Friday, December 19, 2008

The twelve days of giving

In the spirit of the giving holiday, be reminded that there are 12 days remaining of 2008, and 12 days left to make a tax-deductible donation to your favorite non-profit organization! Here are 12 reasons why:

12 -- board members volunteering

11 -- pages on our new & improved website

10 -- years and counting

9 -- new fans on Facebook

8 -- sales made at SAS last Saturday

7 -- current projects

6 -- homes for sale

5 -- streets that now have bike lanes

4 -- walking tours available

3 -- streets with lighting

2 -- dedicated staff members

1 -- chance to make your dollar count
Please give us your support before the year runs out. Don't make us beg! Stop by the office to see us today!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Kudzu Kind of Christmas

The Preservation Trust of Spartanburg Celebrates Holidays with “Kudzu Kind of Christmas”

The holiday season is here; and the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg is celebrating in a big and creative way, calling it a “Kudzu Kind of Christmas”.

That’s right…kudzu vines collected by neighborhood volunteers Tim Fisher, Marlene Comer, Linda Powers-Bilanchone, Steve & Erin Shanafelt, and Kudzu Coalition volunteers Tim Hemphill, Samantha Parks, Newt Hardie will be on display at the offices of the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg and Partners for Active Living, located at 226 South Spring Street (Cantrell Bungalow) in the Hampton Heights Historic District. The effort was also aided by Shawndel Scott who delivered a bulk of the vines and crowns.

Vines wrapped in lights and adorned with ribbon join ornaments made from the large crowns of the kudzu vine. The holiday d├ęcor reflects the year-long partnership of the Preservation Trust and Kudzu Coalition, who together have been working to eradicate kudzu in the four acre green space between Carlisle Street and Brookwood Terrace.

Decorations will be on display from December 3, 2008 until January 2, 2008.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New website launched this week!

Hello blogfans! The staff of the Trust is excited to announce the launch of our NEW website (at the old address.... and we want you to check it out.

The former website was designed in 2000, and we hope the streamlined and clean look of our new site will be easy on the eyes....and easy to navigate!

Please check us out and let us know your thoughts!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preservation Trust hits the Big 1-0

October marks the tenth anniversary of the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg, Inc.

Former and current board members, professionals from the Spartanburg community, home buyers, neighbors, and friends joined together on Friday, October 24 to celebrate the accomplishments of the non-profit organization.

The event, held at Hub-Bub’s Showroom, featured a presentation by Executive Director Kristi K. Webb to long-term Preservation Trust volunteer Linda Bilanchone, who was present to accept the award. Webb also honored Susan Willis Dunlap, the one of the organization’s founders and first board president. Dunlap’s mother, Mary Willis, was on hand to accept the honor on her daughter’s behalf. Two trees will be planted at the Hampton Heights Historic District neighborhood greenspace in December and markers will designate the service Bilanchone and Dunlap have both dedicated to the Preservation Trust.

William Cribb catered the event, and Liz Blanchard created the three cakes. A photographic slide show of past projects and events ran for guests. Approximately 100 supporters attended the event.

Envisioned by former City Manager Roy Lane and established in 1998, The Preservation Trust of Spartanburg, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) historic preservation organization. It is also designated as a CHDO (Community Housing Development Organization), which enables the Trust to receive federal funding for homeownership initiatives. The mission of the Preservation Trust is “preserving historic Spartanburg.” The Preservation Trust is a city-wide organization that is empowered to improve housing stock in locally designated historic districts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Preservation Roadtrip to Greensboro, North Carolina

Last week, Trust staff took a roadtrip to participate in the yearly conference of the Southeast Chapter, Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH), held in Greensboro, North Carolina. We love a good roadtrip (despite gas prices) to a city we have never been, and Greensboro proved to be rich in history and somewhat preservation-minded. It had three historic districts, a walkable downtown with a fabulous Kress building and historic Woolworth store (made famous for its lunch counter sit-in of1960, sparking numerous other sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement).

The SESAH awarded the Trust their "Best of the South" award for the Carlisle Street Initative at the business luncheon on October 4. What an incredible honor!

The most rewarding experience of the trip, however, was our visit with Jon Enos of Architectural Salvage of Greensboro (ASG). This salvage store is a non-profit project of Preservation Greensboro, Inc (also supported by the City of Greensboro). Not only is ASG an outstanding example of the deconstruction/salgvage movement, but volunteer Jon Enos has also been a wealth of knowledge, allowing for our staff to pick his brain about their operations so that we can make the Spartanburg Architectural Salvage even better. He spent the better part of an afternoon walking us through their 25,000 square foot building, fielding questions, letting us admire Bessie (their 1955 Ford pickup truck and mobile advertising), showing us tools and how to use them, discussing prices and absolutely wonderful opportunity with an incredibly insightful individual. Seeing the success of ASG inspired us to think big and get creative! Hopefully you will see some evidence of our learning at the nest SAS opening on November 1. We are "recylcing" a bunch of ASG's ideas to implement in our operation and offer a huge thank you to them for sharing their successes, materials, and enthusiasm.

If you are ever in Greensboro, stop in and see ASG (during Friday or Saturday business hours or by appoinment) at 300 Bellemeade Street (in the former Clock Museum downtown). You'll be glad for the detour through old doors, windows, sinks, flooring and more.

Overall, we enjoyed our short trip to the unique city of Greensboro. We allowed ourselves to get lost in Greensboro historic residential districts, driving slowly to take pictures and note pleasing paint schemes and unique styles....tourists all the way! If anything, let us encourage you to get out and explore a town or city that is unknown to you. Visit the downtown or historic areas, ask questions and get inspired!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Spartanburg to be 2nd SC City to Participate in National Park(ing) Day September 19

SPARTANBURG – The number of downtown parks in America will increase dramatically this September.

Friday, September 19, 2008 is National Park(ing) Day, and public parking spots nationwide will become temporary public parks. The project is sponsored by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation nonprofit.

National Park(ing) Day is an annual event celebrating parks by creating temporary parks in public parking spaces. The goals, according to organizers, are to celebrate parks and promote the need for more parks in America’s cities.
Supporters in cities nationwide, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have announced participation.

Spartanburg will join these cities, as the second municipality in South Carolina to participate in Park(ing) Day. In downtown Spartanburg, organizers will put together a uniquely landscaped Park(ing) park located adjacent to 127 East Main Street, near the corner of Church and Main Streets, from 11:30 – 1:30pm. The mini-park will provide downtown employees and visitors with a workday break. Seating, potted plants, and music will create a relaxing atmosphere for all. Story time will occur for anyone wishing to listen at 12:30pm.

“Only .0007% of Spartanburg County is open space and public lands. Access to open space is a vital component for our community’s quality of life,” said Cate Ryba, one of the event organizers and a city resident. “We want to help raise awareness of the issue, and add to the efforts of many organizations already working towards more open space and parkland in Spartanburg.”

Spartanburg area organizers hope that the event will grow, enticing neighboring cities to participate next year.

“I am excited about the momentum and energy in downtown Spartanburg,” said Laura Ringo, an organizer and resident of the downtown neighborhood Hampton Heights. “As part of the revitalization, I feel that it is important to remember that open space is a key factor for a thriving downtown. Park(ing) Day is a great way to remind our community and its leaders of this.”

Photos from other cities during last year’s event, as well as a full list of cities with maps and details is available online at

In 2007, National Park(ing) Day spawned more than 200 new parks in more than fifty cities nationwide and around the world. See coverage from CNN.

Park(ing) Day Spartanburg is organized by a group of city residents interested in a variety of endeavors to enhance the quality of life in our city; these interests include Arts, Education, Historic Preservation, Economic Development, Active Living, Local Farming, Early Childhood Development and Tourism.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


This Arts and Crafts home built in 1916 by former South Carolina Governor Ibra Charles Blackwood (1931 to 1935) is facing demolition. It is a 3 bedroom 2 bath bungalow with extensive damage inside and out stemming from years of neglect.
Pending demolition orders from the City of Spartanburg spurred the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg into action to purchase and restore the neglected home. The Trust took possession of the home on September 10, 2008.

The Blackwood bungalow is part of the Hampton Heights Historic District in downtown Spartanburg, where in the past 10 years the Trust has completed close to forty home restorations, attracting new home owners to the downtown district. The architecture significance of the home and Hampton Heights’ designation as a national and local district of historic significance along with the fact that it has a prominent former owner makes it worth saving.

October 13, 1931, Blackwood helped the Charleston City Council to pass the first Historic Preservation Ordinance in the nation. This fight for preserving our history and historic places was important to Governor Blackwood and it is very important to us.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spartanburg Architectural Salvage OPEN TOMORROW!

Spartanburg Architectural Salvage is OPEN TOMORROW, Saturday, September 6th from 10am to 2pm. It has new stock including several new doors (two sets of french doors), a new mantel, iron work, pickets and rails....

We also have Spartanburg Architectural Salvage t-shirts on sale for $15.00.

Get there early to get the good deals!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We have some homework to do...

Trust staff admits we need some schooling when it comes to mill villages. An architect friend suggested we read Building the Workingman's Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns by Margaret Crawford. The book arrived in the mail today, and we thought this first step at learning was worthy of its own blog post.
Part of the fabric of Spartanburg's past, the textile mill industry operated as virtual self sustaining communities as it developed housing, installed utilities, and ran its own general store and post office. Spartanburg, like many upstate towns, was at one time comprised of multiple working mills. We have lost many of the mills themselves to deconstruction, fire, and the like. We have lost some of the mill housing, too, virtually erasing chapters in our rich history.
As you can imagine, the Trust would like to save the history that Spartanburg has left. Areas like Pacolet, Glendale, and in the city, Beaumont Mill, are places worthy of investment. Each area has incredible attributes and community leadership who value "sense of place". We find more and more that people want to be connected to their community; they want to know the history of their home and community, and they want to find their role in its past, present and future.
As the Trust moves forward into its future, don't be surprised if our direction meanders through a mill community near you....after some schooling, of course.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preservation across the nation...our board members get out there!

Not everyone is lamenting the gas prices and staying at home this summer. We recently had a member of our board (Patrick Armstrong) travel to Montana. Lucky for us, Patrick packed his Preservation Trust t-shirt in his suitcase to wear while on the trip (below).This got our wheels turning...what if we asked our staff, board members and friends to do the same the next time they travel and/or visit a landmark?

So, this is our the mission and work of the Trust in a wearable form (cost of t-shirt $15), take a photo of yourself in a locale other than the great City of Spartanburg, email it to us, and watch it pop up on blogger.

If you need a t-shirt, let us know. Labor Day is coming up, so we hope you get out there and see the sights looking spiffy in your Trust T! Happy travels!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Spartanburg Architectural Salvage OPEN TOMORROW!

Spartanburg Architectural Salvage is OPEN TOMORROW, Saturday, August 23rd from 10am to 2pm. It has new stock including several new doors (two sets of french doors), a new mantel, iron work, pickets and rails....

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Day in the Life...

Many of our loyal blogfans know that the staff of the Trust love our jobs, and we enjoy the fact that every day is different. We have celebrations, challenges and heartaches that our staff of two tackles every day. That said, we thought we would offer you a snapshot into our daily life... because Kristi is on vacation today, the schedule below follows Rebecca through her day:

9 am: Arrive at work, listen to 7 voicemails (including 3 calls about the kudzu cleanup and one phone call from Kay of Greeneville, TN, thanking us for our time last Thursday). Check fax machine.
9:10am: Visit from new homeowner Erin, who has come bearing a level and thank you card for contractor Steve West. We chat about her exciting progress in unpacking, IKEA curtains, and outlet mall finds. I love that Erin is so happy about her home and hope she can get internet installed soon!
9:15am: Check emails (too many to count) and write various answers, schedule various meetings, and sign us up for a Green Building Seminar next Thursday.
9:25am: Meet with impromptu prospective buyer Mark (transplant from NJ) and talk about houses in the Hampton Heights area. This meeting is interrupted by one of our tenants, Joe, who has come to pay rent. We resume our discussion and talk about homeownership classes.
9:40am: Yet another walk in; this fellow has been working at the Beta Club headquarters down the street and is curious about the neighborhood. We talk about the history and architecture and I give him a folder with lots of information, maps, etc and tell him to definitely check out the holiday tour of Hampton Heights during the first weekend of December.
9:57am: I write down that we need to buy more folders for walk-ins and other interested parties...we are out!
10:15am: A guy comes in to the office looking for Jean (with PAL) and has some bike stuff for her!
10:30am: Contractor Steve West comes in for a visit. This is bittersweet. He is delivering his final invoice for work. He is a fabulous builder and wonderful person who is retiring...we talk about his plans and how he needs to get into a physical therapist for that disk problem in his neck.
11:30am: Kristi calls to check in. It is great to hear that Saturday's kudzu spraying went well, even if there was not enough herbicide for the 4 acres. We plan to do something nice for the applicator and DOW chemical contact who donated their time and herbicide to the cause.
12:15pm to 1:20pm: Off to lunch. The office is closed....seriously, we have to eat sometime!
1:30pm: Two voicemails when I return. One is a tenant with a broken front door (call to contractor to follow up and fix the glass!); the other is Dawn with Spartanburg Water who calls about setting up an account for the warehouse space (salvage store). It seems the owner of the building feels we will be setting up and paying for account. Grrr...we were not expecting this.
2:20pm: Visit from Wanda with Weichert Realtors. She will be listing 266 West Hampton Avenue and wanted to know about special financing, National Register status and down payment assistance. We are always super happy when realtors come our way and use us as a resource. Wanda and I chat about the great people who live in the neighborhood and the positive changes in the past few years. She asks if I think it will ever be like Converse Heights. If I had a dollar for every time someone tries to make this is a bit like comparing Spartanburg to Greenville...which I don't want to do...
3:00pm: Start this blog, which makes me late for my 3:30 to 5pm Mary Black Foundation OCB meeting, so this is where my day ends.

A Day in the Life of a Trust Staffer. Rewarding. Interesting. Never a dull moment!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bicycle Commuting Workshop

As many of you know, the Preservation Trust shares our office space with non-profit Partners for Active Living. We collaborated recently to increase bike lanes to connect neighborhoods to the downtown business district via Marion Avenue and South Spring Street. Although the project was not exactly in the realm of preservation, the partnership allowed us to look at the bigger picture of neighborhood revitalization and community development. As fuel costs go up and up, it makes sense to educate the community about other options in safe transportation (ie, bikes)...we're joining forces to present a Bicycle Commuting Workshop. See the flyer below!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Say what? Trust joins the world of social networking

Yesterday we had a crash course in the world of social networking in a brown bag lunch series at the Chamber of Commerce. We have had discussions about the merits of having a myspace or facebook page for a while now, and after learning the sheer numbers of people in the wave of online networking, we have officially joined the crowd. We're cool kids now!

Visit us on facebook:

Become a fan, look at photos, join upcoming events, post a comment on our wall.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How To Series

So, we were brainstorming last week about how we can expand our educational reach. We have some very creative board members who envision a How To Series for the public on various home or creative projects. We aim to incorporate podcasts, videos, workshops (at our salvage warhouse), links on our website regarding the topic of the month, and step by step instructions for a project. We plan to engage community partners and neighbors to help, too.

What do you want to see or learn more about?

Let us know....

Friday, July 25, 2008

In case you don't recognize us...

The Trust girls both got hair cuts yesterday. Note Kristi's do, which emulates the 1920's flapper style-bob.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We did that!

The Trust staff can finally claim construction experience on our personal resumes! Yesterday, we headed to our restoration project at 276 Hydrick Street to assist the contractor with assembly of the kitchen cabinets from IKEA. Kristi has recent experience installing IKEA cabinets in her own kitchen, so her knowledge was put to great use!

IKEA's cabinets come in flat boxes, so "assembly required"is an understatement. The contractor had already installed the cabinet frames in the kitchen. Trust staff, along with Erin (the future homeowner), put together drawers first. We then assembled the hinges. After lunch we started to install the tracts for the drawers and hang the doors. It was rewarding work to see the cabinetry come together.

Yesterday's work on site gave us an appreciation for the pace of restoration work. The HVAC unit had not yet been set on site, so the only repreive from the 101 degree heat was a box fan and refreshing water and Gatorade. It is incredible that contractors work in the heat daily! Despite the weather, it was a great chance to take an active role in a project and share time with a homeowner and contractor. It was exciting to see Erin's customized design take shape. Plus, it further proved that for the Trust, every day is different--our work is not limited to a desk and email and phone calls....truly a fun change of pace we will attempt again in the future!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another great use for old windows

Friends William Gray and Kristin Starnes sent us the following examples of what they created using windows from SAS...we loved these ideas and wanted to pass them on!

Above: Picture frame with mosiac glass
Below: Painted windows make a great outdoor decor!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Moving forward with 232 Hydrick Street

We officially have a contract for 232 Hydrick Street, the former residence of Governor I.C. Blackwood! We will close by the end of July and begin work on the severely decayed home ASAP. We are so lucky to have a photograph of the home from the 1983 National Register application (see left)and are seeking other photos to further allow us to restore using original details.
We will also be seeking in kind donations for services or materials and grant funds to restore the home. We realize that tackling a project like this is, by no means, a money-making venture and partnering to complete this project is a must! If anyone out there in blog-land is willing to help or interested in the project, please let us know!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Great idea for unused windows

We recently opened our architectural salvage store (Spartanburg Architectural Salvage, or SAS) and used some old windows to help advertise it.

How, you ask?

First, we cleaned the windows of the usual grime and such. Then, intern Patrick painted the windows with black chalkboard paint (note this was done in the well ventilated area of the Trust front porch, atop newspaper).
The chalkboard paint takes a mere hour or two to dry and voila... instant blank canvas for chalkin' it up!
We have since painted a few more windows to use in the SAS store to display prices and general information. As seen below, we used a painted window to announce our Kudzu Cleanup Project at the kickoff event on June 19th.

SAS has many windows of various shapes and sizes that are available for reuse in a home restoration project or art project.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hampton Heights honored

Welcome to the Preservation Trust's first blog post! We are excited to have another way to update the public about our programs, news, and preservation topics! This week we are celebrating a huge honor...being recognized as one of the top eight places to purchase an old house by This Old House magazine! Below is a link to the article:,,20207579_20472638,00.html

Stay tuned for more!

Trust girls