Wednesday, December 16, 2009

HO-HO-HOME Research (and other great gifts) for the Holidays

Whether you are trying to find the perfect gift for an old house lover, or want to discover your own home's history, come to the Trust to commission a Home History for you... the Preservation Trust will research your home in the City of Spartanburg and write its very own history!
Perfect, personalized gift for the first-time homeowner, or historic home buff who loves living in history!

The cost is only $50…order by Friday, December 18th for delivery/pick-up by Christmas Eve!

Making a donation in any amount also makes a great gift (or stocking stuffer!)…make a donation by December 22nd, and we will mail you a personalized card for the special recipient.

The Preservation Trust also has t-shirts for sale for $15! See our website for the design:

Contact Rebecca Parrish at or 542-2282 if you have questions or would like to place an order!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Some non-profit organizations are lucky enough to have budgets that include design and marketing. Others are lucky enough to get those services for free....of course, we fall into the latter category.

Thanks to a RIGGS Createathon grant, the Preservation Trust's salvage store image received a much-needed makeover. Imagine amazingly creative ad folks (Kevin Smith and his partners at RIGGS) + SAS identity crisis and lack of any marketing materials + 24 hours of working equals an amazing overhaul to the salvage image!


RIGGS renamed the store, created 3 separate image logos, business card and inventory tag layouts, 3 snazzy ads/copy, yard signs, etc...based on our ideas, hopes, and aspirations for the store and inspired by the Joyce Kilmer poem "The House With Nobody In It".

We are EVER grateful for the hard work and beautiful deliverables from RIGGS. For more information about the Createathon, visit:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Diggin' It

Yesterday, while landscaping the front beds at 564 Cecil Court, Trust staff unearthed this:

That's right. A toy car. It was our big prize of the day.

How can a now-defunct, muddy, tireless Happy Meal type prize from the 1970's be a prize? Even cleaned up, the toy is only a shadow of what it used to be....a real, working matchbox car, a Mercedes Benz 450 SEL at that, with a spiffy gold-yellow paint job and rust-free chrome accents. But consider this: maybe it was an escape for a kid, living in modest 564 Cecil Court (or maybe visiting?), playing on the front walk, dreaming of living big one day.

That prize is part of the home's history. No one famous lived there; it is an ordinary two bedroom, one bathroom bungalow. But dig a little futher and you can picture its past: a family, kids, neighbors, community. And you realize that ordinary can be EXRAORDINARY.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The life (and death) of a historic mailbox

Wanted: A compromise between a historic mailbox original to a home and the mailbox requirements of the U.S. Postal Service.....

The Trust recently ran into a dilemma during our recent preparation to rent a remodeled home in the Hampton Heights Historic District. During the exterior restoration of the home, we had removed an originial, historic element in order to prep and paint. That element, the mailbox, was also in need of some TLC. We planned to strip and repaint the metal box and reattach it to the right of the front door. The problem: before doing so we asked questions...mainly to the postal worker who delivers mail to our office. His response, "no way....that thing should just be trashed". According to him, the box was useless; too small for packages, oversized cards, magazines, and catalogs (ie, junk mail you don't need).
In the end, what could we do? We bought a brand new mailbox, and now have the original in the office, trying to figure out its fate. If you have any creative ideas or uses for this gem of postal history, please let us know!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Defining US....the many roles of the Trust: Featuring CHDO

People often ask what the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg is, what we do, etc. As staff, it is sometimes difficult to deliver this in a nice, neat packaged one-liner. Do we share our mission? Do we include "bricks and mortar" in the explanation? Do we focus on our work in neighborhoods? What about our architectural salvage arm? How about the affordability side of our organization--even though the federal funds dwindle more and more every year, we still get a small amount of HOME funds. To receive these, we have to maintain status as a CHDO (Community Housing Development Organization) with our PJ (Participating Jurisdiction, aka, City of Spartanburg). It is a lot of acronyms to digest, but being a CHDO is important to us. HUD document 24 CFR Part 92.2 defines the roles and responsibilities of a CHDO:

Community housing development organization means a private nonprofit organization that: (1) Is organized under State or local laws; (2) Has no part of its net earnings inuring to the benefit of any member, founder, contributor, or individual; (3) Is neither controlled by, nor under the direction of, individuals or entities seeking to derive profit or gain from the organization. A community housing development organization may be sponsored or created by a for-profit entity, but: (i) The for-profit entity may not be an entity whose primary purpose is the development or management of housing, such as a builder, developer, or real estate management firm. (ii) The for-profit entity may not have the right to appoint more than one-third of the membership of the organization's governing body. Board members appointed by the for-profit entity may not appoint the remaining two-thirds of the board members; and (iii) The community housing development organization must be free to contract for goods and services from vendors of its own choosing; (4) Has a tax exemption ruling from the Internal Revenue Service under section 501(c) (3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 CFR 1.501(c)(3)-1); (5) Does not include a public body (including the participating jurisdiction). An organization that is State or locally chartered may qualify as a community housing development organization; however, the State or local government may not have the right to appoint more than one-third of the membership of the organization's governing body and no more than one-third of the board members may be public officials or employees of the participating jurisdiction or State recipient. Board members appointed by the State or local government may not appoint the remaining two-thirds of the board members; (6) Has standards of financial accountability that conform to 24 CFR 84.21, ``Standards for Financial Management Systems;'' (7) Has among its purposes the provision of decent housing that is affordable to low-income and moderate-income persons, as evidenced in its charter, articles of incorporation, resolutions or by-laws; [[Page 578]] (8) Maintains accountability to low-income community residents by: (i) Maintaining at least one-third of its governing board's membership for residents of low-income neighborhoods, other low-income community residents, or elected representative of low-income neighborhood organizations. For urban areas, ``community'' may be a neighborhood or neighborhoods, city, county or metropolitan area; for rural areas, it may be a neighborhood or neighborhoods, town, village, county, or multi-county area (but not the entire State); and (ii) Providing a formal process for low-income program beneficiaries to advise the organization in its decisions regarding the design, siting, development, and management of affordable housing; (9) Has a demonstrated capacity for carrying out activities assisted with HOME funds. An organization may satisfy this requirement by hiring experienced key staff members who have successfully completed similar projects, or a consultant with the same type of experience and a plan to train appropriate key staff members of the organization; and (10) Has a history of serving the community within which housing to be assisted with HOME funds is to be located. In general, an organization must be able to show one year of serving the community before HOME funds are reserved for the organization. However, a newly created organization formed by local churches, service organizations or neighborhood organizations may meet this requirement by demonstrating that its parent organization has at least a year of serving the community.

Working for a non-profit organization isn't just about giving back to the community. It is about accountability, managing board members, and advocating for change. Sometimes the last role is the hardest, especially if you wear many hats or incorporate all those pesky acronyms into defining your organization.

We like to think the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg is one-of-a-kind...not because we are singular to Spartanburg or have an all-female staff, but because we have never met another organization like our own. We are seeking that....non-profit, bricks and mortar, historic preservation developers that work in designated city or urban neighborhoods, are certified CHDOs, have a salvage operation, and do owner-occupied rehabilitation projects. Are you out there? If so, please write to us!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Discussion of the Blackwood Bungalow...and why (or why not) it should be saved

We are so glad our restoration of the Blackwood Bungalow has sparked (heated) debate about whether or not the project is worth doing....and why. Many thanks to Spartanburg Spark who has hosted the discussion, and for author Christopher George who has enlightened us on the dark history of Governor I.C. Blackwood, former resident of 232 Hydrick Street.

Please read the posts to learn more, and join in the discussion about preservation of homes and history.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Restoring the past for the future....232 Hydrick Street

Today launched the next step of our biggest residential project to date, the restoration of 232 Hydrick Street, otherwise known as the Governor Blackwood Bungalow. The story hit the front page of our local Spartanburg Herald-Journal (above the fold, at that!):

Just as the economy was looking grim, and our prospects for raising in-kind donations from local businesses slim, the feature story has added wind back in our sails. Many thanks to the local media and local businesses for pledging their support and following the project. So far, Clement Lumber, Grasstenders, and Hodge Carpets have promised to assist with the project!

Ken Pangel of MP Services, LLC will be handling the reconstruction of the home!