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!

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