Last week the Washington Post reported on “slugging“: a form of cooperative ride sharing that combines attributes of carpooling and hitchhiking. Coincidentally, I was doing oral history interviews last week with several original members of a Silver Spring housing cooperative founded in the early 1950s by a group of federal workers who wanted to abandon their Washington apartments for suburban homeownership. Carpooling quickly became a commuting mainstay and it became a vehicle for creating social networks in the new subdivision and between emerging suburban developments. Continue reading
August 28, 2010
Since July 2010, when the Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza opened, a drum circle has gathered Saturday evenings. I wanted to see how the drum circle forms each week so I arrived at 6:30 PM to see how it comes together. Performances are complex social events. The activities leading up to the actual event can be as significant as the music or drama performed during the performance. With that in mind I tried to catch how the Silver Spring drum circle comes together as a performance. This video is compiled from clips I shot while watching the drummers and their audience gather between 7:00 and 8:20 PM in Veterans Plaza.
In 2006 Montgomery County, Maryland, received international attention for purchasing a 19th century farmhouse that oral tradition suggested was the original “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The county paid $1 million for a little over an acre in suburban North Bethesda. Now, four years later the county is holding community stakeholder meetings to map out the future of what officials are now calling The Josiah Henson Site. I recall the excitement surrounding the announcement that the legendary material link to American literary and social history would be “saved” from land hungry developers gobbling up Montgomery County real estate. Continue reading
The Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously tonight to recommend to the Montgomery County Planning Board that the Kensington Cabin be added to the county’s Locational Atlas of Historic Sites and that the property be designated in the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation. The HPC serves in an advisory capacity and makes recommendations to the Planning Board; final designation decisions are made by the County Council. Continue reading
My paper on the development of stockyards in the eastern United States (and ultimately, Chicago) was presented at the 2009 Vernacular Architecture Forum conference in Butte, Montana.
Last week I learned that a revised and expanded version will be published later this year. Details to come. The paper was published in Western Pennsylvania History: Model for the Nation: Sale, Slaughter and Processing at the East Liberty Stockyards (2010).
In the meantime, here’s an illustrated version of the 2009 VAF paper abstract:
Update: See this later post on the home’s inclusion in a National Building Museum exhibit.
I am slowly getting around to revising my 2010 Vernacular Architecture Forum paper on Silver Spring’s 1939 World’s Fair Home. One of the areas that I was unable to deal with in the VAF paper was how the Silver Spring house differed from the one built in the World’s Fair Town of Tomorrow. This brief post is drawn from my ongoing work.
The Silver Spring drum circle reconvened last Saturday night. My BlackBerry (and its crappy camera) and I again wandered over to the drummers after catching the great show put on by Chicago blueser Joanna Connor. Note to self: Carry a real camera in Downtown Silver Spring.