Minnesota State Preservation Office Weblog

Author Archive

PMN 2015: Building Rehabilitation for Main Street

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Why promote and advocate for the rehabilitation of your community’s downtown buildings? What are some examples of good rehabilitation that you can share with your building owners? What are some potential pitfalls to a good rehabilitation? In this presentation, you will find the answer to these questions and more. Learn about the benefits of rehabilitation on Main Street to property owners, building owners, and the community. See some great examples of successful rehabilitation on Main Street and learn how to appropriately incorporate change into historic main street buildings. This session is great for anyone who is interested in the success of their downtown district.

  • 1st Catherine Sandlund, Heritage Preservation Department, Minnesota Historical Society;
  • 2nd Audrey Tepper, Historical Architect, National Park Service

PMN 2015: Keynote Address

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

2016 will be a seminal year in the life of historic preservation. The National Historic Preservation Act turns 50, offering us an opportunity for reflection and a chance to consider what we might want our own contribution to the history of preservation to say about who we are and what we valued. Susan West Montgomery, Vice President for Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will consider the impulses and advocacy efforts that brought the Act to life and discuss the role we might play in its evolution.

PMN 2013: Building Codes and Preservation

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Rehabilitating and adapting historic buildings for new uses can create conflicts between code requirements (and officials) and preservation ordinances and guidelines. This session will provide strategies towards creating a successful collaboration between all the stakeholders including the code official, the preservation commission, the building owner, and the designers. Case studies will be used to illustrate successful projects that met the intent of the applicable codes while still preserving the historic fabric of the buildings.

Presenters: Laura Faucher, AIA, Preservation Design Works; Glen Bergstrand, Supervisor, MN State Fire Marshal Division; Dan Callahan, Supervisor, Plan Review, Community Planning & Economic Development, City of Minneapolis; Richard Dana, Commissioner, St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission

PMN 2013: The Archaeology of Architecture

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

With brushes and backhoes, archaeologists document the locations of former buildings. What can their work tell us about structures that were once part of our communities? How can archaeology inform our understanding and interpretation of existing historic buildings? Using examples from Minnesota excavations, this presentation will demonstrate the preservation benefits of doing the archaeology of architecture

Presenter: Michelle Terrell, Two Pines Resource Group, Shafer, MN

PMN 2013: Keynote Address: Preservation Means Change

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Some people assume preservation means freezing a building in time, but many property owners know that restoring a building often requires making changes. This can mean replacing a missing detail, building an addition, or retrofitting for energy conservation. These, and other changes, are essential in maintaining our historic districts and for keeping historic buildings in active service. The key is to make these changes while preserving those features that contribute to a property’s significance. How can property owners make design decisions that will meet new functional needs and preserve our historic properties?  Noré Winter, a principal with Winter & Company, Boulder, Colorado asks that we refocus the definition of “preservation,” and provides case studies for what that means.

106 Success Story - Four Agencies, One Goal: Restoring the St. Croix Recreation Demonstration Area, Hinckley, Minnesota

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The following post is from FEMA Region V, in conjunction with the National Park Service Midwest Region, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The Story

During the evening of July 1, 2011, storms accompanied by straight-line winds at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour tore through the St. Croix Recreational Demonstration Area (RDA), felling trees, blocking roadways, and damaging buildings across the park. Temporary closure of the park due to a budget stalemate just prior to the storm assured that there was no injury to park patrons, but the park’s facilities were significantly damaged. The storm devastated buildings directly and also produced tons of woody debris which further damaged structures throughout the park, a National Historic Landmark with an almost 80-year history.

In 1934, 18,000 acres of land midway between Minneapolis–St. Paul and Duluth were acquired for the development of the St. Croix RDA. During the New Deal, the National Park Service (NPS) planned 46 such parks as part of a program that sought to create jobs while repurposing marginal agricultural lands for recreational use. The RDAs were established with careful consideration of topography, viewsheds, and future reforestation. Swimming pools, open meadows, separate hiking and bridle trails, roads and plantings were developed in these parks to provide opportunities for outdoor sports and activities, particularly for children from urban areas.

01 02

Pre-disaster photos of an Adirondack at Crooked Creek and the Superintendent’s Cabin at Headquarters Area.

St. Croix ultimately became a state park and eventually grew to 30,000 acres, with many Rustic-Style structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration to serve as campgrounds, lodges, group centers and administrative areas. The St. Croix RDA’s 164 extant historic structures, roads and trails comprise the most extensive collection of individual New Deal projects in Minnesota, and they are located within one of the largest and best examples of RDA planning and design in the country. The park’s significance is reflected in the listing of one section of the park as a district on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and the subsequent designation of the entire park as a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1997.

The park’s historic and architectural significance is reflected in the Rustic-Style structures, trails and recreational areas, much of which were damaged in the July 1 storms. On July 28, the president declared a major disaster for Minnesota, making federal funding available on a cost-sharing basis to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is responsible for maintaining the park.

03 04

Storm damage to Adirondack cabin at Crooked Creek and the Superintendent’s Cabin at Headquarters Area.

The Project

It took weeks of steady effort to clear debris so DNR staff could even begin an assessment of damage to historic structures within the park. Within two months, the park was again open to visitors but with the damaged buildings cordoned off. At that point, the work to define specific repairs to the many damaged Rustic Style buildings in the park had only begun. The damaged structures included simple Adirondack- type shelters, masonry and log cabins, bicycle and picnic shelters, and administrative buildings. Most structures suffered damage to roofing systems, though two were completely leveled by the storm, and two were damaged beyond repair, requiring the complete dismantling and salvage of their remains prior to complete reconstruction. The number of resources affected and the variation in the types of damage sustained complicated recovery efforts as well as the reviews required to assure that repairs met the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. The goal of these reviews was to protect the character-defining features of the individual structures, thereby maintaining the integrity of the park as a whole.

05 06

Damage to Cabins A-2 andC-2 at St. John’s Landing.

The 106 Process

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was on the ground soon after the disaster declaration to provide support as the DNR continued its work and assessed the damage to historic structures. As part of regular disaster operations, the public was notified of and asked to comment on FEMA’s intent to use federal funding for disaster recovery projects, including those that could affect historic properties, such as the St. Croix RDA. In addition, section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires the federal agency to notify the Secretary of the Interior when federal funding will affect an NHL. As the extent of the damage became clear, FEMA’s Regional Environmental Officer (REO), responsible for overseeing the agency’s compliance with the NHPA, reached out to the NPS Midwest Office, the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, the Minnesota State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the DNR to review the projects being developed and to discuss ways to assure that the many historic structures damaged by the storm would be appropriately repaired.

Beginning with building inventories maintained by the DNR and working closely with the state and FEMA’s Public Assistance Branch, FEMA’s environmental review staff prepared summaries of proposed treatment measures and coordinated review with the consulting parties. As the DNR identified programs of repairs for individual resources or groups of resources and shared those with the consulting parties, FEMA managed discussions of those treatment measures through a series of conference calls and email exchanges.

Winter storms limited access to the park and therefore project development. Beginning in February, 2012, and continuing through July, the consulting parties gathered regularly to review repair specifications and discuss treatment measures to assure that the historic character of the RDA would not be compromised by the repairs. This level of engagement, driven by the DNR’s plans for repairs and managed by FEMA’s environmental review staff, resulted in the timely review of nearly 60 separate grant projects affecting almost half of the structures in the RDA.

07 08

Damage to Lodge A at St. John’s Landing, St. Croix Recreation Demonstration Area.

The Success

The scope of work and treatment measures for each project were formally documented, providing clarity regarding the expected outcomes of the repairs, whether they involved work as simple as the replacement of roofing shingles or as complex as the complete disassembly and reconstruction of buildings which suffered serious structural damage. After approval of the final project, a summary of treatment measures was developed to provide a record of the decisions made by the consulting parties.

As work continues on repairs over a year after the storms did their damage, the process followed by the consulting parties assures that repairs will maintain the park’s integrity, and that a record of these treatment measures will be available as guidelines for future repairs and maintenance.

Despite the damage sustained in the summer of 2011, the Section 106 process successfully addressed damage to the park’s historic resources, preserving an important part of our nation’s history. That success allows the park to continue providing opportunities for outdoor recreation as originally envisioned almost 80 years ago. The consulting parties, guided by the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, preserved St. Croix’s place as the best example of RDA design and planning and maintained its collection of architecturally-significant Rustic-Style buildings for the enjoyment of future generations.

09 10

Repairs to Lodge A at St. John’s Landing, in progress (left) and complete (right).

R&C 2012: Archaeology of the John Orth & Germania Breweries

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Review and Compliance Cultural Resource Management Seminar presentation by Michelle Terrell of the Two Pines Resource Group.

A paved parking lot and the lawns of a city park hide from sight the remains of two of Minneapolis’ foremost breweries. In 1890, the John Orth and Germania breweries merged with two other breweries to form the Minneapolis Brewing Company (aka Grain Belt). This presentation will provide an overview of the history of these breweries and how documentary and archaeological research led to the identification and evaluation of these sites. It will also discuss how these significant discoveries are being integrated into development plans.

PMN 2011: What Style Is That, Anyway?

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

This session will help preservationists, planners, managers and others become acquainted with the nuances of architectural style in order to be able to recognize key features in the field. It will explain how common, vernacular forms were distributed via pattern books, and describe styles from the Pre-Victorian, Victorian, Arts and Crafts and Modern eras.

Presented by Beth Wielde-Heidelberg, Urban & Regional Studies Institute, Minnesota State University, Mankato at Preserve Minnesota, the Statewide Historic Preservation Conference in Faribault, MN.

PMN 2011: Bonnie McDonald - Welcome and Opening Session

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Welcome and Opening Session at Preserve MN, the Statewide Preservation Conference. Presenter: Bonnie McDonald, Executive Director, Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

PMN 2011: Britta Bloomberg - Welcome and Opening Session

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Welcome and Opening Session at Preserve MN, the Statewide Preservation Conference. Presenters: Britta Bloomberg, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, MN Historical Society and Stephen Elliott, Director, MN Historical Society and State Historic Preservation Officer.