabulous theater, built north of Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood, even more fabulous than any theater in The Loop. <p> By the 1980s, like many urban theaters, the Uptown fell on hard times. The last performance there was by the J. Geils Band on December 19, 1981 and it closed that night. Although designated a Chicago landmark in 1991, disuse led to water damage and vandalism. Vandals had stolen many of the grand artifacts from the grand old theater. <p> A mechanical engineer, named Curt Mangel volunteered to aid in maintenance of the theater. Mangel also did work for the Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills. Jasper Sanfilippo is a noted collector of mechanical musical devices, theater organs and artifacts saved from movie palaces. Mangel asked if Mr. Sanfilippo could store the fabulous chandeliers that were still in the Uptown but in grave danger. While at the estate, the chandeliers underwent cleaning and restoration. <p> The chandeliers were built by the Pearlman & Company. The largest is about 14' tall and currently is on display in the Pace de la Musique at the Sanfilippo Estate. Other Uptown chandeliers are also on display there. <p> Mr. Sanfilippo began reproducing the chandeliers and agreed to return the originals to the Uptown if it was ever restored. In June 2018, plans were announced for a a $75 million restoration of the theater, scheduled to begin in August 2019 for completion in 2021. <p> <a href="" target="_blank">The Sanfilippo Foundation</a> is private, however, it is sometimes open to the public for tours and concerts. (Click on the name for information.) <p> For more on the Uptown Theater, see <a href="" target="_blank">Cinema Treasures</a> or WTTW's <a href="" target="_blank">"Taking a Look at Uptown 40 Years Ago"</a> or the Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads website article titled <a href="" target="_blank">A History of the Uptown Theatre</a>. <p> <em>Elements of this article came from numerous sources.</em> Historic train turntable will turn NC&StL locomotive No. 576 Sun, 27 Jan 2019 00:00:00 PST Locomotive 576, formerly located in Centennial Park in Nashville, was removed for restoration to operational status. It will operate in excursion service in Central Tennessee. A turntable was recently moved from Atlanta to Watertown, Tennessee so the locomotive can be turned around. <p> <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" height="320" width="428" border="0" alt="NC&StL 576 in Centennial Park before it was moved"></a><br> <em>NC&StL in Centennial Park 576 before it was moved<br> (Click on photo to see larger image)</em>.<br> <p> News Channel 5 in Nashville reports that Historic Watertown is thrilled to find the turntable. The group says it may take four years to make the turntable operational, as well as build a depot and museum. <p> No. 576 has been located in Centennial Park since 1953. Trains Magazine reported that due to successful fundraising efforts, 576 (also known as "The Stripe") would be removed from the park and restored to operating condition. It was moved on January 13, 2019 to the Tennessee Central Railway Museum for restoration. <p> Links:<br>NewsChannle 5 Video Report: <a href="" target="_blank">Historic train turntable will spin locomotive No. 576 in Watertown</a>.<br> Trains Magazine: <a href="" target="_blank">Trains Magazine report describing the future of No. 576</a>.<br> Nashville Steam Preservation Society: <a href="" target="_blank">Nashville Steam Preservation Society</a>. Hey, Buddy! Wanna Buy the Chysler Building? Thu, 10 Jan 2019 00:00:00 PST Forbes Magazine and other sources (links below) are reporting the iconic Chrysler Building is up for sale. The Abu Dhabi Investment Council is putting up their 90% share of ownership. The asking price is unknown. The New York <em>Times</em> reports that the council paid $800 million for their 90% stake in 2008. Will it bring a profit? No one is sure. <p> The building does not own the land beneath it and rental costs of land <p> in Manhattan have escalated. The land the building stands on is owned by the Cooper Union school. Land rent was $7.75 million in 2017, but jumped to $32.5 million in 2018. It will rise to $41 million in 2028. Maintenance costs can be high on a 1930 building and it faces much competition from surrounding office buildings with more modern amenities. <p> The Chrysler Building was the headquarters of Chrysler Corporation until 1953 but was never owned by the corporation. It was built and owned by Walter P. Chrysler. At the time of its opening, it was the tallest building in the world. It was passed by the Empire State Building just eleven months later and is now the 8th tallest building in NYC. <p> Links:<br><a href="" target="_blank">Forbes Magazine: NYC's Illustrious Chrysler Building For Sale</a>.<br><a href="" target="_blank">New York Times: Chrysler Building, a Famed Slice of Manhattan Skyline, Is on the Block Lincoln Highway Bridge Fund Exceeds Goal Sat, 05 Jan 2019 00:00:00 PST The Toledo <em>Chronicle</em> and Tama <em>News-Herald</em> reported on January 5, 2019 that the Lincoln Savings Bank donated $3,000 to the City of Tama toward the fund drive to restore the Tama Lincoln Highway Bridge. The fund is now over the $12,000 goal for local contributions to the restoration fund. Grants and funding from the city will pay for the engineering and restoration of the bridge. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">Lincoln Highway Bridge restoration fund tops goal</a>. Egyptian Theater (DeKalb) About to Undergo $4.5 Million Renovation Thu, 03 Jan 2019 00:00:00 PST The DeKalb (Illinois) <em>Daily Chronicle</em> is reporting that the 90 year old Egyptian Theater is moving ahead with plans for a $4.5 Million renovation. Plans call for air conditioning and expansion of rest room facilities. (Links below.) <p> The air conditioning is to help preserve the historic structure and encourage more use of the theater year round. The proposed units are high efficiency but are comparable in size to a school bus. The installation will be on the roof to preserve the historic appearance of the façade but will also require some changes to the roof structure to accommodate the weight. <p> The city will put up $2.5 Million with the rest of the funds provided by donations. The theater says it serves 40,000 patrons annually that has a $2 million impact on the local economy each year. The upgrade should spark a 35% growth in attendance and economic impact. <p> The theater opened on December 10, 1929 as a combination movie and Vaudeville theater. It continued as a dual purpose theater although it reverted to mostly a movie house by the 1970s. It fell into disrepair and disuse, and was closed in 1977. The owners turned the theater over to the City of DeKalb at that time. The theater was on the verge of condemnation when a group of citizens worked to restore the Egyptian. It was added to the NRHP in 1978 and a $2.5 million renovation began in 1979. The theater reopened in 1983. <p> <em>Links:</em><br> Daily Chronicle website: <a href="" target="_blank">Egyptian Theatre set to undergo $4.5 milllion renovation project</a>.<br> Cinema Treasures: <a href="" target="_blank">Egyptian Theater, DeKalb.</a><br> "History" on the Egyptian Theater Website: <a href="" target="_blank">The Historic Egyptian Theater.</a> San Francisco Says: Rebuild It Exactly The Way It Was Mon, 17 Dec 2018 00:00:00 PST A developer in San Francisco has been ordered to rebuild a historic home, designed by Richard Neutra, that he illegally demolished to build on the site. <p> <img src=""></a><br> <em>All that remains is the garage door and frame.<br>Google Street View.</em> <p> According to the San Francisco <em>Chronicle</em>, Washington <em>Post</em> and several other news outlets, the Largent House, a 1936 Twin Peaks neighborhood, Richard Neutra design, at 49 Hopkins Avenue, was demolished to make room for a much larger house that was proposed for the site. <p> In a 5-0 vote, the San Francisco City Planning Commission ordered that the property owner rebuild an exact replica of the house and place a sidewalk plaque that describes the original house, its demolition and the replica that replaces it. <p> The owner had received permission to remodel the extant house with virtually no changes to the first floor. After the demolition, the owner applied for a retroactive demo permit and plans to build a 4,000 square foot house to replace the 1,500 square foot Largent House. The owner paid $1.7 million for the Largent House that was demolished. <p> <img src=""></a><br> <em>Before the demolition.<br>Google Street View.</em> <p> Richard Neutra was an important architect of his era and Largent house was one of only five Neutra houses were built in San Francisco. The planning commission hopes this sends a strong message to developers who ignore building laws. The action strikes a blow for historic preservation. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">SF to developer who tore down landmark house: Rebuild it exactly as it was</a> published December 15, 2018. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">Now he must rebuild an exact replica</a> Washington <em>Post</em>, December 17, 2018. Operation Bridge Rescue Wed, 03 Oct 2018 00:00:00 PST The popular PBS series, NOVA, documented the rebuilding of the Blenheim Covered Bridge, an 1855 structure that was washed washed away by Hurricane Irene in 2011. A replacement bridge, a replica of the original, was built over 2017-2018. This television show documented the rebuilding. <p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p> If you missed it on PBS, you can watch it on their website: <p> <a href=""></a> <p> Appleton Locks Reopen To Watercraft Thu, 20 Sep 2018 00:00:00 PST The Fox River Navigation System Authority (Wisconsin) has announced that a swing bridge, previously not operational, has been repaired. The inability of the bridge to open has limited the height of watercraft that use the locks in the navigational channel. <p> Now that the bridge is operational, the navigation channel is open to all Fox River watercraft that able to lock through Appleton. <p> <a href=""> <img src="" border="0" WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=280></a><br> <em>Photo by Fox River Navigation System Authority</em>. Lift Bridge Over Fox Navigation Channel To Be Operational Again Thu, 19 Jul 2018 00:00:00 PST The Veterans Memorial Bridge in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, has been ordered to be returned to operational condition by the U.S. Coast Guard. The lift bridge, that carries Catherine Street across the Fox River Navigational Channel, has not been operational since the 1980s. The bridge was built in 1984. <p> The Fox locks fell into disuse and the lift bridge stopped being utilized. The locks were restored in 2015 but mariners seldom use them because they cannot get craft under the Veterans Memorial Bridge. <p> WLUK in Green Bay reports that Kaukauna received notification from the U.S. Coast Guard that the bridge must be operational by May 1, 2021. Kaukauna Mayor Tony Penterman says the biggest issue is funding. Except for the lift mechanism, the bridge is in good condition so it is possible not many federal dollars will be available. The projected cost of the repairs is $2.2 Million. <p> Source: <a href="" target="_blank">WLUK Green Bay</a>. Ford Buys Historic Detroit Train Station Mon, 11 Jun 2018 00:00:00 PST Crain’s Business is reporting that Matthew Moroun says the Moroun family has sold the historic Michigan Central Station in Detroit to Ford Motor Co. <p> The station has been unused since the last train pulled out in 1988. The Moroun Family bought the building in 1995 and had done some tedevelopment work. Moroun says the Blue Oval will adorn the building. The purchase signals Ford’s return to Detroit, where the company was founded in 1903. It also signals redevelopment of Corktown. <p> The sale also allows the Moroun family’s to pursue plans to replace the 88 year old Ambassador Bridge. <p> Link: <a href=""></a> <p> <strong>Edited to Add: </strong> The Detroit Free Press also reported on the sale and added some insight. Follow the link to see photos of the old station. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">Ford Buys Train Station</a>. Historic Church Will Be Rebuilt Tue, 05 Jun 2018 00:00:00 PST “Our intent is to rebuild” say officials of Trinity Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The church suffered $17 million in damage from a spectacular fire last month. <p> Structural engineers have determined that the original 1878 walls are strong enough, with some bracing, to support reconstruction of the Church. <p> <a href=""></a> Four Alarm Fire Consumes Historic Church Tue, 15 May 2018 00:00:00 PST The 1878 Trinity Lutheran Church was destroyed today in a spectacular four-alarm fire. The church, in downtown Milwaukee, was constructed with cream city brick and Illinois limestone, both darkened with a patina of dirt and soot. It was also home to a historic Schuelke pipe organ that likely did not survive the fire. <p> The fire was reported just before 4:00 PM and quickly escalated to a fourth alarm. A plume of black smoke could be seen for miles. Wind from the east blew smoke over I-43 a block to the west of the church, causing several miles of traffic backups. Over 100 firefighters were able to bring the fire under control not long after 5:00 PM. One steeple collapsed into the church. The tower clock continued to keep time until the power was cut at 4:27 PM. <p> <a href=""><img src="" alt="Aerial View May 15, 2018"></a><br>Photo by Fox6Now News (Link Below) <p> <p> <p> The church is surrounded by industry, a former brewery being redeveloped, a technical college and a new arena under construction. Few of the homes that belonged to parishioners who built the church are extant. The church has an active congregation that is in disbelief over the destruction of the church. <p> Jim McCabe, founder of the Milwaukee Brewing Company which is across the street. Mr. McCabe took these photos of the fire. <p> <a href=""><img src="" alt="MFD Continues Pouring in Water"></a> <br><em>Trinity Fire Photo by</em> Jim McCabe. <p> <a href=""><img src="" alt="Firre Starts approx. 4:00 PM May 15, 2018"></a> <br><em>Trinity Fire Photo by</em> Jim McCabe. <p> <a href=""><img src="" alt="Church is Fully Involved"></a> <br><em>Trinity Fire Photo by</em> Jim McCabe. <p> <a href=""><img src="" alt="After Roof Collapse"></a> <br><em>Trinity Fire Photo by</em> Jim McCabe. <p> <a href=" " target="_blank">Firefighters battle 4-alarm blaze at historic church in downtown Milwaukee</a> Fox6Now News, Milwaukee. <p> <strong>EDITED TO ADD:</strong> Fox6 followed up on the fire today (May 16) saying that several artifacts were rescued from the church, including the cross that came from Germany with the first members of the congregation. <a href="" target="_blank">Pastor of church blocks from 4-alarm blaze: ‘Any of these churches are a spark away from fire’</a> posted by Ben Handelman. Other stories are linked at the end of that piece. Aurora's Paramount Theater Receives Its Largest Grant Ever Sun, 25 Feb 2018 00:00:00 PST The Paramount Theater has announced the largest grant it has ever received to help launch a fund-raising campaign. In a press release, the theater says it received a grant of $2.5 million from the Dunham Fund. The fundraising effort has a goal of $4.5 million to fund expansion and improvement in three areas. <p> One such goal is the replacement of the 1,888 seats that are original to the theater. The group says the seats <p> have served more than eight million patrons since the theater opened in 1931. The new seats are to be larger and more comfortable than the originals. <p> The Copley Theater, a 173 seat sister stage across the street from the Paramount, will be upgraded. The Copley was built in 1981 and needs new carpeting, seating, technical upgrades, and remodeling of dressing rooms and the backstage area. <p> Lastly, the fund will create a new Paramount School of Performing Arts in downtown Aurora. The school is slated for opening in 2019 to encourage and train young actors, dancers, and musicians in the western suburbs of Chicago. The development also will include about 30 artist-preference apartment units, a restaurant and rehearsal space for the Paramount. <p> This story has appeared in several media outlets, including <a href="" target="_blank"> $2.5 million Paramount Theatre grant 'milestone' for Aurora</a> in the Aurora <em>Beacon-News</em> edition of the Chicago <em>Tribune</a>. Tax Credit Increase for Historic Preservation Passes in Wisconsin Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:00:00 PST Lawmakers in Wisconsin passed a landmark (pun intended) bill on February 20 to increase the state's cap on per-project historic rehabilitation tax credits. The increase bumps the credit from $500,000 to $3.5 million. The bill passed the Senate on a bi-partisan vote of 29-3 after unanimously passing the Assembly. The bill now moves on to the desk of Governor Scott Walker, who is expected to sign the bill into law. <p> A previous budget item would have set the limit at $500,000 as of July 1. <p> Advocates say the lower tax credits jeopardized numerous projects across the state. The increase will have a direct effect on the restoration of Old Main, the Edward Townsend Mix designed building that is the face of the Old Soldier's Home in Wood, Wisconsin. <p> The increase is considered to be a stimulant for restoration and development all across the state. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">State Legislature approves increase to historic tax credit cap</a> from the Milwaukee <em>BizTimes</em>. Historic Fire Station to Become Restaurant Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:00:00 PST A former fire station in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin is scheduled to be repurposed as a restaurant. According to the Milwaukee <em>Journal-Sentinel</em>, a successful area restaurateur purchased the property for $1.00 and will convert the facility in a $2 million project. Some funding will come from the State of Wisconsin and Menomonee Falls. Scheduled to open this summer, the building served as the city hall a fire house from 1929. City hall moved but the building continued as a fire station until 2015. It was placed on the NRHP in 1988. <p> Link: <a href="" target="_blank">Fire Station Restaurant Conversion</a>. USGS topographic quadrangles updated Sat, 10 Feb 2018 00:00:00 PST The USGS has shifted their collection of historical and modern quadrangle maps to a new hosting provider (Amazon S3). I've updated all of our quadrangle links to point to the new files. One advantage of the new hosting system is that the maps are no longer tucked away in ZIP archives, so the PDF files can now be downloaded directly. <p> To access the quadrangles, pick any county and then click the Quadrangles link in the top menu bar. You can also find links from each landmark page. Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time Sat, 15 Apr 2017 00:00:00 PST <a href=""><img src="" WIDTH=630 HEIGHT=354></a> <p> The truck driver who caused a historic Indiana bridge to collapse because she wasn’t sure how much six tons weighed has been sentenced to jail. <p> Indiana Judge R. Michael Cloud sentenced 24 year old truck driver Mary Lambright to the maximum sentence of 180 days behind bars. She was also ordered to pay $2000 to cover part of the costs of the bridge inspection once construction on the new structure is completed. <p> <a href=""><img src=""></a> <p> The bridge collapsed over a year ago as <a href="" target=" blank">Lambright was hauling 43,000 pounds of bottled water through Paoli, Indiana, on Christmas Day in 2015</a>. <p> Lambright told police she was headed to Walmart to park her truck but missed her exit. After making several turns, she entered a parking lot to turn her truck around to try to get back to the Walmart. The parking lot she turned into was too full for her to make the turn, so she drove onto the iron bridge that spans Lick Creek. <p> The bridge sheared the top of the trailer off while the weight of the truck collapsed the structure. Police believe that she was traveling at about 30 m.p.h. when she began crossing the bridge. <p> Lambright and her 17 year old female passenger were not injured. <p> Lambright told police that she saw signage about the bridge’s maximum 6 ton weight limit, but that she was not sure how many pounds made up 6 tons. The bridge had a no truck sign posted as well. <p> She also told police that she was uncomfortable backing her truck up, which was why she chose to drive it across the tiny bridge instead. <p> Lambright lost her job over the incident. <p> She pled guilty to charges of reckless operation of a tractor-trailer, disregarding a traffic control device, and overweight on posted bridge earlier this year. <p> <I>“I’m really, really sorry about what happened and, if I could go back and do it over again, I wouldn’t be so stupid,”</I> she told the court. <br> * * * <p> <i>Published by </i>CDL Life News<i> on April 12, 2017. Republished here with permission. See the original article at <a href="" target=" blank"></i>Trucker Who Collapsed Historic Bridge Gets Jail Time</a>. Theurer-Wrigley House On The Market Sat, 04 Feb 2017 12:26:00 PST Here's your chance to hobnob with Chicago's elite and entertain your guests in high style in Chicago's Lincoln Park. The Wrigley Mansion, as it is commonly known, is a 9 bedroom, six bathroom home that overlooks Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan. The 13,700 square foot mansion features a mahogany paneled library and a top floor ballroom where you can host your own murder mystery parties. The mansion has been on the NRHP since July 1980. <p> <a href=""> <img src=""></a><br> <em>Wrigley Mansion, Photo by</em> chicagoist. <p> For a cool $7.1 Million dollars, you too can live like a chewing gum magnate. <p> Follow the link for a photo tour of the interior of the mansion: <a href="" target="_blank">Photos: Look Inside Lincoln Park's Epic Historic Wrigley Mansion</a> 1906 Arch Bridge Closed Without Warning Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 PST An important component of Milwaukee's historic Lake Park was closed without notice on December 9. The bridge, designed by Alfred C. Clas and George Bowman Ferry, connects the northern and southern halves of the park by spanning a deep ravine. Lake Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. It was posted to the NRHP in 1993. <p> <a href=""> <img src=""></a><br> <em>The historic bridge's fate is uncertain</em> <p> The concrete arch bridge has been a source of concern for several years. Cracks and spalling raised concerns, leading to a structural analysis in 2015. Potential failure of the bridge prompted its closure on December 9 along with the closing of Ravine Drive, a roadway spanned by the bridge. According to County Executive Chris Abele, the bridge will be demolished if people ignore the chain link gates that block access. <p> Estimates to repair or to replace the bridge hover around $2 million, a sum not readily available. Fans of Lake Park and of the historical value of bridge are disappointed over rumors of the bridge's potential demolition. <p> The concrete arch bridge was part of a promenade that included a grand staircase (extant) allowing access to the lower portion of the park at the bottom of Lake Michigan's famous western shore bluff. There was also an athletic field and stands that were demolished decades ago. <p> <a href=""> <img src=""></a><br> <em>Ravine Drive, a popular roadway, is also closed</em> Developer drops plans to demolish historic Frank Lloyd Wright building Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST One of three Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the state of Montana seems to have avoided the wrecking ball. A copyrighted article by Heidi Desch in the Whitefish <em>Pilot</em>, reports a developer purchased the Lockridge Medical Clinic in Whitefish, Montana with the intention of demolishing it to make room for a commercial development. <p> Developer Mick Ruis purchased the building and says when he purchased the building, he was not aware of Frank Lloyd Wright nor had any idea that Wright is so popular. Although listing on the NRHP does not prevent a property's demolition, Ruis apparently ran into backlash from Wright affectionados. <p> Ruis listed the building at the same price he paid for it and hopes it will be purchased by someone who will restore it or turn it into a museum. <p> Link: <a href="">DEVELOPER DROPS PLANS TO DEMOLISH HISTORIC FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT BUILDING</a> from the Whitefish [Montana] <em>Pilot</em>. Isadore Heller House Back on the Market Sat, 12 Nov 2016 00:00:00 PST Curbed Chicago is reporting that the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Isadore Heller House has returned to the real estate market after taking a break. The 1896 design is a significant example of FLW's developing Prairie Style. <p> It is located in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and was added to the NRHP in 2004. <p> Oh, if you want in, the asking price is $2.425 million and the price appears to be firm. <p> <a href="">Frank Lloyd Wright's Isadore Heller House Returns Asking $2.425m</a> from Curbed Chicago. Famous Tama LH Bridge Damaged in a Hit-And-Run Accident Sat, 15 Oct 2016 00:00:00 PST The Tama <em>News Herald</em> Toledo <em>Chronicle</em> is reporting this morning that an early morning accident October 11 dislodged the letter "Y" in the north railing of the Mud Creek Bridge in Tama. The letter is one of the balustrades that spell "LINCOLN HIGHWAY" on the railings of the iconic bridge. They further report that the damage may have been caused by a chrome bumper or chrome wheels because there are no paint scrapes on the letter or the railing itself. <p> Authorities say the bridge recently underwent structural analysis and they believe insurance should cover the cost of repairs. <p> The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places. <p> <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=280 alt="Damage to Tama Bridge. Photo by John Speer, Tama News-Herald photo Tama Bridge Damage_zpsc5gxb1pd.jpg"/></a> <br><em>Photo courtesy of the </em>News-Herald<em><BR> Photo by John Speer</em>. <p> Link to original article:<br> <a href=""></a> Six Veteran's Home Buildings to be Restored Thu, 04 Aug 2016 00:00:00 PST The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected a local team's proposal to rehabilitate and restore six of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District buidlings for the service of veteraans. <p> The Alexander Company of Madison and the Housing Authority of Milwaukee plan to renovate the six buildings in 100 housing units. Primary is the restoration of Old Main (officially #2) the most recognizable building in Wood, designed by Milwaukee's prominant architect. William Townsend Mix. Its distinctive tower is one of the first elements seen by visitors to the VA facility. The other five buildings are the Administration Building (#1) the Catholic Chaplain's Quarters (#14) and three duplexes, (#18, #19 and #62.) <p> <a href=""> <img src="" WIDTH=630 HEIGHT=354 /></a><br> <em>Buildings to be restored, outlined in blue.</em> <p> Funding will come from the Enhanced Use Lease (ELU) option with the structures leased to The Alexander Company who will take on the cost of rehabilitation. <p> The area is officially known as the Northwestern Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Historic District. Better known locally as the VA Center at Wood, it is one of the original three "Old Soldiers' Homes" signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln just prior to his assassination. One of Milwaukee's most prominant architects, <a href="">Edward Townsend Mix</a> designed the most distinctive structure, Building #2 known as Old Main. Mountain Fire Tower Reopens To The Public Sun, 31 Jul 2016 00:00:00 PST The Mountain Fire Tower is open to the public again after damage caused by vandals has been repaired. The tower closed two years ago after substantial damage had been done to the tower. <p> Greyling Brandt, U.S. Forest Service Assistant Ranger for Recreation and Lands, reports that all 132 steps of the tower have been replaced as has the floor of the cab. The $20,000 project was partially funded by the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation with parts and labor supplied by the U.S. Forest Service. <p> On the National Register of Historic Places, the Mountain Tower is one of two extant towers in this area that originally had 19 towers. Mitchell Park Show Dome Reopens Ahead of Schedule Sat, 30 Apr 2016 00:00:00 PST The "Show Dome," one of the three domes of the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, reopened on Friday, April 29, 2016. The opening was two days ahead of the target date for reopening, May 1. <p> <a href=""> <img src="" WIDTH=320 HEIGHT=240 /></a><br> <em>The Show Dome in 2011</em> <p> "The Domes," as they are popularly known, were closed in early February. On January 29, a piece of the concrete framework fell inside the Arid Dome, which was immediately closed. The closing of the other two domes followed a few days later. <p> A mesh has been installed over the framework. Reports are that the mesh is barely visible. The mesh is to catch and debris that might fall and for officials to monitor the condition of the frame. <p> Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced the reopening on April 26th. He went on to say that the mesh is not a long term solution but provides safety in the short term. "It allows the engineers to monitor the concrete to see if there's falling. At the same time, provide safety which is the number one priority," Abele said. <p> <a href=""> <img src="" WIDTH=257 HEIGHT=193 /></a><br> <em>The Show Dome reopened on April 29.<br> Photo courtesy of Fox6Now News.</em><br> <p> Abele said he expects another six to eight weeks to install the mesh in the second dome, then another six to eight weeks to prepare the third dome. The goal is to have all three domes open by the end of summer. <p> Discussions continue for a long term solution, with the county asking for input from citizens. Look Out for Superman! Fri, 15 Apr 2016 00:00:00 PST According to several news sources, a telephone booth has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Yes, you read that correctly, and it was true the second time you went back to read it. <p> If you are over 50, you probably remember these ubiquitous glass and aluminum structures that were found on urban sidewalks, inside transportation terminals, outside restaurants and service stations, sometimes along the highway. They were also all over Metropolis so Superman had somewhere to become Clark Kent after saving the world. They all contained a coin-operated telephone, or pay phone in common parlance, where you could reach out and touch someone if you had the right coins. <p> The glass and aluminum Airlight Telephone Booth of our youth was introduced in 1954. The booth featured tip-up directories that folded into a box to protect them. Sort of. Telephone books tended to disappear or have pages ripped out by users without a pen. There was a shelf for your stuff or to write info if you were smart enough to carry a pen. <p> Prior to 1954, phone booths were made from wood. One such wooden booth is extant and on the NRHP as a component of the <a href="" target="_blank">Chandelier Ballroom in Hartford, Wisconsin</a>. <p> <img src="" WIDTH=190 HEIGHT=213 /> </a><br> <em>A wooden phone booth at<br> the Schwartz Ballroom, now the<br> Chandelier Ballroom, in<br> Hartford, Wisconsin.</em> <p> Cell phones have pretty much killed the pay phone industry, although phone booths have all but disappeared over the decades. Now more of a curiosity than a necessity, pay phones and telephone booths are quaint reminders of days gone by. A world famous phone booth in the middle of the Mojave Desert was removed about 20 years ago. (Yes, Mojave Desert. Do a google search.) <p> To get home from the football game, and to save money, we would call home, let it ring twice and hang up. We got our dime back for an uncompleted call and Dad knew to come to school and pick us up. <p> One remaining Airlight Telephone Booth in Prairie Grove, Arkansas has been placed on the NRHP. It is a survivor, the last remaining phone booth of the small telephone company that has been family owned since 1888. The booth was flattened in 2014 by the driver of an SUV who had fallen asleep. It was restored and is back on the job, creating a revenue stream of less than five bucks a year. It will always remain here as a quaint reminder of what life was like so many years ago. <p> "Deposit ten cents, plea-uz." Wisconsin Enacts Frank Lloyd Wright Trail Mon, 21 Mar 2016 00:00:00 PST Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill into law that will designate a Frank Lloyd Wright Trail along several highway routes. The trail will begin in Kenosha County and continue through Racine, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Jefferson, Dane, Iowa, Sauk and Richland counties. $50,000 from the Department of Tourism will be used to place signage along the trail marking Wright attractions. <p> <a href=""> <img src="" WIDTH=190 HEIGHT=213 /></a> <p> <em>Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) <br>in his ever-present pork pie hat.</em> <p> The architect was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1867. The <a href="" target="_blank">A.D. German Warehouse</a> in Richland Center is the only FLW structure in his home town. Several other FLW design structures are extant in his home state, including the S.C. Johnson World Headquarters and research tower, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and American System Built Homes in Milwaukee County, along with several homes in various locations along the trail. <p> Wright's studio complex, <a href="" target="_blank">Taliesin</a>, is located in Spring Green in Iowa County. Issac Newton Ellis House Destroyed by Fire Mon, 29 Feb 2016 00:00:00 PST The historic Issac Newton Ellis House in Hazelhurst, Mississippi was destroyed in a spectacular fire on February 27, 2016. The entire structure and an adjacent building were completely destroyed in the fire, according to the fire department. <p> The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built circa 1890. According to officials, no one was at home when the fire started and all residents are accounted for. As of this writing, the cause of the fire is unknown. <p> <a href=",%20Hazelhurst.JPG&imgType=other&adjHeight=618&width=1366"> <img src=",%20Hazelhurst.JPG&imgType=other&adjHeight=618&width=1366" /></a><br> <em>The fire consumed the entire structure.<br><FONT SIZE="-1">Photo by Patrick White, Hazlehurst Fire Department.<br> Used with permission.</font></em> VA seeks proposals to restore unused buildings Sun, 28 Feb 2016 00:00:00 PST The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a Request for Proposals seeking developers interested in rehabilitating a number of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District's unused historic buildings. The RFP utilizes EUL, Enhanced Use Leases. The structures called out in the RFP include Building 2 (Old Main,) Building 1 (Administration Building,) Building 14 (Catholic Chaplain's Quarters,) and Buildings 18, 19 and 62. <p> The VA Center is one of three created during the Lincoln Administration, just prior to his assassination. Soldiers from all American conflicts, except the American Revolution, are interred in the cemetery. <p> Responses to the RFP are due by 11:00 a.m. EST on May 18, 2016. --- EULs would allow the District's vacant buildings to be leased long-term, restored, and used to provide housing for veterans who are homeless or who are at risk of homelessness. At this time, the VA believes Enhanced Use Leases are the most promising way to restore and return these unused buildings to the service of veterans. <p> A link in the Landmark Hunter listing for the Northwestern Branch listing will open the RFP. Mitchell Park Domes Closed For Safety Concerns Tue, 09 Feb 2016 00:00:00 PST Milwaukee's famous Mitchell Park Domes are indefinitely closed. The Arid Dome was closed on January 29 after pieces of concrete fell from the dome. The other domes closed on February 5 as a safety measure while county officials wait for details of how expensive repairs might be. (The geometric framework is based on cast concrete.) Deterioration of the concrete framework was caused by moisture, humidity, and changes in temperature, all enhanced by the age of the structures. <p> The domes were built in stages between 1959 and 1967, with Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States, attending the ribbon cutting ceremony. <p> "If the domes strike you as unusual, it's because they are," County Executive Chris Abele said in a press conference. Preliminary reports show that temporary repairs to reopen the domes could take three to six months and cost anywhere from $450,000 to $900,000. The repairs would consist of wrapping suspect nodes with a nylon material to prevent concrete from falling. <p> The long term solution would include rebuilding the domes. Estimates place the cost upward of $75 million, according to an engineering report. <p> The problems in the county owned structures were quickly politicized. 2016 is an election year for the position of county executive between incumbent Chris Abele and challenger Chris Larson. <p> The Friends of the Domes launched a <a href="" target="_blank">Go Fund Me - Save the Domes</a> account to generate donations for the restoration of one of Milwaukee's most famous icons. <p> News Links: <a href=""></a> <p> Statue of Abraham Lincoln Vandalized in Burlington, Wisconsin Wed, 03 Feb 2016 00:00:00 PST A 22 year old genius has been charged with vandalism in the damage done to an eight foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln in Burlington, Wisconsin. The senseless act took place last Saturday, January 30. Charges were leveled on February 2. <p> Jacob Hinds of Burlington, allegedly toppled the statue by pulling it over with his pickup truck and a tow strap. The 22 year old was charged with felony criminal damage to property. <p> The statue was created by <a href="" target="_blank">George E. Ganiere</a> of Chicago, a 1912 gift of dentist Francis Meinhardt to mark the opening of Lincoln School. The statue is just outside the boundary of the official NRHP district, but is considered a local landmark. The statue was restored in 2014 and rededicated at that time. <p> Burlington Mayor Robert Miller said the damage was in excess of $2,500. The statue is currently being stored by the parks department, awaiting restoration. The firm that restored the statue in 2014 will likely be contracted to repair damage caused by Hinds' action. <p> <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" width="50%" height="50%" border="2" alt="Burlington Lincoln Statue Vandalized photo lincoln-statue-jpg_zpsofc7ewzo.jpg"/></a><br> <font size="-2"><em>Photo by Burlington Historical Society</em></font> <p> A citizen came upon the toppled statue shortly after the act of vandalism occurred and called police. According to the criminal complaint, police followed tire tracks to a parking lot where a Chevrolet truck was parked that matched the witness description. A tow strap was dangling from the passenger side of the tailgate. Police said the tires were still wet and the engine was warm. The truck is registered to Hinds. <p> Hinds faces up to 1-1/2 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. He has an extensive record, mostly of traffic violations. As of this writing, an accomplice is still at large. SS Badger Receives NRHP Listing Fri, 22 Jan 2016 00:00:00 PST The SS Badger, the last coal-fired car ferry on the Great Lakes, has been designated as a national historic landmark. It was already an engineering landmark. <p> The designation was announced by the National Park Service yesterday. <p> <a href=""></a> Menasha Lock Closed, Invasive Species Found in Fox River Thu, 03 Sep 2015 00:00:00 PST <br><br><br><br>The <a href="">Fox River Navigational System Authority</a> has closed the <a href="">Menasha Lock</a> going into the Labor Day weekend due to discovery of an invasive species of fish into the important Wisconsin waterway. Working with anglers fishing the Lower Fox River, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of the Round Goby - an unwanted aquatic invasive species -- immediately below the Neenah dam. <p> <a href=""> <img src="" /></a><br> <em>Round Goby, an invasive species threatening the Fox River<br><FONT SIZE="-1">Photo by Wisconsin DNR</font></em> <p> In a media release on September 3, 2015, Kendall Kamke, DNR Oshkosh fisheries team supervisor, said the four gobies caught in recent days are the first evidence of the species in the waterway above the series of locks and dams downstream. The DNR is asking area anglers for additional help to determine if the species is also present upstream of the Neenah and Menasha dams in Lake Winnebago and is coordinating efforts with the Fox River Navigational System Authority. <p> "We also would like to learn whether the gobies are present in other locations," Kamke said. <p> Since its discovery in the St. Clair River in 1990, bottom-dwelling round gobies have spread rapidly into many areas of the Great Lakes including Lake Michigan. Round gobies can survive even in poor quality water and displace native fish by eating their eggs and young, taking over optimal habitat and spawning multiple times per season, which gives them a competitive advantage. <p> "The gobies represent a real threat to the valuable native species in the Lake Winnebago system - home to a world class walleye fishery, the largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon in North America, good populations of bass, yellow perch and other game and panfish species," Kamke said. "We are grateful to the Fox River Navigational System Authority for the partnership involved in this effort." <p> In addition, Kamke said, DNR is asking for assistance from anglers to help determine whether the gobies have made it above the Neenah and Menasha dams and are in Lake Winnebago or whether they may still be held in check downstream. The DNR would like caught gobies to be brought into the DNR office with details of the catch. <p> The DNR is not sure how the gobies made their way into the Lower Fox. The system of locks has not been operational for many years, with the Kaukauna locks closed for rebuilding while the <a href="">Rapide Croche Lock</a> was permanently sealed in 1988 to prevent invasive species from going upstream into Lake Winnebago. <p> “In three decades there has been no water running through the lock system from Lake Winnebago to the bay of Green Bay,” said Bob Stark, CEO of the FRNSA. “Water still is not flowing through all five Kaukauna locks and the Little Chute locks are dry due to bridge construction. If invasive species have breached the system, it’s a possibility there was another entry point.” <p> Kamke said there is no way to determine how the gobies arrived in the channel below the Neenah dam, which opens into Little Lake Butte des Morts. In addition to working with local anglers, DNR fisheries and aquatic invasive species team members will continue to set traps and use shocking equipment to determine the range and extent of the population. Frank Lloyd Wright House Discovered in Shorewood, Wisconsin Fri, 05 Jun 2015 00:00:00 PST A modest home built in 1917 in the Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood has been determined to be one of Frank Lloyd Wright's American System homes according to Mike Lilek, Curator, American System-Built Homes, at Frank Lloyd Wright Wisconsin. It is a very rare occurrence for an extant Wright house to be discovered. <p> "I received a tip about the Newton home a few years ago and brushed it off. Only 433 Wright designs were executed and they are well-known and carefully researched, so I thought it couldn’t be. When I finally visited the home I discovered many similarities to the Wright homes I care for on Burnham Street in Milwaukee," Lilek said. He said he did extensive research at the Milwaukee County Historical Society and carefully looked at Wright's drawings of American System Homes to verify that the Newton house is a FLW design. <p> “The house was advertised for sale in the Milwaukee Journal in December of 1918 stating that the house was ‘Originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’,” Lilek said. A lawsuit by the builder and a construction lien against The Richards Company, developer of the American System-Built Houses, offer further confirmation that the house is the work of Wright. <p> <center><a href=""><img src="" border="0" alt="Oscar G. Meyer House, Evanston, Illinois"></a> <br> <em>Frank Lloyd Wright House, Shorewood, Wisconsin</em></center>. <p> The Shorewood house is a “Model A203” with two bedrooms. An open porch at the rear of the house was enclosed for added living space at an unknown date, though the original art glass windows are still in place. A basement-level garage was added in 1976. <p> Lilek has since checked around the country and no one can recall the last time an actual Wright building was discovered. “It’s been at least a decade. This is so incredibly rare and unusual,” he said. New Hope for Detroit's Empty Wurlitzer Building Sun, 19 Apr 2015 00:00:00 PST One of Detroit's historic skyscrapers, the Wurlitzer Building, has been sold after standing empty for three decades.The landmark building once housed one of the largest music stores in the world. <p> Rudolph Wurlitzer came to the United States in 1853. His family had been in the music instrument business in Europe since 1659, so it was only natural that Rudolph would start a company that was soon the largest distributor of musical instruments in the county. He began to manufacture pianos that were sold through retailers. <p> When silent movies became a major industry, Wurlitzer began to build theater organs that were reputed to be the biggest, the best, and the clearest sounding organs. Even today, the reputation of "The Mighty Wurlitzer" is known around the world. Wurlitzer would go on to manufacture phonograph equipment and a very popular line of jukeboxes. <p> The Wurlitzer Building went up in 1926, a Renaissance Revival, 14 story skyscraper. According to <a href="">Historic Detroit</a>, the building was built with a Terra Cotta façade, granite trim and ornamental ironwork. The name, "Wurlitzer Building" was built into the façade with black Terra Cotta. <p> Wurlitzer moved out of the building in the 70s, and things pretty much started to go downhill from there. It has been standing empty, with time, elements and vandals all taking a toll on the building. <p> But it appears that the old gem is about to receive a new lease on life. It has been purchased by New York development company Ash NYC, which plans to turn it into a 100 room boutique hotel with a sidewalk cafe and a rooftop lounge. The estimate for the renovation is over $20 million. The project is projected to be completed in late 2016. <p> Link: <a href="">SOLD: Empty Wurlitzer Building Books $20M Hotel Rehab</a>. The site is called Curbed Detroit. You Can Own The Oscar G. Meyer Home! <em>Sing along with me, you know the tune!</em> <p> Meyer mansion has a first name,<br> It's E-M-P-T-Y!<br> Meyer mansion has a second name,<br> It's B-U-Y-M-E!<br> <p> <center><a href=""><img src="" border="0" alt="Oscar G. Meyer House, Evanston, Illinois"></a> <br> <em>Oscar G. Meyer House, Evanston, Illinois</em></center>. <p> I never sausage a thing! <p> The King of Wieners, Oscar Meyer, lived in an understated (if that's possible) mansion in Evanston, Illinois. He bought the 1903 house in 1927 and after remodeling it, lived there until his death in 1965. It is in serious need of restoration, but you'll probably have to ask James for a raise if you're going to tackle this one. It's a bargain at only $236.00 per square foot. Of course, it has about 7,500 square feet, but it's a real bargain at the listed price of $1.75 million. (The estimated mortgage payment would be a measly $6,335.00 per month.) The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile is not included. <p> The house is in a serious state of decay and is being sold by court order. I'd hate to guess how much it will take to bring it back to its original elegance. The house is not on the NRHP but it certainly looks like it might qualify. <p> The Oscar Meyer house can be found on several real estate websites, just do a google search, or follow this link: <p> <a href="">Oscar G. Meyer House For Sale</a> Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama Needs Repairs Sat, 13 Sep 2014 00:00:00 PST The historic Lincoln Highway bridge in Tama, Iowa that crosses Mud Creek is in need of repairs caused by flood damage, according to a copyrighted story in the Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald. The article by John Speer, dated September 12, 2014, reports that engineers have determined that substructure damage was caused by debris carried by flood waters in Mud Creek. <p> In addition, the deck will need to be removed and replaced. Estimates are that the repairs to cost as much as $40,000.00. Tama City Clerk, Judy Welch, said that the substructure repairs need to be completed in 2015 although the deck surface can wait until 2017. <p> The 100th Anniversary of the bridge opening will occur in 2015. It was placed on the NRHP in 1987. The distinctive bridge is known primarily for its railing balustrades that spell out LINCOLN HIGHWAY. <p> A small park, adjacent to the northeast quadrant of the bridge, is the location of a monument to the bridge. A support group, the Lincoln Highway Bridge Park Organization Tama-Toledo supports the park in several ways. <p> The article can be seen on the paper's website: <a href=""></a> SC Johnson & Sons Research Tower Opens for Tours Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:22:00 PST After standing unused for over 30 years, and closed to the public, SC Johnson Company's Frank Lloyd Wright designed Research Tower will open for tours. <p> SC Johnson Company has announced that the tower, one of the tallest cantilevered buildings in the United States, will be a part of the public tours for the first time ever. In a copyrighted story by Milwaukee's Fox 6 News, free tours of the tower and the administration building will begin May 2, 2014. <p> SC Johnson has restored two of the 15 floors to their appearance when the tower was closed. Period equipment has been placed to enhance work space mock-ups. <p> The tower has 15 cantilevered floors, six are square with circular mezzanine floors above them. (There is an additional square floor on the second level.) All the floors are supported by a central core, none are supported by the exterior walls or any additional framing. The core contains an elevator and a circular stairway that is a fire inspector's nightmare. <p> <center><a href=""><img src="" border="0" alt="Wright's Research Tower"></a></center> <br><em>After restoration of the exterior (including cleaning the glass tubes with Windex™, an SC Johnson product) it is possible to make out the round shape of the alternating mezzanine floors.</em> <p> The tower opened in 1950 and was the only R&D building Wright ever designed. It was never open to the public while in use, nor after it was closed in 1983. <p> More than 5,800 Pyrex glass tubes, totalling over 17 miles in length, serve as windows, letting in diffused light. The exterior alternates between stripes of glass tubes and more than 21,000 bricks. The bricks feature the signature Wright/SC Johnson “Cherokee Red” color. <p> Tours are free but require advance reservations. If you are interested in seeing this architectural gem, check soon for a tour opening. Tours are filling up quickly and can be made by following the link below. <p> Chicago Tribune Article: <a href="">Frank Lloyd Wright's tower worthy of debate, and a trip</a> by Blair Kamin. <p> Fox 6 News Story: <a href="">For the first time, step inside S.C. Johnson’s research tower</a>. <p> SC Johnson Company Tours: <a href="">SC Johnson Company Tour Reservations</a>. Mary L. Nohl Art Environment to be Relocated Sat, 29 Mar 2014 00:00:00 PST One of the ten most endangered historical sites in Wisconsin has met its fate, and no one appears to be a winner in this case. The modest cottage of Mary L. Nohl and all her artwork will be relocated to Sheboygan as part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, which owns the art site. The Nohl site is precariously located in an affluent suburb of Milwaukee that grew up around the cottage in Ms. Nohl's lifetime. <p> Mary L. Nohl was a very creative woman, an artist who dedicated her life to her art. Sometimes labeled an eccentric, she spent almost all of her reclusive life in a modest cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan, built by her parents, Leo and Emma Nohl. <p> Although she had extensive education in the arts, she abandoned classical art and created directly from her soul, her wit and whimsy displayed in her environment. She created a lifetime of sculptures and oil paintings in her home, with most of the sculptures displayed in the yard. <p> <img src="" border="2" alt="Mary Nohl Property Gates"></img> <br><em>Mary helped her father build these gate pillars during her 12th summer. (It is assumed that she added the figures years later.) The sand and rocks were hauled up from the beach in Mary's red wagon. She continued to use that wagon for hauling art materials from the beach over her lifetime.</em> <p> All of this has been much to the dismay of some of her neighbors, consisting of large estates in this current-day affluent neighborhood. Several urban myths have grown up around the environment, sometimes known as "The Witch's House" some because of her reclusive lifestyle, some because of a huge sculpture with three eerie figures (no longer on display on the property.) She took it all in stride, even creating a mosaic on her front porch that spells. "BOO!" <p> Her brother, Maximilian, was educated at MIT and was a noted marine engineer that set a deep sea diving depth record in Lake Michigan. In 1960, Max and his wife, Eleanor, died tragically in a two-car automobile accident near Hope, Arkansas, leaving Mary the sole surviving heir. <p> The Wisconsin Preservation Trust listed the Nohl property as one of the ten most endangered sites in Wisconsin. A very vocal minority of Fox Point residents has actively campaigned in the past to have the site demolished, as they consider it an eyesore. Not all residents feel that way and many are proud of the community's unique treasure, but apparently, not enough of them. The Trust said not long ago that "...without support from within and outside the Village of Fox Point, the Kohler Foundation will be forced to develop an exit strategy and the art and home will have to be removed from the site." <p> The announcement on March 27 brought the Trust's prediction to fruition. <p> According to the Kohler Arts Center, the cost of moving the environment will be between one and two million dollars. Upon completion, the extremely valuable property will be sold to help defray the relocation costs. Plans are to reassemble the cottage and collection near Lake Michigan, allowing more access to artists and the public. A guard is on site 24 hours now, and Kohler Arts Center officials say security is being stepped up in the wake of this announcement. <p> There are many challenges facing the move. Almost every inch of the cottage is carved, painted, or displays Ms. Nohl's artwork. Much of her art is very delicate, made from elements that washed up on shore. The hundreds of concrete sculptures that adorn her yard will also require special care. <p> <img src="" border="2" alt="Silhouettes"></a> <br><em>Ms. Nohl decorated the outside of her home with colorful panels made with driftwood figures and cut-out wooden silhouettes. Even more wooden silhouettes dangle from tree branches. Many of the silhouettes were formerly pickets of a fence that she was forced to remove because of damage caused by vandals.</em> <p> A complete report about the move was published by the Milwaukee <em> Journal-Sentinel</em> on March 27, 2014. <a href="">Mary Nohl House to Be Dismantled and Moved.</a> Federal Court Upholds Deal Between Car Ferry and EPA Sat, 12 Oct 2013 00:00:00 PST According to the Detroit <em>Free Press</em>, it appears the car ferry SS <em>Badger</em> will continue to ply Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Ludington. The <em>Badger</em> is the last operational car ferry of the once enormous fleet of railroad ferries, and the last coal-fired cargo vessel on the lakes. <p> And therein lies her problem. The SS <em>Badger</em> has been on the endangered species list since 2008, when the Environmental Protection Agency leveled the ship into its crosshairs. Coal-fired vessels disposed of coal ash by mixing it with water and pouring it overboard. The <em>Badger</em> is no different, and has been disposing of coal ash into the lake since it was built in 1953. The EPA claims the coal ash is a pollutant and ordered the dumping stopped in 2008. The operators were given until 2012 to stop dumping or cease operations. The legal battle has continued ever since. <p> On October 10, 2013, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff approved a revised deal between the EPA and Lake Michigan Carferry, parent company of the S.S. <em>Badger</em>. <p> The agreement allows the <em>Badger</em> to continue operations while modifications are made to the ship. The deal calls for a reduction in the amount of ash discharged during the 2014 sailing season and by the start of the 2015 season, the <em>Badger</em> will have to store coal ash on board for later disposal on shore. <p> With this ruling, it appears the Queen of the Great Lakes Car Ferries (and the last of her breed still sailing) will continue to be an operational historical landmark. New York Teen Sues Over Arrest for Photographing Trains Wed, 06 Mar 2013 00:00:00 PST A teenage train fanatic is suing New York authorities after being arrested and detained for three hours for the crime of taking photographs of trains. <p> According to the <em>USA Today</em> in a story republished on March 25, 2013 (by Eric Shilling of The Westchester County <em>Journal News</em>) Gregory Grice was 16 when he was arrested on June 6, 2011. Grice says he was stopped while harmlessly snapping photos of Metro-North trains near the North White Plains station in Greenburgh, N.Y. (That's about 30 miles north of New York City.) <p> The paper reports that the lawsuit was filed March 15 in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y. with unspecified damages. The suit names the towns of Greenburgh and North Castle, Westchester County, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and several police officers. <p> An MTA spokeswoman said there is no prohibition on photography in the MTA system "as long as there is no trespass." MTA's rules of conduct call for a $25 fine for unauthorized photography or filming. <p> Grice had a copy of the MTA rules of conduct with him when he was arrested. <p> Watch out where you're shooting! <p> Link to story: <a href=""></a>