Highlights from the 2016 Vernacular Architecture Forum Conference in Durham, NC

The Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF) is the premier organization in North America dedicated to the appreciation and study of ordinary buildings and landscapes. Established in 1979, VAF is composed of scholars from many fields, including history, architectural history, geography, anthropology, sociology, landscape history, historic preservation, and material culture studies. The VAF holds a 3-day annual conference, […]

THREATENED: c.1720 Saltbox in Seekonk, Massachusetts ($125,000) – The “Remember Carpenter House”

A reader let me know about this recent listing in Seekonk, Massachusetts:  A 300-year-old, c. 1720 Saltbox colonial……called the “Remember Carpenter House”…..being marketed as “LAND!!”  [that’s the realtor’s capitalized shout, not mine].  The amount of the land, by the way?  A meager half-acre.

Rare 1790 Dutch Gambrel Colonial to be Demolished by…Historical Society Guy?

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher for me.  In Milford, Connecticut, the first-ever VP of the Milford Historical Society is about to knock down his historic c.1789 house, called the “Thomas Sanford House” or the “Sanford-Bristol House.”  And the Sanford-Bristol House isn’t a run-of-the-mill building, either — it’s a Dutch Gambrel double-house, with […]

“The Henry Munroe House” in Wesport, CT, Dodges Demolition — But Still Needs Buyer

This house is significant enough that it’s listed on the Connecticut Freedom Trail, which designates “sites that embody the struggle toward freedom and human dignity” and “celebrates the accomplishments of the state’s African American community.”  So why is this particular property worthy of recognition?  The designation honors Henry and Lyzette Munroe, a black farmer & […]

My Alma Mater, Bowling Green State University, Will Soon Raze This Historic “Sears” House

Really, BGSU? The school where I earned my B.A. in History is about to needlessly knock down a very cool building that is historically significant.   Their stated purpose is to build a new student health center.  I understand that  universities need to expand, but I also believe there would be several reasonable alternatives to razing […]

McDonald’s + Historic Preservationists= Circa 1795 Georgian-style Burger Joint (UPDATE)

So, this really exists.  An 18th century farmhouse (dating to 1795) that is now a McDonald’s restaurant on Long Island in NY.

Progress? Pre-Revolution Colonial in NJ Demolished for Abandoned Condos

In 2005, in West Cape May, NJ, a developer demolished the historic Moffitt House, a circa 1770, pre-Revolution Colonial — despite outrage and preservationists’ active plans to save the house by moving it.  A report by Jack Fichter of the Cape May County Herald notes that the demolition of the former B&B proceeded with “most […]

A Shame: 1884 Courthouse on National Register is Being Torn Down Today in Seneca County, OH (UPDATE)

We usually stick to historic houses here on HHB, but I had to make an exception to write about something disturbing that’s happening today about an hour from where I live.  In Tiffin, Ohio, a county courthouse that was built in 1884 (and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places) is being […]

Haunted Historic House Hunting on Halloween

So, it’s Halloween . . . and with Halloween comes ghosts.  And where are the ghosts?  Well, usually, they’re in historic homes!  Why is that?  The answer, in some ways, seems obvious.  Historic houses have been around for at least a couple of generations, if not several centuries.  Certainly, they are much more likely to […]

Historic Homeowner Under Siege for Restoration Work in Lakewood, OH

Can a crazy neighbor, bored building inspectors, and a complacent city government halt a homeowner’s dedicated preservation efforts— and result in criminal noncompliance charges?  Apparently so, according to the owner of an old house in Lakewood, OH, a suburb of Cleveland.  In a recent posting on her blog, “1914 Foursquare,” the owner, “Nina,” shares the […]