The 1818 building was a fitting choice in several ways. A private domicile, built for the famed American naval hero in the new national “Federal” style in the nation’s capital, it is one of only 3 extant houses by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the US Capitol. It may have been a more fitting choice than the designers realized: Given to the National Trust in 1956, it acquired landmark status in 1976. Today, as the National Center for White House History, it includes event space for rental as well as commemoration of the enslaved African-Americans who worked and lived here. We thus find here on one site the evolving spectrum of US preservation concerns: historical and architectural significance, cultural diversity and difficult histories, and adaptive reuse.
The iconic local transportation system, which began in 1873 as a creative response to the uniquely hilly terrain. After World War II, the city planned to eliminate them when the bus emerged as a more efficient alternative. Citizen activism saved them from destruction on the grounds of charm and historic resonance in 1947.
- a Native American burial mound?
- a Colonial New England church?
- a New Orleans “shotgun house”?
- a slave cabin from a southern plantation?
- a barn or silo?
- an old-fashioned divided-light wooden window?
- a New York brownstone?
- a Gilded Age mansion?
- a skyscraper?
- a shopping center or shopping mall?
- the interstate highway system?
- a gas station?
- a drive-in?
- a ranch house or suburban subdivision?
- a one-room schoolhouse?
- a “brutalist” building?
- a Nashville or Detroit recording studio?
- a major-league sports stadium?