This video clip from "Life After People" looks at the decay and eventual destruction that would happen to buildings and structures from subway tunnels to the Sears Tower if humans were to suddenly vanish from the planet.
Researching the Owners
Once you've explored the historical records of your home, one of the best ways to expand on the history of your home or other building is to trace its owners. A variety of standard sources exist which should help you learn who lived in the house before you, and from there it is just a matter of using a bit of genealogy research to fill in the gaps. You should have already learned the names of some of the previous occupants and, possibly, even the original owners from the chain of title search covered in part one of this article. Most archives and libraries also have pamphlets or articles available which will help you with the specifics of searching for the previous occupants of your home and learning more about their life.
Some of the basic sources for tracing the owners of your home include:
- Phone Books & City Directories: Begin your search by letting your fingers do the walking. One of the best sources for information about the people who lived in your house are old phone books and, if you live in an urban area, city directories. They can provide you with a timeline of former occupants, and possibly provide you with extra details such as occupations. As you search, it is important to keep in mind that your home may have had a different street number, and your street may have even had a different name. City and phone directories, in combination with old maps, are usually the best source for these old street names and numbers. You can usually locate old phone books and city directories at local libraries and historical societies.
- Census Records:Census records, depending upon the location and time period, may tell you who lived in your home or building, where they came from, how many children they had, the value of the property, and more. Census records can be especially useful in narrowing down birth, death, and even marriage dates which, in turn, can lead to more records about the homeowners. Census records are not currently accessible beyond the early 20th century in most countries (e.g. 1911 in Great Britain, 1921 in Canada, 1940 in the U.S.) due to privacy concerns, but available records can usually be found at libraries and archives, and online for a number of countries including the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.
- Church and Parish Records: Local church and parish records can sometimes be a good source for death dates and other information about former occupants of your home. This is a more likely avenue of research in small towns where there aren't a lot of churches, however.
- Newspapers and Obituaries: If you are able to narrow down a death date, then obituaries can provide you with a wealth of details about the former occupants of your home. Newspapers can also be good sources for information on births, marriages, and town histories, especially if you're lucky enough to find one which has been indexed or digitized. You may even find an article on your home if the owner was prominent in some way. Check with the local library or historical society to learn which newspaper was in operation at the time the former owners lived in the home, and where the archives are located. The U.S. Newspaper Directory at Chronicling America is an excellent source for information on what U.S. newspapers were being published in a particular area at a particular time, as well as the institutions which hold copies. A growing number of historical newspapers can also be found online.
- Birth, Marriage and Death Records: If you are able to narrow down a date of birth, marriage or death, then you should definitely investigate vital records. Birth, marriage, and death records are available from a variety of locations, depending upon the location and time period. Information is readily available on the Internet which can point you to these records and provide you with the years they are available.
The history of the homeowners is a big part of the history of a house. If you're lucky enough to track former owners all the way down to living descendants, then you may want to consider contacting them to learn more. People who have lived in the home can tell you things about it that you will never find in public records. They may also be in possession of old photos of the home or building. Approach them with care and courtesy, and they may be your best resource yet!
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The database contains different construction types such as office, residential or lodging. Different usages are also recorded such as hotels, schools or police stations, to name just a few. Each building is assigned a construction status such as ‘completed’, ‘demolished’, or ‘under construction’. If you are interested in architecture and want to submit and edit information about buildings, join our community.
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7 Historic NYC Buildings Transformed Into One-of-a-Kind Condos
Inside an aerie at 100 Barclay Street, originally home to the New York Telephone Company.
Historic New York City buildings transforming into luxury condominiums may be one of the biggest real estate trends in the market at the moment. From Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan to the Upper West Side, the newest upscale buildings in town are a throwback to the past, with former lives as banks, libraries, and department stores.
Christopher Totaro, an agent at Warburg Realty, says that historic buildings are ripe for conversion. “Since land is at such a premium in New York today, developers are looking for every square inch of real estate they can find, and historic buildings are often it because zoning and landmark preservation laws don’t allow them to be torn down,” he says. “These buildings also help create a unique story for the condo.”
Following are seven examples.
Inside one of the striking interior apartments at 100 Barclay.
Designed by famed architect Ralph Walker in 1927, 100 Barclay was once home to the New York Telephone Company. Today, Magnum Realty Group has converted the top 22 floors into upscale condos (Verizon offices are in the building’s lower portion). Walking into the Art Deco lobby is like stepping back in time: The hand-painted murals depict the history of communication, from carrier pigeons to smoke signals to early telephones. Amenities for residents include four terraces, a children’s playroom, teen lounge, wine tasting and storage room, and 82-foot lap pool.
Number of residences: 156
Starting price: $4.48 million
An open living/dining plan at One Prospect Park West, designed by Workstead.
Originally built in 1925 by the Knights of Columbus, this condominium located on Prospect Park served as a clubhouse and hot spot for society events in Park Slope, complete with a ballroom, restaurant, bowling alley, indoor swimming pool, and more. Today, the design firm Workstead, notable for its work on boutique hotels such as the Wythe in Brooklyn, is leading its conversion to residences, which will open later this year. Many of the original features remain intact, such as the stone façade and crown moldings on the ceilings. Amenities include a library, children’s playroom, and rooftop with garden.
Number of residences: 64
Starting prices: $2.075 million to $5.97 million
The Art Deco façade of One Wall Street, recently turned into condominiums by Macklowe Properties.
The history of One Wall Street goes back to 1931, when it was built as the home of Irving Trust (later the Bank of New York). Today, it’s one of the most important Art Deco buildings in the country, regarded as a symbol of commerce in the area where the city of New York was first created. Following an intricate renovation, Macklowe Properties has turned the Ralph Walker– designed limestone tower into residences that come with amenities such as a swimming pool and a roof deck. Sales launch later this year.
Number of residences: 566
Starting price: $1.475 million
67 Vestry originally housed some of the greatest artists of the 20th century. This spring its apartments go on the market again as transformed luxury condos.
Even at an early stage mankind strove to build higher and higher. We build on a ridiculous scale and spend thousands or millions of hours of labour on a single piece of structure, which may or may not be prone to earthquakes and other ravages of time.
Some of our most impressive structures are actually incredibly old and difficult to determine the precise dates they were built.
We still don't have a clue how the Great Pyramid of Giza was built, or its precise purpose. Despite what you may have heard, no mummy has ever been found in the Egyptian pyramids, they were all found in the Valley of the Kings. So the true meaning of the pyramids is actually a mystery.
As is the technology used and the matter of how multiple cultures in Africa, the Middle East and Central America all built pyramids around roughly the same time. The matter has had archeologists both professional and amateur alike scratching their heads and theorizing why and how this could have happened.
Why do we aspire to such grand heights? Ego perhaps.
In some cases we might not have much choice but to build upwards if the population grows very dense and land close to water and food is scarce.
We thrive in some of the most inhospitable places on the Earth, and always we build upwards.
There is no precise beginning for the history of architecture either. Our earliest buildings date from either the end of the last ice age or during the ice age, which was only 10 to 15 milleniums ago.
Likewise, there was no precise ending of the ice age. We presume it phased out slowly, but it could have changed quite quickly in a matter of decades or years. We really don't know. It was a time of dramatic changes, massive floods and earthquakes.
Such dramatic earthquakes that people in two separate parts of the world (Egypt and Bolivia) started building earthquake resistant structures that still stand today. Elephantine Island in Egypt and the Ruined City of Tiahuanacu in Bolivia used identical techniques to securely fasten the stones in their buildings and make the overall structure more impervious to time.
Pyramids are the prime example of that pioneering human spirit to build something indestructible, and the earliest pyramids are not Egyptian, but were instead built in Mesopotamia and Zimbabwe.
The fact the people of Zimbabwe started building pyramids first is incredibly interesting. Africa was after all the birth of civilization. It is there we find the oldest surviving structures and the beginning of our aspiration to build higher.
The Greeks spoke of Mount Olympus and strove to emulate the gods by building on top of mountains.
The peoples of the Middle East built massive Ziggurat step pyramids and inspired the story of the Tower of Babel.
We can only assume that the early people who built towers of stone in Zimbabwe had some kind of religious or even scientific reasoning behind what they were building.
When we talk of such structures we cannot ignore the scientific aspect. These were obviously cultures with an interest in engineering, science and exploring the boundaries of what they could build.
Regardless of whether it was a temple, a palace, a coliseum for games, an amphitheatre for dramatic performances and politics, there was always that underlying engineering and creative spirit.
All they needed in truth was the hands to carry the stones, the tools to cut the stones, the brilliance of their engineers and above all else:
, Great Zimbabwe - 11-16th Century BC - 14th Century AD (not actually ancient, but we included it anyway)
Ancient Babylon and Persia
, Naksh-Rutsam, Iran - 5th Century BC , Babylon - 605-563 BC , Desert City, Yemen - 16th Century BC , Iran - c.518-460 BC , Iraq - c.2125 BC
, Karnak - 1530-323 BC , Sakkara - 2778 BC - 4th Dynasty , Luxor - c.1408-1300 BC , Der El-Bahari - 1520 BC
, Athens - 19th Century BC , Athens - 447-436 BC - c.350-330 BC
The Jōmon period
The Jōmon period is generally subdivided into six phases: Incipient Jōmon (c. 10,500–8000 bce ), Initial Jōmon (c. 8000–5000 bce ), Early Jōmon (c. 5000–2500 bce ), Middle Jōmon (c. 2500–1500 bce ), Late Jōmon (c. 1500–1000 bce ), and Final Jōmon (c. 1000–300 bce ).
Early Jōmon (c. 5000–2500 bce ) sites suggest a pattern of increased stabilization of communities, the formation of small settlements, and the astute use of abundant natural resources. A general climatic warming trend encouraged habitation in the mountain areas of central Honshu as well as coastal areas. Remains of pit houses have been found arranged in horseshoe formations at various Early Jōmon sites. Each house consisted of a shallow pit with a tamped earthen floor and a grass roof designed so that rainwater runoff could be collected in storage jars.
Early Jōmon vessels generally continued the earliest profile of a cone shape, narrow at the foot and gradually widening to the rim or mouth, but most had flat bottoms, a feature found only occasionally in the Initial Jōmon (c. 8000–5000 bce ) period. The discovery of increasing varieties of flat-bottomed vessels appropriate for cooking, serving, and providing storage on flat earthen floors correlates with the evidence of the gradual formation of pit-house villages.
In the Late Jōmon (c. 1500–1000 bce ), colder temperatures and increased rainfall forced migration from the central mountains to the eastern coastal areas of Honshu. There is evidence of even greater interest in ritual, probably because of the extensive decrease in population. From this time are found numerous ritual sites consisting of long stones laid out radially to form concentric circles. These stone circles, located at a distance from habitations, may have been related to burial or other ceremonies. Previously disparate tribes began to exhibit a greater cultural uniformity.
Evidence from the Final Jōmon (c. 1000–3rd century bce ) suggests that inhospitable forces, whether contagious disease or climate, were at work. There was a considerable decrease in population and a regional fragmentation of cultural expression. Particularly noteworthy was the formation of quite distinct cultures in the north and south. The discovery of numerous small ritual implements, including pottery, suggests that the cultures developing in the north were rigidly structured and evinced considerable interest in ritual.
In the south, mobility and informality were the emerging characteristics of social organization and artistic expression. In distinction to the northern culture, the south seemed more affected by outside influences. Indeed, the incursions of continental culture would, in a few centuries, be based in the Kyushu area.
Buildings - HISTORY
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Happy 104th birthday, Oscar Niemeyer &mdash Keep up the great work! -->
This gateway to architecture around the world and across history documents a thousand buildings and hundreds of leading architects, selected over ten years by the editors of ArchitectureWeek , with photographic images and architectural drawings, integrated maps and timelines, 3D building models, commentaries, bibliographies, web links, and more, for famous designers and structures of all kinds.
For up-to-the-moment coverage of the latest buildings, designers, and ideas, GreatBuildings&trade is richly cross-linked with related architecture sites, ArchitectureWeek and Archiplanet, as well as to Wikipedia and to book sources. ArchitectureWeek and Archiplanet . --> For the latest coverage of contemporary architecture and design news, go directly to ArchitectureWeek , our professional architecture magazine. For broad information on architecture everywhere, cataloging more than 100,000 special structures and tens of thousands of architects and firms, visit Archiplanet , the all-buildings wiki collaboration.
Buildings - HISTORY
The public square has been a central feature of Asheville since the town's creation in 1797. The county court ordered that lands for a public square be procured in the "most convenient and interesting" place. Lying at the intersection of ancient trading paths, the site chosen encompassed the important existing public and commercial buildings of the young town and established, in essence, a focal point for Asheville's future growth.
The city as a whole and the square in particular benefited from the generosity of George W. Pack, who offered property for a new courthouse on the condition that the former site become part of the public square, and donated two-thirds of the cost for a monument to Buncombe County native and Civil War governor Zebulon Baird Vance. Local architect Richard Sharp Smith designed the Vance Monument, erected in 1896. The new courthouse (no longer standing) was completed in 1903, and in an expression of civic gratitude, municipal authorities renamed the newly enlarged square in Pack's honor.
1890s buildings on southwest side of Pack Square
Photo courtesy of City Development, City of Asheville, North Carolina
The earliest surviving buildings on the square occupy the southwest side and date from the 1890s. This group of buildings, which include examples of the Romanesque Revival style, suffered extensive damage following a fire in 1895 and most were subsequently rebuilt and enlarged. The three-story brick building with a projecting corbelled cornice known as the Adler Building at 9 Pack Square anchors the corner and adjoins the former Western Hotel, which is capped by a richly ornamented pressed metal cornice.
Along the south side of the square, a fine collection of early 20th-century commercial buildings survive including the Neo-Classical Commerce Building (1904) and the reinforced concrete Legal Building (1909) designed by Smith and Carrier in the Renaissance Revival style. In 1925, New York architect Edward L. Tilton designed the former Pack Memorial Library also in the Renaissance Revival style. Ronald Greene's unusual eight-story Neo-Spanish Romanesque style building for prominent builder and businessman William H. Westall is superceded visually by the adjacent 13-story Jackson Building, also designed by Greene. Real estate developer L. B. Jackson commissioned the Neo-Gothic style skyscraper--the first in western North Carolina--to promote his faith in the continued strength of the 1920s local real estate market. Fitted with a searchlight to draw tourists to the city, the Jackson Building has been a visual landmark since its completion.
| || Current and historic views of Pack Square's south side |
Photos courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina and City Development, City of Asheville, North Carolina
Pack Square has evolved and expanded over the years, yet still remains the symbolic center of Asheville. Although dating later than the defined period of significance for the Downtown Asheville Historic District, two distinctive modern buildings also border Pack Square: an 18-story steel-frame skyscraper (1964-1965) clad in bronze colored anodized aluminum and glass in the style of Modernist architect Mies van der Rohe, and I. M. Pei's concrete and glass office block (1978-1980).
Pack Square is located at the intersection of Patton, Biltmore and Broadway aves. in the Downtown Asheville Historic District. The square is host to numerous festivals and free activities throughout the year. Government buildings, museums, restaurant and businesses are open to the public. Hours of operation and admission vary accordingly. For information on the revitalization of Pack Square visit the Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department website.
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the official national list of properties considered important in our past and worthy of preservation. It is a program of the National Park Service, administered in Idaho by the Idaho State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The program recognizes buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts that are significant in American history, architectural history, engineering, archaeology, and/or culture.
Idaho has over 1,000 National Register listings, comprised of over 7,000 buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts. There are many more eligible properties that are not listed because they have not completed the formal paperwork.
Listing in the National Register has the following results which assist in preserving historic properties:
- Recognition that a property is of significance to the nation, the state, or the community.
- Consideration in the planning for federal or federally assisted projects.
- Eligibility for federal tax benefits.
- Consideration in the decision to issue a surface coal mining permit.
- Qualification for federal assistance for historic preservation, when funds are available.
Listing in the National Register does not restrict the rights of private property owners to alter, manage, or dispose of property.
The SHPO administers the National Register of Historic Places program in Idaho and processes nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. Properties nominated to the Register are reviewed by the Idaho Historic Sites Review Board which meets periodically throughout the year. The Review Board is a volunteer group of Idaho residents who have demonstrated a competence, interest, or knowledge in historic preservation. They review nominations and make recommendations for listing on the National Register. Finally, SHPO forwards those nominations to the Keeper of the Register (National Park Service) for official listing.
Anyone may prepare a nomination for listing a property in the Register. Generally, private property owners, other interested individuals, local organizations or governments, and state or federal agencies at all levels prepare nominations. Instructions for completing a nomination are available from the SHPO. If you are interested in finding out if your property is eligible for the National Register, please complete and submit a Preliminary Eligibility Questionnaire.
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of our country's historic buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation. It was established as part of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and is overseen by the National Park Service. The National Register recognizes more than 90,000 properties for their significance in American history, architecture, art, archeology, engineering, and culture.
GSA takes great pride in its historic buildings, comprising approximately one-third of the agency&rsquos owned real estate inventory. Since 2010, more than 100 GSA-owned buildings have been added to the National Register. The process is ongoing, with nominations prepared and submitted to the National Register as worthy properties are identified. Listing historic properties in the National Register encourages their preservation and marks them as important touchstones of our shared heritage.
GSA&rsquos national historic preservation program, comprised of the Center for Historic Buildings and regional historic preservation offices, plays an active role in nominating, preserving, protecting, and enhancing the viability of GSA&rsquos historic buildings.