Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise is site of the 2010 UO preservation field school
One of longest operating territorial prisons in the American West will receive restoration attention from university students and faculty members this summer
EUGENE, Ore. — (July 15, 2010) – Preserving significant Pacific Northwest buildings and using them as learning laboratories has been the focus of the past 15 years of work by the University of Oregon’s Pacific Northwest Field School. This year is no different. The 16th annual Pacific Northwest Field School will be held at the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise, Idaho, one of the several remaining territorial prisons in the American West. The field school is still accepting applications from interested students, architects, skilled trades workers, and those interested in preservation.
The five, week–long repeatable sessions start August 8. The primary focus will be on masonry preservation, but the site also offers a wide variety of teaching opportunities in wood, metal, and window restoration and structural stabilization. The buildings are constructed with “beautiful sandstone, “ says Shannon Bell, field school co-director. “We will have a stonemason working with us each week. The quality of the craftsmanship of this site is similar to Joliet Prison in Chicago. There is not as much masonry construction in the northwest, and it’s nice to work on something so different.”
Each weekly session will emphasize a preservation topic or skill. For instance, cultural landscapes will be the emphasis of week one, August 8–13, and will provide instruction on archaeology practices, historic cemeteries, and interpretation. Other week–long sessions will examine sustainability practices, preservation technology, field recording and documentation.
Originally constructed in 1870, the Old Pen was in continuous use as prison for 103 years until its closure in 1973. The site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 for its outstanding Romanesque stone architecture and a century of penal practices reflected in its design and construction. Local sandstone was quarried nearby and used to construct the original building that still exists today. Many buildings on the site were quarried and constructed by inmate labor. The Old Pen is a popular visitor site and museum serving over 30,000 adults and school-age groups each year. “Having the field school here is invaluable to us. We know that Old Pen is popular and we don’t want to love it death—we need to take care of it for the future,” says Amber Beierle, interpretive specialist at the Idaho State Historical Society.
Graduate students in the historic preservation and architecture programs at the University of Oregon will also work on hands-on projects during the field school. The field school usually has forty participants with an average of 6–8 people per week. Cost is $900 per week, all food and lodging for the week is included. Academic credit is available. Application form and instructions are on line at http://hp.uoregon.edu/index.cfm?mode=fieldschools&page=pnw
The Pacific Northwest Field School is funded by Oregon, Washington and Idaho state parks and historic preservation offices and the National Park Service. The locations for field schools rotate annually to a new site selected with one of the participating states. Special funding for the Idaho field school has come from the Save America’s Treasures grant and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon’s flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 63 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.
Shannon Bell, co–director, 541-954-6123, email@example.com
Amber Beierle, interpretive specialist, Old Pen, 208-334-2844 x102, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Full Post »