Archive for the ‘Surfing the Web’ Category

More and more cities are putting their historic houses on the map and on the web.  The City of Salem, site of our 2013 Annual Meeting and Conference is no exception.  Check out their spiffy interactive site here.  This information is further enlivened by the Salem Historic Landmarks Commission Blog with its Five on Friday series highlighting historic buildings, events, and resources for research.  If you’re coming to our conference these sites will help you maximize your visit!

Some other cities with interactive maps of historic buildings and districts that I’m aware of include Forest Grove (click here) and the City of Eugene (click here), both in Oregon;  but my absolute favorite of the type belongs to the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  It’s a map and architecture geek’s dream come true with timelines, overlays of historic maps, historic and current photos, and informative blurbs.  This marvel of a geographic information system can be perused here.  Got a favorite interactive map of historic buildings?  Let us know and comment below!

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Marion Dean Ross: Legacy of a Scholar Exhibit Case

We are the Marion Dean Ross, Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.  A select few of our group remember encounters with Professor Ross, but to many of us he is a shadowy figure.  The University of Oregon is in the process of celebrating his legacy with an exhibit currently on display in the Knight Library on the University of Oregon Campus, Marion Dean Ross: Legacy of a Scholar.

Twenty years ago, newspapers in the region announced with surprise a major gift to the University of Oregon.  As the Register Guard reported:  “The gift comes from a man who never married, had no known family at the time of his death, and who never owned a car or home, preferring to rent an apartment within walking distance of campus.”  That man was Marion Dean Ross, a professor of art history at UO from 1947 to 1978.  Ross’s bequest gave the university over one million dollars for the acquisition of library material and enabled the establishment of an endowed chair for art history.

This exhibit commemorates the contributions of  Ross as a respected teacher, scholar, and benefactor.  In addition to information about him, the exhibit features models created by Ross’s students, images from books acquired through the Ross endowment, and images taken by Ross himself.   The exhibit uses QR codes to access more information, so take your phone.  A digitized recording of a 1988 lecture by Ross is a special treat.

Our Chapter President, Ed Teague has been instrumental in organizing this celebration, and in his capacity as the head of the UO Architecture and Allied Arts Library has been closely involved with the books acquired with Marion Dean Ross’ bequest.  The preceding text is his from his announcement of the exhibit opening.

In conjunction with the celebration of Marion Dean Ross’ legacy, the University of Oregon Department of Art History sponsored a lecture on Professor Ross by Dr. Leland Roth, Professor Emeritus and the first Marion Dean Ross Distinguished Chair in Architectural History.  His answer to my title query?  Marion Dean Ross: A Man Who Left a Hole in the Water.

Leland Roth’s lecture is available from the UO Channel for streaming viewing or download at:


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Time to put your thinking caps on!  Do you know of a historic resource in Oregon that should be on the Historic Preservation League of Oregon’s Most Endangered list?  Large or small, pioneer era or mid-century, simple or grand, town or country, the HPLO considers them all.  Last year’s (2011) list included the Tillamook Bay Lifesaving Station at Barview, which was featured in David Pinyerd’s presentation on the Buildings of the Lifesaving Service at the MDR SAH meeting in Corvallis (2007).  Other endangered resources were the Baker City Middle School, the Josiah Burnett House in Eagle Creek, Eugene’s Civic Stadium, Dr. Pierce’s Barn in Cottage Grove, Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theater, the Ermatinger House in Oregon City, the Petersen Rock Garden and the Kirk Whited Farmstead near Redmond, and the Watson-Price Barn near Philomath.

For more information on these structures or for a nomination form, click here.  The deadline for nominations is Monday, March 26th.  The 2012 Most Endangered List will be announced at a luncheon at Portland’s University Club during Preservation Month, on May 22.  Tickets for the event will be available beginning March 1.


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We all natter on about the significance of architecture, but Seattle’s Babylonia Aivaz (sadly not a member of the MDRSAH) took a real plunge and got hitched to some.  Sounds nutty, maybe, but a pre-wedding interview (click here) makes some good points.  Granted, the actual ceremony was a little loopy (click here).


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Have you ever wondered if the terms “architectural historian” and “groovy” are mutually exclusive?  Well, wonder no more, just have a look at this BBC documentary featuring Reyner Banham cruisin’ Los Angeles:

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The current issue of Oregon Quarterly includes “The Arc of the Architect,” an overview of Saul Zaik’s career.  In addition to designing residences that are classics of Northwest Modernism, Zaik and his firm were also responsible for the modern addition to Timberline Lodge (1968) and overseeing the restoration of Crater Lake Lodge and Crown Point’s Vista House.  The article is perhaps most striking in presenting the contrasts between Saul Zaik’s education and early practice in the period following World War II and the experience of modern students and young architects.  As Zaik himself says:  “I’ve always loved a challenge, whether it’s the site or the client or the budget… But today the hardest thing is dealing with the city and all the codes.  That really bothers me.  They set such rigid standards for design, unrelated to the individual project… It’s much tougher today to do interesting things with houses, but it can still be done.”
“The Arc of the Architect” is available online at http://www.oregonquarterly.com/spring2010/feature1.php

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From time to time I’ll post information and links to other people’s online newsletters, blogs, and websites.  If you’re actively involved in creating online content, or if you’ve got a favorite website, please drop me an e-mail at mariondeanross@gmail.com.

The Recent Past Preservation Network has started issuing a monthly on-line newletter, rather than an annual newsletter.  The March issue of the RPPN Bulletin is 23 virtual pages in length and includes articles about Paul Rudolph’s Chorley Elementary School, Palm Springs Modernism, something called Corn-Fed Modern with Atomic Indy, and an Update on Pittsburgh’s Igloo.  It’s a sharp looking publication and a pretty ambitious undertaking (I dare you to put together a monthly!).  Have a look at:  http://recentpast.org/news/rppn-bulletin.

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