Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Preservation Resources

The National Park Service provides some excellent and detailed resources for preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic buildings.
Preservation Briefs provides nearly 50 publications on topics such as roofing, windows, siding, architectural character, painting, exterior additions, and many more.
Preservation Tech Notes provide practical information on traditional practices and innovative techniques for successfully maintaining and preserving cultural resources.  There are numerous case studies on categories such as doors, windows, masonry, finishes, and more. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Preservation continues in Alexandria

Bolton Avenue in Alexandria is being renewed by the city as part of the Special Planned Activities Redevelopment Corridors (SPARC) initiative as highlighted in a recent newspaper article.  Tomorrow, Friday 8/16, at 10 a.m. the city is holding a press conference in front of the Bolton Avenue Community Center.  Be there if you can.
Also, visit the Pill Box Pharmacy at the corner of Park Avenue and Bolton Avenue.  It is in the former Greyhound Terminal which was originally the Park Avenue Branch of the Guaranty Bank.  The building has been restored and was listed in January on the National Register of Historic Places.
 You may read a copy of the nomination to the National Register here.  This building is described as being highly influenced by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebration Photos and News

We celebrated in style with a great block party!  So many people from within the district and from the community enjoyed the morning.  We had great tours of the district on the A-Town trolley led by Paul Smith, preservation consultant; approximately 150 people had the opportunity to enjoy the guided tour, seeing the historic houses and learning of the architectural elements of the houses.   Self-guided walking tours were also available.  

Taking It 2 the Street provided outstanding entertainment by highly talented local artists
Young entrepreneurs provided lemonade and popcorn

Photos of the event - album
Article from The Town Talk - .pdf
Mayor Roy kicking off the celebration - video
Michelle Willis - Taking It to the Streets - video
Ashleigh Klein - Taking it to the Streets - video
Mackenzie Lynn - Taking it to the Streets - video

We thank the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission, Taking It 2 the Street and the talented performers, and all who helped make this celebration an event to remember!  We thank the residents of the historic district for preserving these very special homes.  We thank all who attended the event. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Celebration is History

What a special day it was as we celebrated the historic district.  If you were there, you  were a part of history.  Neighbors throughout the district came together, and we were joined by friends throughout the community and other parts of CENLA.  Thanks to all for being a part of it!  And special thanks to Megan Lord and the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission for making it happen!

Watch for photos and videos of the celebration.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Post-War Suburbs Celebration presented by the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission

The celebration will recognize the listing of the Alexandria Post-War Suburbs Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents of the district and the Alexandria community will be celebrating Louisiana’s first mid-century modern National Register historic district.  Be a part of it!

When:            Saturday, 7/13, 10 a.m. to noon
Where:          In the district gathering on Kimball Ave. near the corner of Madonna Dr.
  • Welcome Remarks – The Honorable Jacques Roy, Mayor of the City of Alexandria
  • Guided tours on the trolley bus departing about every 30 minutes (approx. 25 passengers). The route starts on Kimball near Madonna, then west on Madonna, south on Pierson, west on Elliott, north on Maryland, east on Pershing, and south on Kimball.
  • Walking tours available – Self-guided throughout the district; brochures will be available or you may download.  For detailed descriptions of the houses on the tour, view or download here.   Use caution on streets.  Homes are not open; please do not go on properties.
  • Entertainment – Taking It 2 the Street will host a ‘block party’ 
  • News coverage - TV, radio, and newspaper
Coming to the celebration from outside the district?  To avoid congestion, consider parking outside the district as there will be trolley tours and self-guided walking tours within the district.  If driving into the district, consider turning from Texas Ave. on to Stimson Ave.

We expect to have traffic blocked (except to residents) in these areas:
  • on Kimball from the corner of Pershing to around the corner of Madonna and Pierson
  • on Elliott from Pierson to Maryland
View TV coverage from KALB-TV from July 5.
A-Town trolley

Monday, July 1, 2013

Banners in the District

 Today the city completed hanging ten banners around the district.  A few were hung on Friday, and it was pleasing to hear so many people comment about how nice they look and how meaningful it is to have this district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thanks to the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission and the City of Alexandria for supporting the district in so many ways including these fine banners!

Stand by for an announcement in coming days about an upcoming celebration.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Compliments to those who made it happen!

Now that the Alexandria Post-War Suburbs Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, I want to thank and compliment some of those who made it happen.   The Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission (AHPC) has been so important leading the effort to prepare and promote the nomination.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with Megan Lord, Director of the AHPC; Joe Betty Sterkx, Chair of the AHPC, and Paul Smith who has provided historic preservation consulting to the AHPC.

Megan’s leadership has been so important throughout the process.  Through her and the fine members of the commission, what were several neighborhoods have now been recognized and brought together as this historic district.  The model that the commission followed to make this happen will be beneficial in the future to other historic areas in Alexandria.

Joe Betty’s energy and enthusiasm for preservation along with her humor and congeniality have benefitted residents as we were informed through community meetings during the nomination process.  As a result of Joe Betty’s urging participation from the neighborhood, Robert “Bubba” Jones along with my wife Judy and I volunteered to help in communicating between the AHPC and the residents of the neighborhood.

Paul’s expertise and belief in preservation have been quite beneficial as he has informed us about the important architectural elements that are so prevalent and unique to so many homes in the district.  The information he has shared about preservation tax credits creates awareness for homeowners of the benefits and opportunities to preserve our legacy.

The nomination for listing on the National Register was prepared for the AHPC by Donna and Jonathan Fricker.  They walked the neighborhood, analyzed records, and prepared the successful proposal.  We had the opportunity to hear Donna present to the State Review Board in Baton Rouge in March, resulting in unanimous approval.

It has been a great team resulting in a great achievement for this great city!
                                                                                      - Dave Curry

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places!

Today the Director of the National Park Service announced for the National Register of Historic Places that the Alexandria Post-War Suburbs Historic District was listed on June 6, 2013.  Read the announcement.

More information is available about the listing on National Register of Historic Places website. 
Let's celebrate Louisiana's first mid-century modern historic district!
(Mark the tentative date of July 13 on your calendar.  More to come.)
Photo credit:  Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sustainability and Historic Preservation Workshop - 6/22

Please register at 

 The Sustainability and Historic Preservation workshop highlights the best practices of combining sustainable design techniques and historic preservation, including popular topics such as energy efficiency, windows and solar panels. Aimed at local historic property owners, the workshops offer valuable insights for local historic commission members, city government staff and professionals in related fields.

Speaker: Robin Zeigler, Nashville Metro Historic Zoning Commission

Monday, April 15, 2013

Historic District Meeting - Monday, 4/22, 6 p.m.

Please join us for a neighborhood meeting to discuss the proposed historic district.
When:  Monday, 4/22, 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Where:  Emmanuel Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall, 430 Jackson St.
               (Enter through door under covered parking)
  • Update residents of the proposed historic district on progress and future opportunities
  • Inform about tax credits and mid-century modern architecture
  • Receive input from neighbors on historic district topics
  •  Welcome, introductions, and meeting objectives
    Joe Betty Sterkx, Chair, AHPC 
  • Historic District proposal – progress and expectations
    Megan Lord, Director, AHPC
  • Tax Credits and Preservation
    Paul Smith, Historic Preservation Consulting
  • Mid-Century Modern Architecture
    Paul Smith and Megan Lord
  • Communications and resources
    Dave Curry, communicator for the proposed district    
  • Potential activities, community input, Q&A           
    Bubba Jones and Dave Curry
This meeting is open to the public.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Historic District featured on KALB News

KALB Channel 5 discussed the proposed historic district on news at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. View these videos:


Also today, Megan Lord, Director of the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission, shared that the newly renovated home at 2822 Madonna Ave. has been honored with this month's Preservation in Progress Award.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nomination approved by State Review Committee

Alexandria supporters with Committee Chairman, Mayor Lynn Lewis
The National Register Review Committee for Louisiana approved the nomination in Baton Rouge on 3/21/2013, so the Alexandria Post War Suburbs Historic District NR nomination is on its way to Washington, D.C. for approval by the Secretary of the Interior.  The national review is expected to occur in the next few months.

Delores Brewer, Director of Planning for the City of Alexandria, read a proclamation by Mayor Roy declaring March 21, 2013 as "Alexandria Post-War Suburbs Historic District Day".

Donna Fricker, as a preparer of the nomination, presented the nomination to the committee. 
(View an 11 minute video of the presentation.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Rehabilitation Tax Credit success story

What a turn-around the project at 2822 Madonna has been.  This house was a terrible eyesore and a constant source of problems (numerous police reports).  Mark Gravel purchased the property, and using tax credits to help defray some of the costs has brought the house to the point you see.  There's still some work to be done such as repair roof damage from the tornado and build a carport.
 (View this photo album for many more before and after views)

This is a typical Rehabilitation Tax Credit success story - creating an incentive to improve neighborhoods while enforcing a high standard of rehabilitation.  We want more people to know about it and take advantage of it.
Everyone wins on a project like this...The final great news for the neighborhood is that along with the fantastic property turn-around, great new neighbors will be renting this home.  The new neighbors are returning to Alexandria from Connecticut and will be moving into 2822 Madonna on March 18.

We say ... Welcome home!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

AHPC Preservation in Progress Award for March

The Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission presents their March 2013 Preservation in Progress award not to a single homeowner, but to an entire neighborhood, the area encompassing the proposed historic district!  This is a great honor for the residents of the proposed district.
Read about this in the March issue of the CENLA Focus.  It's on p. 76 of the issue. 
Follow AHPC on Facebook for updates

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Letter from Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Read this letter to Mayor Roy from Pat Duncan, Assistant Secretary and State Historic Preservation Officer, formally notifying him of the state review panel's consideration of the nomination and a map showing the location of the visitors' center where the review will take place.  Similar letters were sent to state and federal legislative representatives.

Attached to the letter are:
  • instructions to comment on, support, or object to listing on the National Register
  • directions and map to Capitol Park Welcome Center

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Neighborhood Development

(extracted from the draft proposal)

The district includes all or part of five small contiguous subdivisions of land: Petrus Heights (the largest), Mattie O. Ball, Mimosa Place, Kent Addition-East of MacArthur, and DeSelle (the smallest, with only five lots). Their plats date from between 1937 and 1942, although they did not develop until the post-war years. Because it would be inaccurate and misleading to name the district for any of the subdivisions, the name Alexandria Post-War Suburbs Historic District was chosen.

All of the subdivisions are examples of land subdivided by private landowners (known as “subdividers” in modern subdivision history terminology). Individuals then purchased a lot and built whatever they wished. This is in sharp contrast to the look of subdivisions developed by “merchant builders,” wherein a developer purchased the land and built the houses to various models. The “subdivider” development pattern is responsible for the greater variety (and greater architectural interest) found in the nominated district.

It also appears that some of the houses (a minority) may have been speculatively built – i.e., a contractor bought a few lots, built some houses, and sold them.

The layouts of the five subdivisions noted above follow a traditional city grid pattern, although the blocks are typically larger and the lots much wider. There is a notable absence of the curving streets and cul-de-sacs so typical of subdivisions laid out in the post-war years.  Blocks are square, rectangular, and irregular in shape (the latter due to three angled streets (Kimball, Hunter and Pierson – see map). Kimball Avenue takes its orientation from Bayou Hynson.

Elliott Street is a continuation of the same named street that begins in an early twentieth century suburb of the city. Otherwise, the district’s streets were cut when the subdivisions were platted.

As is typical of post-WWII subdivisions, any given house is located roughly in the middle of the lot with a broad expanse of lawn in the front. The large lots with ample front lawns epitomize the escape-from-the-crowded-city concept that was much a part of the suburban rationale. In terms of designed landscape features, there are a notable number of period low planter boxes built of the same brick as the house.

City directories reveal the pace of construction in the district. In the immediate post-war years, twenty-three houses were built. Clearly the period of intense construction was 1951-56, when half of the district’s houses were built. Roughly one-fourth were built in the late 1950s/early 60’s.

Contributing and Non-contributing Elements

(extracted from the draft proposal)
The period of significance for the district is 1945-1963 (see explanation in Part 8). Contributing elements include ranch houses and contemporary houses. Per consultation with NPS, two houses outside this period are being counted as contributing because they are close in age and are similar in architectural character to 50-plus year old buildings in the district. One is a ranch house built in 1964 (#109). The other is the home of local architect Thilo Steinschulte, built in 1968 (#85). It reflects the design ethos of an important component of the district – contemporary houses.

There are only 14 non-contributing buildings in the district. They are either (1) fifty-plus year old houses that do not contribute to the dominant architectural character of the district (i.e., not ranch houses or contemporary houses); (2) a severely altered contemporary house with an Eichler roof; and (3) houses that are less than 50 years old (and not close enough to the 50 year cutoff and reflective of the district’s architectural character to count as contributing).