Historic Preservation

Haight Ashbury Revisited

November 23, 2015

No visit to San Francisco is complete without exploring Haight Ashbury.


haight ashbury


After the Gold Rush, wealthy San Franciscans made their home in the Upper Haight building ornate Victorian homes in the hills. The neighborhood went into decline during the Great Depression and continued through the World Wars. In the 1950s the California Division of Highways had planned to extend freeways across San Francisco destroying many neighborhoods including Haight Ashbury. Due to extreme opposition these plans were squashed which ultimately saved many of the cities’ historic neighborhoods.


haight ashbury victorians


The freeway scare had caused many residents to flee the Haight and with cheap rent and plenty of vacancies in the 1960s, the hippies moved in. Artists, musicians, activists and others from all over the country moved to this neighborhood looking for change. They in turn created their own counter culture that spurred social change. Some say the vibe of peace and love are gone but many of the neighborhood icons like Jerry Garcia’s house and Janis Joplin’s apartment are still standing. The architecture alone is reason enough to visit. Rows of victorians line the streets some brightly colored others piped with flourishes and scrolls as if they were sweet confections.


amoeba music


Besides architecture, check out Amoeba Records and peruse the high end vintage shops. Make sure you continue down Haight Street into the Lower Haight and check out Tornado for some tasty brews from all over California and beyond.


tornado san francisco


haight ashbury victorians


honey bear fnnch haight ashbury

Honey Bear by street artist fnnch


haight ashbury victorian

Goorin Hats Haight Ashbury

Goorin Brothers Hat Shop

haight ashbury


lower haight

haight ashbury


haight ashbury
Have you visited Haight Ashbury? What did you think?

Related articles:

Click here to read more about my first visit to the Haight Ashbury.

Click here to read about Tornado.

Saving Places article: Haight-Ashbury’s Hippie House

Street artist fnnch

The Little Shamrock: San Francisco

November 9, 2015

I’m finally feel like I’m back in the swing of things after a much needed vacation to the West Coast. Ryan and I started our trip in San Francisco visiting some old friends we hadn’t seen in years. It went by way too fast, as good trips always do, but we had a blast just catching up and checking out some of their favorite bars and restaurants.

We’re notorious procrastinators so it wasn’t too surprising to anyone that we barely slept before our 5am flight because we were up all night packing and getting things ready for our gracious dog sitter. We landed in the early afternoon we headed straight to Arezmendi for a few slices of their daily pizza, then to their apartment for a quick nap. BTW – If you’ve never been to this employee owned bakery in the Inner Sunset – you must go! It is out of this world.

san francisco botanical gardens

The Botanical Gardens are the perfect escape in the middle of the city.

Still groggy from the trip we decided to explore Golden Gate Park and spent the afternoon meandering around the Botanical Gardens. Everything in the park closed around 5pm so we made our way to a neighborhood bar for a few beers and waited for our friends. Walking out of the park I saw signs for the Little Shamrock, a pub with a sign saying it was 120 years old… We had to go in.

the little shamrock

Prior to the trip I’d seen numerous Instagram posts from the National Trust for Historic Preservation about Prop J and legacy businesses and remembered The Little Shamrock was one of them. This prop was designed to create a list of legacy businesses, 30 years or older, that make San Francisco unique and to help these businesses combat the exorbitant rents that have hit this city due to the tech boom. Click here to read more about Prop J. Being a preservationist and small business supporter, this legislation was really exciting.

The Little Shamrock Bar San Francisco

The Little Shamrock was in fact little but full of charm. The place was a classic dive packed with regulars, but we managed to squeeze in at the beautiful bar that we were told is original to the space. The bar keep seemed to know everyone except us so he went out of his way to make us feel at home. There were backgammon tables, sofas, card tables, and a dart room, BYO darts though or Ryan and I would’ve been there all night. To my shock beers were also only $3 (cash only). It’s hard to find that kind of price anywhere let alone SF. We had a couple of rounds, chatted up some locals about the neighborhood, and then hit the road.

Our friends asked us what we did all afternoon and we let them know we found The Little Shamrock. They were proud we found it; it’s their fav neighborhood watering hole as well. I can see why.

So far I’ve hit The Little Shamrock and the Tonga Room (post coming soon) on the Legacy Bar and Restaurant List created by SF Heritage. If you’re in the bay area you should check out the full list and eat, drink, and shop local.

Click here for full list.

 I’m excited to report that Prop J did in fact pass on November 3. Hopefully San Francisco’s iconic businesses will be able to be around a while longer.

Curious Tuesday

July 26, 2015

After a beer filled weekend in Asheville, North Carolina I continued south to visit some friends and drink some fantastic southern beer in Athens, Georgia. Even in the middle of summer, there is always something happening in the Classic City.

creature comforts

via creature comforts


Preserve Greater Indy

May 22, 2015

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I have found my preservation people up here in the Midwest! I’m now involved with a new historic preservation organization – Preserve Greater Indy.  The mission: to connect, engage, educate, and empower advocates of preservation throughout Central Indiana.  READ MORE

Charleston Hideaway

March 2, 2015

I’m currently sitting in my office looking out of my window staring at mounds of powdery snow piling up. As I sit here bundled willing the snow to melt and the sun to shine, I’m daydreaming about warmer days to come, specifically sunny days to come on my trip to Charleston, South Carolina for The Southern C Summit! Since most of us in the US have been pretty chilly lately, I thought I’d share one of my favorite spots to soak up the sun and color of Charleston.


I Heart Preservation

February 10, 2015

Buildings need love too. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this past Saturday I joined a group of preservation enthusiasts, professionals, and students to heart bomb a couple of buildings that were in need of a hug.




The idea behind these “heart bombs” is to raise awareness of the potential for vacant buildings while making advocacy visible and accessible. And sometimes they’re a loving send off for buildings that have lost their battle.  READ MORE

Woodford Reserve

November 17, 2014

woodford reserve

I’m not a bourbon drinker; however, when you visit a friend in Bourbon country… when in Rome. A couple of weeks ago, I visited the oldest working bourbon distillery in the United States, Woodford Reserve, a National Historic Landmark. READ MORE

A stroll through downtown Charleston

May 13, 2014

Charleston After a busy few days at The Southern C Summit, I gave myself an extra day to explore Charleston. So before some last minute shopping and more eating, I set out on an early morning stroll to photograph a few of my favorite buildings. READ MORE

Longwood Plantation: Natchez, Mississippi

April 3, 2014

Built in 1861, Longwood Plantation is the largest octagonal house in America, and one of the best remaining examples of Moorish Revival style architecture. This six-story, 30,000 square foot mansion was designed by Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia for wealthy planter Haller Nutt and his wife, Julia Williams Nutt. As the home neared completion, the Civil War broke out and construction halted. Haller nut died in 1864, and his wife Julia, and their eight children, continued to live in the finished first floor of the home for several years.  

Longwood remained in the Nutt family until 1968. After a brief ownership of the McAdams family in Austin, Texas, the plantation and its 94 acres were donated to Pilgrimage Garden Club of Natchez in 1970. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969, tours of Longwood are given daily every 30 minutes. Beginning on the finished first floor, guides share the Nutt family history as well as pieces from the permanent collection. The tour then moves to the upper levels where visitors can explore the “bones” of this architectural gem.

The completed house was to have had 32 rooms, 26 fireplaces, 115 doors, 96 columns, and a total of 30,000 square feet of living space, but only nine of the 32 rooms were finished. In the unfinished rooms you can see all the layers of construction, tools left behind by workmen, even luggage trunks that arrived for the family are still there just waiting to be opened. You can even see the framework of the sixteen-sided onion dome cupola inside. 

A system of mirrors had been designed to reflect sunlight to the many rooms of Longwood from the windows in the sixteen-sided tower atop the house. The chimney-like shape of the house was intended to funnel warm air up toward the top of the cupola, creating an updraft that escaped through windows high in the building, thus drawing fresh air into the lower floors.

Showing off unfinished and deteriorating architecture, Longwood Plantation is not your typical house museum. In this case, seeing Longwood in its entirety, helps tell the story of the Nutt family and serves as a unique metaphor for the “rise and fall of the Old South.” After touring the mansion, make sure you allow plenty of time to stroll the grounds and get lost under the oaks.

Photo: James Butters on April 14, 1936 for the Library of Congresses’ Historic American Buildings Survey

My good friend Claire Cothren, a natchezian and fellow blogger, introduced myself and a few other preservationists to Longwood Plantation several years ago and it is one of my favorite house museums to date. Spring and fall are ideal times to visit and enjoy perfect weather and pilgrimage season. Both spring and fall pilgrimage are month long celebrations of Natchez history with the crown jewels being the dozens of mostly private antebellum homes on tour for visitors.  If you love architecture and history, a visit to Longwood and Natchez is a must.

Sources: The New Southern View, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, and National Historic Landmarks Program

Rainbow Bakery

March 25, 2014

rainbow bakery The new (to me) vegan bakery in Bloomington, Rainbow Bakery, is full of color, mid-century mod fun, and pastries. I’m not a vegan by any means but I am a fan of baked goods. It doesn’t hurt that this new kid on the block is located in a cool historic building downtown.

The building, now called I FELL, was built in 1930 by Isaac Fell. What was originally an Auburn Cord Duesenberg car dealership, is now home to the Rainbow Bakery, the Bloomington Clay Studio, The Collective Press and several other artist studios. More on the I Fell building next week.

Rainbow Bakery has only been open since August 2013, but they seem like a seasoned pros, cranking out a variety of muffins, breads, cupcakes, and donuts each day as well as your coffee bar favorites. Decked in mid-century finds, Rainbow Bakery captures the fun of baking. The decor and logo are just as cheery as their baked goodies.  Retro formica kitchen tables line the cafe and funky globe and paper lanterns hang throughout the space. One of my favorite repurposed pieces is  the 50s stove turned sugar and creamer station.  The bakery nods to America’s kitschy past while their food is an updated version of all your favorite treats. There is something for everyone each day:  jumbo cinnamon rolls, vanilla lavender cupcakes, gluten free mushroom and sage scones, green tea donuts, the list goes on and on. Follow them on Instagram and you’ll see what I mean.

rainbow bakery

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