Pat Quinn, Governor
Recent Past on Main Street: Mid-Century Modern Commercial Resources
Main Street changed dramatically in the mid-twentieth century as new
buildings were constructed and older storefronts were remodeled to make
them modern looking. In small towns and mid-sized cities across America,
the first architectural expression of Modernism was often the bank, specialty
shop, store, cinema, or pharmacy. Unfortunately, many of these “recent-past”
resources are swiftly disappearing from our built environment, often before
their importance is recognized.
The preservation of smaller-scale, post-World-War II commercial downtown
buildings is complicated by their both their familiarity and their incongruity.
These historic resources from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s
often go unrecognized by preservation efforts because they are just too
“new” for many to recognize their cultural and historic significance.
Furthermore, the sleek lines and smooth facades of post-war construction
often contrasts sharply with the more traditional downtown buildings that
preservationists warmly embrace. To further complicate the issue, new
materials, technologies, and design assemblies of the mid-century often
require new approaches to building repair and conservation. Yet these
buildings reflect important developments in style, design, economics,
and technology that resonated across a newly consumer-oriented America.
Click here to download How to Work with Storefronts of the Mid-Twentieth Century: A Mid-Twentieth Century Storefronts Components Guide, from a presentation by Carol J. Dyson, AIA, entitled What to do when a Storefront is Younger than You Are: How to Work with Storefronts of the Mid-Twentieth Century,prepared for the 2008 National Main Street Meeting in Philadelphia.
Click here to read “Storefronts of Tomorrow: American Storefront Design from 1940 to 1970,” by Mike Jackson, AIA, In Preserving the Recent Past 2, edited by Deborah Slaton and William G. Foulks, 2-57 to 2-78. Washington, D.C.: Historic Preservation Education Foundation, National Park Service, and Association for Preservation Technology International, 2000.
Click here to Read “Banking on the Future: Modernism and the Local Bank,” By Carol J. Dyson and Anthony Rubano. Published in Preserving the Recent Past 2, edited by Deborah Slaton and William G. Foulks, 2-43 to 2-56. Washington, D.C.: Historic Preservation Education Foundation, National Park Service, and Association for Preservation Technology International, 2000.
Click here to read “Structural Glass: Its History, Manufacture, Repair, and Replacement,” by Carol J. Dyson and Floyd M. Mansberger” published in CRM, Cultural Resource Management: Preserving the Recent Past 18:8 (1995): 15-19.
Main Street Design For Mid-Century
|Copyright © 2007 Agency||Contact Us | About | Illinois Privacy Information | Web Accessibility | Fiscal|