Places That Look Ordinary Are Nothing But Extraordinary

Pullman National Monument Designation

President Obama Designates Pullman as a National Monument

I don’t often mix my work into More to Come…. But then again, I don’t often hear the President speak so eloquently about the work with which I’m engaged.  Last Thursday was one of those days.

After 24 hours in my own house, I was on the road once again to Chicago last week.  Cold. Frigid. Windy. Chicago.  It wasn’t a destination I would have sought out in February, except for the fact that President Barack Obama was going to designate Pullman a National Monument.  At the National Trust, we were part of a coalition working for this designation, and I was proud to join our team at the celebration.

These types of events with government and political leaders are often perfunctory – at least from the politician’s standpoint.  Last Thursday – with the President on his home turf – was anything but.  You knew we were in for a treat when his opening remarks began with this ode to Chicago’s winter: “It’s always been a dream of mine to be the first President to designate a national monument in subzero conditions.”

Pullman, if you do not know the history, is a remarkably intact industrial town of historic buildings and landscapes. Located 13 miles south of downtown Chicago, it was built by industrialist George Pullman and through all the change that has taken place in this small community, it stands today as representative of the heart of the American Labor movement. Strikes that began in Pullman in 1893 and spread across the country led – in the long arc of history – to the establishment of Labor Day, a 40-hour work week, the weekend, overtime pay, safe workplace conditions, and the right to organize for higher wages and better opportunities. The first African-American Union – the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – had ties to Pullman. The men and women who worked and labored in Pullman – white and black – helped create the American middle class.

Pullman

Pullman (Photo Credit: Cynthia Lynn via National Trust for Historic Preservation)

President Obama told the story of Pullman in deeply personal terms, as they related to his life, the life of his family, and to the life of all Americans.

I want this younger generation, I want future generations to come learn about their past.  Because I guarantee you there are a lot of young people right here in Chicago, just a few blocks away, living in this neighborhood who may not know that history.

I want future generations to know that while the Pullman porters helped push forward our rights to vote, and to work, and to live as equals, their legacy goes beyond even that.  These men and women without rank, without wealth or title, became the bedrock of a new middle class.  These men and women gave their children and grandchildren opportunities they never had. 

Here in Chicago, one of those porter’s great-granddaughter had the chance to go to a great college and a great law school, and had the chance to work for the mayor, and had the chance to climb the ladder of success and serve as a leader in some of our cities’ most important institutions.  And I know that because today she’s the First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama.

Then he continued, and the White House transcript includes the reaction from the crowd:

So without this place, Michelle wouldn’t be where she was.  There’s a reason why I’ve got one of the original copies of the program for the March on Washington, a march for jobs and justice, with A. Philip Randolph’s name right there as the first speaker, framed in my office.  Because without Pullman, I might not be there.  Of course without Michelle, I’d definitely not be there.  (Laughter.)  Whoever she married would be there.  (Laughter and applause.)

Then – in contrasting the great national parks of natural beauty with a place like Pullman – the President spoke directly to the students who filled the bleachers in the high school gymnasium, saying:

…To the young people here today, that’s what I hope you take away from this place. It is right that we think of our national monuments as these amazing vistas, and mountains, and rivers. But part of what we’re preserving here is also history. It’s also understanding that places that look ordinary are nothing but extraordinary. The places you live are extraordinary, which means you can be extraordinary. You can make something happen, the same way these workers here at Pullman made something happen.

That’s not to tell you that life is always going to be fair, or even that America will always live up to its ideals. But it is to teach us that no matter who you are, you stand on the shoulders of giants. You stand on the site of great historic movements. And that means you can initiate great historic movements by your own actions.

Secretary Jewell with DJB

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell with DJB at the community celebration in Pullman

It was a day of great celebration.  It was a day when one of the country’s most eloquent presidential speakers was able – because of what Pullman meant to him as a man, a husband, a father, a worker, and an American – to explain to all Americans why Pullman matters today, and tomorrow, and to future generations.  Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis were on hand, and I shared with them an ad we placed in that morning’s Chicago Tribune thanking the President, Secretary, and Director for their leadership in saving Pullman. And there were more than 500 people from the neighborhood – people who have been saving Pullman and recognizing its relevance for decades – who were there as well.

And I did say it was a celebration for the entire neighborhood.  Argus Brewery makes fine craft beer in a former Schlitz distribution center in Pullman. To celebrate the monument designation, they produced a one-day only brew – Pullman Monumental Lager.  My colleagues in our Chicago office got a case, and we shared one beer after the party. Even the President had four cases delivered to Air Force One.  Unfortunately, I was flying United and couldn’t take mine with me through airport security…something that isn’t a problem for the President!

Pullman Monumental Lager

Pullman Monumental Lager from Argus Brewery

 

Lager Description

Description of the Pullman Monumental Lager

What a way to celebrate!  Congratulations to all the folks in Pullman and the organizations such as the National Parks and Conservation Association who worked so hard to make this happen.

And if you have about 25 or 30 minutes, do yourself a favor and listen to the President’s remarks about Pullman.  It is a great history lesson.  The President’s comments begin after the 32 minute mark.

More to come…

DJB

Just Another Beautiful Day in Southern California

Swimming Coach JP Gowdy with Claire

Swimming Coach Jean-Paul Gowdy with Claire following a Family Weekend practice

Not even ten hours – TEN HOURS – stuck in the Phoenix Airport on Thursday was going to ruin our last Family Weekend at Pomona College with Claire.  (Phoenix Airport motto:  “And you think our city has sprawl – just wait until you have to go from concourse-to-concourse in our lovely airport.  We’ll show you world-class sprawl!”)

Yes, the time has come for the last of our family weekends during the college years.  We’ve made 7 of 8 over the course of the four years between our twins and their two schools.

Some parents poo-poo the Family Weekend, saying they are only for freshmen parents who miss their children.  But we love them.  Why?

Well, beyond the obvious of getting to spend time with Claire and Andrew, we get to meet and hear great professors talk about fun things. In the fall at Brown, our favorite was Fundamentals of Healthy AgingThis year’s topic of choice at Pomona from Professor Joti Rockwell was entitled  Sympathy for the Devil:  The Meanings of Fiddle and Guitar Music which addressed fiddle and guitar-oriented music from historical, theoretical, cultural and analytical perspectives.  Topics included “Greek mathematical and cosmological foundations for understanding stringed instruments, and the fiddle as a morally questionable instrument!”  The Devil’s Box!!  Right up my alley.

We get to spend time with our children’s suite-mates and friends.  What a sharp group of young adults.

We get to hear talented professors and students perform in various ensembles in some beautiful spaces. Comedy, poetry, jazz and dance ensembles, and improv. Two years ago at Pomona we had a chance to hear fiddler extraordinaire Richard Greene play with Professor Rockwell.

We go to a breakfast where we hear of the work of Pomona’s professors and students, who are having an impact worldwide in so many fields.  People such as Poet and Professor Claudia Rankine with her most recent work Citizen; Noah Simon, an alum who was named to Forbes 30 under 30:  Young Scientists Who Are Changing the World for his algorithms which are being used to characterize the biology behind Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and various cancers; and Assistant Professor Amanda Hollis-Brusky with her work studying the Federalist Society. At that same breakfast, we engage in a discussion with parents and staff about the importance of standing up and speaking out for the liberal arts, in the face of STEM-only education and the push in some quarters to turn institutes of higher learning into trade schools.

We get to meet and thank adults like swimming coach Jean-Paul Gowdy who have had such a profound influence on our children as they grow into adulthood.

And, because our children go to school on opposite coasts, we go to New England during the height of the fall color season…and we go to Southern California in February!

Haldeman Pool

Haldeman Pool

Did I mention that we hung out around the pool today watching Claire and her teammates train for next weekend’s conference championship?  And we were in short sleeves?  And shorts? And did I mention that while we were there – in 82º weather – Andrew texted and said it was -14º wind chill in Providence?

Yes, just about the time Candice and I think we are going to pull our hair out because of the weather at home, this little oasis of a trip comes up.  And we do love it!

Main Quad at Pomona College

Flowers from Pomona Family Weekend

James Terrell work at Pomona

James Terrell art work at Pomona

As we walk through the bucolic campus at Pomona, we keep getting whiffs of the flowers that are all in bloom, and we wonder which plant is calling us over for a closer inspection. The quadrangles, trails, buildings, fountains, art, and plantings work together to form a place of incredible beauty.

Today we have a jazz brunch in a beautiful dining hall that could have come out of a Harry Potter movie.  Then we’ll go to the farmers market in the village of Claremont. (Village motto: One of the most wonderful places on earth.) Candice and I will hang out in the 83º sunshine for as long as possible before having an early dinner with Claire and getting ready for our flight home.

I think we’re going to have to come up with some excuse to return next February!

More to come…

DJB

 

 

Quest for the Best (2015 Edition, Round 2)

Film ReelSince our last report on our quest to see the Best Picture, Candice and I have seen three more of this year’s nominees.  So let’s get to it.

We walked to our “commercial” theatre (the Regal) in downtown Silver Spring earlier this week to see Selma. This movie has had its share of controversy, from the treatment of Lyndon Johnson in the film, to the snub from the Academy in terms of award nominations. David Oyelowo was excellent as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a performance certainly deserving of a Best Actor nomination. But the film was stilted at times, and uneven.

Selma is not the year’s Best Picture, but it is the most important film of the year.  We forget too quickly how difficult it was to attain rights for all, and how much pressure there is, even today, to restrict or even take away those rights.  I have members of my extended family who love to wave the Confederate flag, without any understanding of what that really means. I grew up in the South in the 1960s. I remember seeing these scenes on television. I saw first hand how blacks were treated then.  It was terrible. In some ways, it is still terrible. We can do better.

Last evening, we returned to the AFI Silver Theatre to see Birdman. Though it took a bit for me to get into this film, once drawn in I very much enjoyed this story of a faded Hollywood actor’s attempt to make it on Broadway. The acting here is terrific, beginning with Michael Keaton as Riggan Thompson (the Birdman), Emma Stone as Riggan’s daughter Sam, and Edward Norton, Jr. as the acclaimed Broadway actor Mike Shiner.  (Note: Ed Norton – Edward’s father – is a former colleague.) The chemistry between Stone and Norton is terrific. Naomi Watts as the actress Lesley (and Mike’s former girlfriend) and Zach Galifianakis as Riggan’s lawyer are also wonderful. The long single-camera takes are a great device, and the drumming in the soundtrack sets the tone for the story.  While this isn’t my first choice, I could understand – and support – this as the Best Picture winner.

This afternoon, we visited the Union Market redevelopment area of Washington, north of Union Station, to see Boyhood in the Angelika Pop-up Theatre.  This is another excellent movie, but to me it was flawed by being about a half hour too long. Tighter editing would have helped.  However, I enjoyed this coming of age story, and thought that the mother – played by Patricia Arquette – was especially good. Much has been made of the filming of this movie over a total of 12 years. I certainly enjoyed watching the characters age, and – with only a few exceptions – become more sympathetic.

We’ve now seen six of the eight nominees.  We’re planning on catching Whiplash in a few days, and we’re not going to see American Sniper.  (I’ll explain that choice in my next post.)

Here are my rankings of the six we’ve seen to date (and I’ve even changed my order from the last post):

1.  The Imitation Game

2.  Birdman

3.  Grand Budapest Hotel

4.  The Theory of Everything

5.  Boyhood

6.  Selma

And Candice has also weighed in as well.  Her rankings are:

1.  The Imitation Game

2.  Grand Budapest Hotel

3.  Birdman

4.  The Theory of Everything

5.  Boyhood

6.  Selma

Check back next week when I “declare” the winner.

More to come…

DJB

 

A Quest for the Best Picture (2015 Edition)

Film ReelAs we entered our empty nesting period, Candice and I took the plunge in 2012 and made a pledge to try and see all of the year’s films nominated in the Academy Awards’ “Best Picture” category.  We (almost) succeeded – seeing eight of the nine 2012  nominees – and every year since we’ve taken on the same challenge.  While we seldom get to all the films (we generally avoid the gratuitously violent ones such as 2013’s Django Unchained), we’ve seen the vast majority and have really enjoyed talking and – in my case  – writing about them.

This year there are eight nominees, and as we enter the final month we now have three under our belt.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is a wonderful, lush, and very funny film by Wes Anderson, which we saw in March when it was first released. The acting by Ralph Fiennes as the concierge, along with that of the rest of the ensemble, is delicious while the plot is convoluted and crazed.  This is a very good film…but not the winner!

On Saturday, we walked to the historic AFI Silver Theatre in downtown Silver Spring to see The Imitation Game. The story of Alan Turing, who helped break the German code in WWII and pioneered the computer in the process, is simply terrific.  There is so much to consider when watching this movie. It covers three periods of Turing’s life – his unhappy childhood, his work during the war, and his arrest after the war for his homosexuality.  His physical and mental deterioration is such a sad ending for a unique talent.  The line that spurs Turing in his youth, he then uses on fellow code-breaker Joan Clarke, and she ultimately uses to encourage him during his last year of life sums up the wonderful message of this movie:  “Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine.”  Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing and Keira Knightley as Clarke are both remarkable.  They turn in top-flight, Oscar-worthy performances.  Highly recommended, and a great candidate for Best Picture.

Earlier today, we returned to the AFI Silver Theatre to watch The Theory of Everything, about the life of physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane Hawking.  This was another excellent movie, with incredible performances by Eddie Redmayne as Stephen and Felicity Jones as Jane.  Hawkings’ diagnosis of motor neuron disease, soon after he meets Jane, sets up the challenges of increasing fame and increasing physical deterioration that drive the movie forward.  Both The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game demonstrate that movies without animation and action – and focused on brilliant minds, no less – can still be gripping, powerful, and moving.

Candice didn’t have a favorite between the last two, but I feel that The Imitation Game has more depth and is ultimately more satisfying.  So with three down, the completely untrained but joyfully opinionated DJB rankings for Best Picture stand as follows:

1.  The Imitation Game

2.  The Theory of Everything

3.  The Grand Budapest Hotel

Come back next weekend, as we’ll have at least two others to add to the list.

Let’s go to the movies!

More to come…

DJB

Let’s Play Two!

Ernie Banks

Ernie Banks (from NPR)

“It’s a beautiful day, let’s play two.”

Did any words sum up the joy and optimism of sports better than the simple mantra of “Mr. Cub” – Ernie Banks – who passed away yesterday?

Banks was playing in the “friendly confines of Wrigley Field” for the first major league baseball game I ever saw in person, against the eventual world-champion St. Louis Cardinals in 1964. The Cubs of my youth  were awful.  Heck, the Cubs of my entire life (and several other lifetimes) have been pretty much awful. But Banks was eternally optimistic about the club’s chances.  As President Obama said when presenting Banks with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, Ernie’s cheer and optimism that the Cubs would go all the way was “… serious belief. That is something that even a White Sox fan like me can respect.”

Banks was the original power-hitting shortstop and one of the first African-American stars in the major leagues. If ever there is a case to be made for asterisks in the record book, it is the fact that Banks held the record for most home runs in a season and a career by a shortstop, until they were “broken” (or stolen) by Alex Rodriquez.

I was a Willie Mays fan, but I always loved watching Banks play.  Thanks for the memories, Ernie, and the reminder of how infectious optimism can be.  Rest in peace, Mr. Cub.

More to come…

DJB

P.S. – The day after I originally posted this, Thomas Boswell had a very thoughtful column about Banks’ impact on his life.  Recommended.

Well, This Will Be Easy

NFL Brain Diagram via SportsPickle.com

NFL Brain Diagram via SportsPickle.com

Well, not watching Super Bowl 49 will be easy!

Last year I wrote a post saying I was through with the NFL.  I even  gave 10 reasons.  (And yes, Daniel Snyder topped the list and he still holds the top spot after this year’s debacle.)  I’ve pretty much kept to my promise.

But to find out today that my least-favorite teams – the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots – will be in the Super Bowl is just perfect.  We have the battle of the super-egos (and with these two teams, you can pick multiple candidates). After Seattle won today, I heard Russell Wilson gushing about how God had prepared him for a game like today.  I’ve got news for Russell Wilson:  God doesn’t give a damn about whether the Seahawks win or lose. Or the Patriots.  Or the Nationals, for that matter. (Just to prove that I’m an equal opportunity atheist when it comes to God and sports.) She has much more important things to do.

I think I’ll be watching paint dry or something else more productive come Super Bowl Sunday.

Brady, Belichick, Sherman, Lynch, Carroll.  Oh please…

How many days until pitchers and catchers report? (30 days, to be exact.)

The great Rogers Hornsby said it best:

People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do.
I stare out the window and wait for spring.
More to come…
DJB

My Turn on Music Row

Studio A Press Conference with Ben Folds - Photo Credit Rick Smith

(Photo Credit: Rick Smith)

I’ve often said I have one of the best jobs on earth.  I work with amazing people to save some of the best places in the country. I get to see some amazing sites. I have the chance to explain why these places matter.

Last Monday was one of those days.

The National Trust designated Nashville’s Music Row as a National Treasure. Nashville is undergoing an amazing transformation, where growth is putting pressure on some of the most important places in the history of country music. When a threat arose last summer, Musician Ben Folds and several other Nashville insiders worked hard to save historic Studio A from demolition. We joined them in this fight and – in the process – expanded our reach to all of Music Row. Knowing of my Tennessee roots and my love for roots and country music, our team asked if I would help launch our campaign.  It took me about 3 seconds to say yes.

As you can see above, we had a great turnout from the media and from friends in Nashville.  It was a great day professionally and personally. Ben and Mike Kopp of the Music Industry Coalition were incredibly articulate spokesmen for the preservation of Studio A and Music Row – and two very nice guys. Sharon Corbitt-House – who runs Studio A for Ben and Mike – was ready to fight the bulldozers to save this treasure. Aubrey Preston – one of the huge heroes in this saga in that he bought the building at the 11th hour – was already a preservation hero of mine for his work to save the historic Franklin Theatre, where my father had been a projectionist in the 1930s.  I had a chance to talk Doc Watson and Gallagher guitars with Congressman Jim Cooper. Heck, I was even in the “Picture of the Week” from the Nashville Business Journal laughing as Ben was taking a photo of the media taking pictures of him.

Studio A Press Conference, photo credit Nathan Morgan, Nashville Business Journal

(Photo credit: Nathan Morgan – Nashville Business Journal)

So, it was another great week in my job.  But the threat to Music Row is real – and it isn’t going away.  There’s much to be done. I know that my colleagues and I will work hard to help the good folks in Nashville to save this special place.  And I hope that my words last Monday will help.  Here are my remarks from the press conference last Monday in Studio A after I was introduced by Ben Folds:

Ben Folds has been one of the heroes of the fight to save Studio A – telling the story of this place as persuasively as he tells stories in his music. And he fits into a great tradition.

Singers and songwriters in Nashville have been telling stories of life’s ups and downs for decades. Some of the stories I remember are Sunday Morning Coming Down. He Stopped Loving Her Today. I Fall to Pieces. Jolene – which was recorded in this very space.

Music Row has had its share of ups and downs. But like so many characters in a country song, it survives. It is time we ensure that we tell the story of the place that produced these classics. It is time we ensure that the buildings that made that story possible have a bright future.

So as a native Tennessean who grew up with a deep love for the music of this city, I’m pleased to be with you as we look toward a future for Music Row that fits Nashville’s role as the heart and soul of country music.

We have much to celebrate today – the designation of Music Row as a National Treasure….

The formation of the Music Industry Coalition to help secure a future for this landmark….

And, of course, the fact that we are gathered here in this historically significant studio which was saved from demolition just a few weeks ago.

Although it seemed Studio A was destined to be lost, we can see today the new partnerships that emerged along with the enthusiasm and commitment to plan a future for Music Row that honors its unparalleled place in America’s cultural life.

I am delighted to be here today to officially name Music Row as one the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Treasures.

The National Trust is the nation’s largest private organization dedicated to saving America’s historic places, with more than three-quarters of a million members and supporters.

While the Trust’s awareness of Music Row’s challenges began with the short-term “save the place” campaign for Studio A, the need to address the long-term sustainability of Music Row quickly became apparent.

The challenges for Music Row are different from those we frequently see in our preservation work across the country. In many places we are faced with economic distress and a lack of jobs.

In Nashville, the opposite is true. By 2035, the city will be 20% larger. More than 12 million visitors each year come to experience Music City.

We only have to walk out this door to see the result. Construction is everywhere. Development has begun pushing toward Music Row creating pressures to sell properties to make way for new apartments, condos and hotels.

As residents have watched what is happening, a citywide conversation has emerged: What is the future of Nashville and where is the place for our culture and heritage? Particularly important for all of us here today is the question: Do we want to imagine a Nashville without Music Row? I don’t. It’s the heart and soul of this great city and a national treasure.

In 1954 Owen and Harold Bradley opened the first music business in a Quonset hut on 16th Avenue. For the last 60 years music businesses have worked here in late 19th and early 20th century residences or larger commercial buildings. This eclectic mix of buildings and businesses has created a unique environment – the kind of cultural district that cities across the country are spending millions of dollars to create as part of a creative economy. We have it here in Nashville. Right now!

Through events and activities in the coming months, the National Trust and our partners will continue to increase awareness and appreciation for Music Row’s history, the impact it has on Nashville’s economy and the worldwide recognition Music Row brings for Nashville.

Music Row joins a diverse portfolio of more than 50 places around the country that are threatened and face an uncertain future. These National Treasures include historic buildings, neighborhoods, communities, landscapes, ships, and engineering landmarks.

Our National Treasures campaigns demonstrate the value of preservation by encouraging Americans to take direct action to save places and promote their history and significance. As the Presenting Partner of the National Treasures program, American Express has pledged $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these cultural and historic places. The National Trust is mobilizing its more than 60 years of expertise and resources to help protect this place.

Although we know the music came from here, until now the story of Music Row has not been fully told. Nashville’s visitors know the singers and the songs that were recorded here. It is “their” music as well.

All of which bring us back to this building and the studio which holds so much of Music Row’s history. We look forward to working with the Preservation Partners as exciting plans develop to celebrate Studio A’s 50th anniversary and to position the studio for another 50 years as an irreplaceable part of Music Row.

But we will not work alone.

I want to applaud the work that Mike Kopp and the board of The Music Industry Coalition have undertaken in the past six months, bringing together property and business owners, musicians, artists, songwriters and others who will work together to plan and advocate for Music Row.

Historic Nashville, Inc. – with special thanks to Melissa Wyllie and Robbie Jones – held its annual “Nashville Nine” announcement here last September, adding more voices of support to save the studio while they contributed funds to our first project of documenting the history of Music Row. Historic Nashville is the newest official local partner of the National Trust, and we look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.

I want to thank Metro Nashville Historical Commission executive director Tim Walker for his leadership in raising funds for our historical research and documentation project, especially in his work to gain contributions from the newly formed Metro Historical Commission Foundation and our statewide preservation partner, the Tennessee Preservation Trust.

Our thanks also go to Terry Clements, vice president of government and community relations, and Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation for their financial support of the historical research project.

To Gail Danner and the Danner Foundation – thank you for your financial support of our historical research project.

I’d like to recognize Congressman Jim Cooper who is here with us today. Congressman Cooper is a hero to the music industry – thanks to his work to enact new legislation that now allows musicians to carry their instruments onto planes as carry-on luggage. For any of us who have seen our guitars disappear into the bowels of an airplane, we say “thank you!”

Finally, there are four people I would like to recognize individually:

• Thank you Mayor Dean for joining us today and for your support and encouragement these last few months as we have all worked together to organize and prepare for today and the work that will come in the months ahead.

• Ben Folds for sounding the alarm and making all of us aware of the impending loss of this historically significant building and the importance of planning for Music Row’s future. As he has said, “He was the one with the flashlight” shining it on this special place.

• Trey Bruce for organizing a “Save Studio A” campaign that quickly built a network that included over 13,000 Facebook friends and kept the media focus on the studio throughout the summer and early fall.

• And especially we say thank you to preservation hero Aubrey Preston for his understanding that this building holds much of Nashville’s music history and for stepping in to save it. We are also excited about the newly formed “Preservation Partners” with Mike Curb and Chuck Elcan joining Aubrey to renovate and revitalize this building.

The National Trust’s designation of Music Row as a National Treasure brings our commitment to demonstrate the value of preservation of this place and to plan for its sustainable future. We have assembled a team with expertise in historic preservation, real estate development, heritage tourism, community engagement and public relations to work with our local partners. Many of you have already met and have been working with our National Trust team, but I will quickly introduce them – Carolyn Brackett, who lives here in Nashville, is our project leader and an indispensable part of this effort. In addition, I want to recognize and thank Alicia Leuba, Grant Stevens and Erica Stewart. You will be seeing a lot more of them.

Four years ago I wrote an op-ed for the Nashville Tennessean, in which I said, “It matters how we build our communities and how we preserve them. When we lose the places that matter to us, we lose more than buildings—we lose the sense of community and the sense of civic pride and responsibility that follows. Being thoughtful stewards of these places is hard work. But it’s a job worth doing. We’re not just hanging on to yesterday, we’re building tomorrow.”

Some of my favorite country music songs – like the ones I mentioned earlier – are tinged with sadness. But that will not be Music Row’s fate. We look forward to working with all of you in the coming months to help forge a happy ending for this national treasure, so its studios and musicians can keep moving us with their stories for decades to come.

Thank you.

More to come…

DJB

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