Friday, November 03, 2006

Saying Goodbye to Pittsburgh

Much like any good fairy tale, I despised Pittsburgh until I got to know it. My love affair with Pittsburgh, sadly, has come to an end.

I wandered down Liberty Avenue taking photos today. The immaculate combination of both modern and historic combined with the fact that Pittsburgh is an island... with suburbs on hills overlooking the downtown... made think that perhaps someday I'd like to live here. I'll post some pictures for you when I return home tomorrow.

Tonight, the National Preservation Awards were held at the intimate and ornate Carnegie Music Hall. And by the way, who knew the University of Pittsburgh had such an aesthetically pleasing campus either? When Carnegie Mellon appeared at one of our Bama college fairs, I remember shrugging it off completely- I mean, Pittsburgh? Apologies, again and again, to this wonderful city for all of my unkind thoughts and comments.

The 2006 National Preservation Awards went to a wide variety of different companies, people, and organizations. Some of the more interesting winners:

The Amoskeag Millyard in Manchester, NH which was once the world's largest cotton textile producer abandoned in 1935. It has been restored and adapted as an office district for Manchester.

Hampton Hotels' Save-A-Landmark Program where corporate and employees are restoring "quirky, cultural, and historic roadside attractions." Since most of their customers drive to their hotels, Hampton Hotels decided to give something back to America by helping preserve the character and integrity of the American roadtrip experience.

After the Cadillac Tower in Seattle was almost destroyed in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, the owners wanted to tear it down. Historic Seattle stepped in and purchased the property. They then restored it to its original look and sold it to the National Park Service for use as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

The Vulcan Park Foundation worked to preserve Birmingham, AL's 56-foot-tall iron statue of Vulcan originally created in 1904 for the World's Fair and a symbol of Birmingham's past as the iron city (ie the Iron Bowl).

The National Trust/ HUD Secretary's Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation went to the Ryan Companies in Minneapolis, MN for rehabilitating the million-square-foot Sears catalogue store that went out of business about a decade ago. It is now being used as office, retail, and living space in an inner-city neighborhood.

The National Trust Board of Advisors' Award went to The Henry Ford in Dearborn, MI for finding the original Rosa Parks Bus. The bus was being used as a storage shed on a farm in Alabama. The Henry Ford then found restored the bus to the way it looked when Rosa changed the world.

Tomorrow, I'm going to check out the Strip District's open market and the Carnegie Art Museum's Louis Comfort Tiffany exhibit. Then, I'm coming back to DC for the weekend. Did ya miss me?


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