Guest Blog – LEARNing from Montpelier

guestblg1-2As a born and bred Pittsburgher, and YPA member myself I am excited to share with this community a unique opportunity for some hands on preservation not too far from home!  Only a five-hour drive south of Pittsburgh, Orange, Virginia provides a scenic backdrop for individuals interested in learning more about traditional log building, the life and home of our fourth president, and the often overlooked history of the enslaved African Americans that lived and worked at Montpelier.  

Montpelier, James Madison’s estate was home to not only James and Dolley, but his aging parents, countless guests, and as many as 100 enslaved individuals.  Unfortunately, only two buildings from James’s life remain; the main house, and Mr. Madison’s garden temple.  In an effort to more accurately represent the landscape during James and Dolley’s lifetime, and provide the public with a physical structure marking the sites of enslaved households, Montpelier’s LEARN reconstruction programs were born.  

LEARN is the logo and acronym for the public programs held at Montpelier.  Standing for Locate, Excavate, Analyze, Reconstruct and Network, these week long programs provide an opportunity for members of the public to stay on Montpelier’s property for a week, and work alongside archaeologists and historians to help interpret the vast history at Montpelier.  

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2016 Top Ten Soon Approaching

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As you hopefully know by now, YPA’s annual Top Ten Preservation Opportunities event is quickly approaching.  This year’s Top Ten event will be held on Thursday, October 20th at The Frick in Point Breeze- if you have never had the opportunity to visit The Frick, this will be an excellent opportunity to experience one of Pittsburgh’s finest historic homes and multi-functional sites.

In this year’s Top 10 list you will find a diverse collection of structures from all over southwestern PA. As you may know, the Top 10 is culled together from a list of submissions sent in from the public over the course of the year and vetted by YPAs board of directors for inclusion. Interestingly enough, over a third of submissions this year included churches and places of worship. In Pittsburgh and across the country, finding a sustainable re-use to keep these beautiful buildings maintained and in active-use continues to be a challenge. To that extent, YPA will be hosting an event centered on that specific topic in February- be on the lookout for details in the coming months.

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This Place Matters (a nosotros también)

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As a YPA board member, one of our goals is to consider historic preservation as an important tool for redevelopment, and not as an afterthought of the planning process. In this blog I want to write about something close to me; that is, how to talk about the fragmented history of minorities in Pittsburgh and how the goals of historic preservation can help make those histories visible.  

September 15 through October 15 marks the recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a type of celebration that still feels foreign in a place like Pittsburgh. However, it has been during the last couple of years that a lot has been said in excitement about the rapidly growing Latino population in the city: City counselors recognized the first Latino Day on April 19th and Latinos are positively contributing to communities like Beechview and Brookline.

The Roberto Clemente Bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, during a boxing event where Pittsburgh boxers faced off against Cuban boxers.

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Painting in the Park with YPA

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On July 31st, BikePGH held its final Open Streets event for the summer of 2016.  OpenStreetsPGH is a family friendly event where residents and visitors alike get to experience Pittsburgh at the ground level and participate in activities and support and experience local businesses without the obstruction of vehicular traffic. The route for this particular Open Streets stretched from The Point in downtown Pittsburgh through the Northside, and across the West End Bridge to the West End Valley.

Part of what makes YPA membership so great is the opportunity for civic engagement and connection to the Pittsburgh community. YPA joined dozens of other organizations to volunteer to host tables and activities and direct bike and pedestrian traffic at major intersections. YPA was represented near the corner of Western Avenue and Brighton Road by the Allegheny Commons Pedestrian Bridge, one of our 2014 Top Ten Preservation Opportunities.

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Guest Blog: Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area

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We’ve invited Corinne Betchel, Director of Tourism of Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, to contribute to the YPA blog as our first guest blogger.  Check out what’s happening with Rivers of Steel this summer!

Coming up on August 3rd, Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area and the Young Preservationists Association will be co-hosting Happy Hour with Carrie – a one hour tour of the Carrie Furnaces followed by beer and socializing at Voodoo Brewery Homestead. YPA members receive a discount on tour tickets with the code YPA2016. This is a great opportunity to network with others who share a passion for preservation while checking out the incredible Carrie Furnaces site (and the awesome craft beer at Voodoo).

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