As I mentioned in my previous post about Granbury, Texas, the town has done a superior job in protecting and preserving its past, which has ultimately led to its present day success and securing a promising future. Hey, that sounded pretty good. I should use that again.
For someone who is always lured in by a great looking home, I thought I’d share a handful of the one’s I could get pictures of on my way around town. There is an abundance of historic and beautiful homes so this isn’t the full list by any means. It’s definitely worth another trip back!
Here are some of my favorites…
Do you have an older home in an older neighborhood that you would like to show off? Pass along pictures of great homes you find around town to me and I will post them in The Old Neighborhood.
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After visiting Granbury, Texas for the wedding of a good friend over the weekend, I continue to have a renewed appreciation for the small town that gets preservation right. Granbury is one such town. It embraces its historical roots to the fullest, and even though it is a town of only 7,978 people, it has so many cultural amenities that towns of that size and bigger lack.
Located southwest of Fort Worth, Granbury is the county seat of Hood County. Like so many county seats incorporated at the time, the courthouse sits in the middle of the downtown square, which is lined with shops, restaurants, churches, and many other attractions. The difference between this square, and many others is how well intact and seemingly modernly equipped it is.
The official slogan of the town is, “Where Texas History Lives.” It is not only fitting, but one of the best things to keep Granbury relevant in very tough times for the small town. Not only has it had to keep up with new developments, changing tastes, and emerging trends, this area also had to deal with a pretty difficult natural disaster last week. An F4 tornado tore through the town killing 6 and injuring 100 people [story].
But that is where it’s resiliency shines. A town that has been properly maintained and well-preserved over time endures the struggles that would otherwise cripple a town after such events. Fortunately for my friends, the wedding itself was a couple of days after the tornado, and where it struck was outside of the main part of town. Ironically, it is a twist of fate that it didn’t take its greatest asset away.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still new developments, strip malls and such. However, much of the newer developments and accommodations have been built to take advantage of proximity to the downtown and also the lake that flows through the town. Lake Granbury is a beautiful natural asset that is utilized to the fullest and helps the built environment shine.
Yes, there are many chains, fast-food joints, and the like that is scattered along U.S. Route 377. It does take away from the charm and uniqueness of the small town a little bit, however, there are still many authentic, small businesses here and there intermixed all while making you feel you’re not missing out on the new stores.
Granbury was a great place to spend a weekend and I’d definitely go back. It’s amazing how living only an hour and a half away for 5 years I didn’t even know what I was missing. While it’s great to spend time in a town for a memorable event, it’s even better when the town has something memorable about it.
When you go, here are 25 Things To Do courtesy of TripAdvisor.
I thought of that while riding my bicycle.
- Albert Einstein on the Theory of Relativity
‘Form follows profit’ is the aesthetic principle of our times. Thus, design skill is measured today by the architect’s ability to build the largest possible enclosure for the smallest investment in the quickest time.
- Richard Rogers
I made a long overdue trip to The Old House Society in Bloomington, Illinois this past weekend. May is Preservation Month, and since I am working on a house built in 1900 – I figured that there is no better time to preserve the past quite like the present.
Not that it needs too much explanation, but The Old House Society is an organization that strives to protect historic architectural details and related parts by salvaging them from homes of the past. The storefront location is a warehouse of all their findings.
I had heard about OHS when I moved back to the area, and everyone kept recommending I check it out. I tried finding it about a year ago, but not knowing the area very well I got lost in an old historic district instead. That works too, but I really did want to find it.
This time around I had no troubles find the place. It’s actually right off downtown in an area I have been by before but must have been looking around like the blogging tourist I am. When I pulled up and saw historic treasures seeping out of all openings of the building, I knew I was in the right place.
It’s truly amazing how much this place has. It overflows out onto the sidewalk and off to the side of the building. I walked inside and my head nearly flew off my neck. I was overwhelmed by how much this unsuspecting location has… and then I went even further in and discovered the back room.
As it turns out, I’d be here for a while…
From tiles to tubs, lumber to lights, they’ve got you covered. It’s really part museum and part shopping experience in one, so how can you not like that?
The staff is incredibly friendly and will dig all the way to the bottom of the pile to make sure you get what you came for. Myself, I came to find some trim that hadn’t been matched properly in past attempts. With the knowledge of some dedicated helpers I was able to find just enough to make ends meet.
An old house aficionado or anyone who can appreciate the craftsmanship of older homes, The Old House Society is a place that puts history at your fingertips in order for you to reuse. It’s safe to say that I’ll be back soon. Although Preservation Month is 31 days long it’s something good to practice 365 days a year.
If you go:The Old House Society 214 E. Douglas St. Bloomington, IL 61702 Hours: Wed, Fri & Sat – 8am to 5pm
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Guest Post by: Keith Glascock - Peoria resident, avid cyclist, downtown advocate & urban observer.
Is bigger always better when it comes to the size of a city block? The short answer is no. The long answer is also no. So allow me to elaborate….
Let’s take as an example the block I work on and analyze its usage.
What was historically two separate blocks in years past is now some super-block with sub-par results. The block, as it is today, is a large, mixed-use block that is trapped between two four lane one-way streets. These streets are Adams which borders to the East and Jefferson which borders to the West. As you could imagine, without anything to calm the 8-5′ers, the streets flow like rampant rivers carrying motorists swiftly along in haste.
To me, the block itself feels like an island, and most days I don’t leave this island until I leave work. This super-block if you will, contains one multi-story building with apartments, several office buildings, a handful of banks, three bars that are a staple to the downtown (Richard’s, Sully’s, and the Locker Room), a steakhouse in a basement (Jim’s), law offices, some other smaller restaurants and candy shops, a small satellite college campus, two enormous parking decks and probably a few other things that are unbeknownst to me at this point in time.
My place of employment is at the far south end of this block. Like most, since there isn’t adequate places to live downtown I have to commute. For lunch there is no food service in my building, but that allows me to walk around and explore. It opens your eyes to your surroundings and is one of the best way to get to know an area.
While I work a standard work schedule I wouldn’t mind sticking around if there were things to do. However, since most things close up shop after the daytime workers go home, that leaves you feeling alone and isolated if you stay. It’s downtown, but where are the people?
I’ve been trying to figure out why the block I work on doesn’t function better. Something’s amiss. It’s right in the middle of downtown Peoria, but with the lack of people on a full-time basis, this block might as well be located on the outskirts of town. So what could be done? What could we do to get some more life on the street and get people like myself to use this space better?
Scenario #1 Remove the park – Reintroduce the street
I’m not sure who did it, or why they did it, but the “park” on Fulton Street doesn’t seem to help energize the street life. Returning this greenspace back to a street would essentially divide this block up back into two blocks – you know, the way it was originally designed. This would create extra street parking and better access to the Illinois Central Community College campus, the Riverfront Museum, and Civic Center Plaza across Jefferson Street.
This does not have to come with a loss of seating, removal of sculptures, or displacement of flowerbeds. The existing park benches could inhabit the sidewalks, sculptures could be placed along the way making it more interesting, plant flowers lining the streets, and bicycle racks could also be installed (this would encourage the most fun form of transportation in my opinion).
Scenario #2 Bring the Restaurant fronts to the park
Say the park stays… the space still has much to offer even if the street is not reintroduced. While the bars and restaurants along Main Street have a steady lunch business there isn’t much else unless if there is a big event in town. If new restaurants were to locate on this block in select locations near the park they would have plenty of room for outdoor dining which is currently lacking in any downtown eatery. Think Paris without the café seating – it wouldn’t be Paris.
The greenspace could still be used as public seating, more sculptures and artwork could be added, something hands-on to engage children, and even adding bike racks in better locations could spruce up what is now just deadspace.
If we have explored all of our options and this is the best we can do, then we are settling for something that is under-performing. We can’t just look at one block and say its good enough just because people are forced to pass by it. It affects other blocks, and as a result, it spreads its inefficiencies throughout the entire downtown.
So are bigger blocks really better? If they were stimulating and engaging to all of its users and were active all day, certainly a case could be made. But that’s not the case. In the case of our example block in downtown Peoria, the answer as we see on a daily basis is no.
• Note From The President •
Blogging has opened up a world of people here in Peoria I hadn’t met before. Keith is one of the great people I’ve had a chance to meet along the way. His quiet demeanor doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to say, quite the opposite. When he sent me an idea for a Guest Post I was actually kind of blown away. While he isn’t a planner, architect, or consultant by trade, he said something I had seen before.
In fact, what Keith, an everyday observer of Peoria noticed was something we all feel and that had been brought forth in a plan a decade before. A world-renowned planning firm had given the City of Peoria a well thought out vision of what could be done to improve downtown in the Heart of Peoria Plan. I’ve mentioned it here on my site before, but I thought I’d compare Keith’s great ideas as an ordinary citizen of Peoria to what the pros designed. It goes to show that sometimes the people closest to the situation and that use the space on a daily basis might just be the best community designers of them all!
My hats off to Keith for his shrewd analysis! If you would like to be featured as a Guest Poster or would like to contribute to RAD Peoria, please contact me.
We used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls.
- Bill Bryson
As an experienced traveler, I still have my preconceived notions and trepidations of where I’m heading. I’ve been good places and bad. I’ve stayed in fine accommodations and some I’m still washing off. Sometimes you have to just let the experience take over.
I am standing in a good friend’s wedding in a couple of weeks, and he needed one last send off. The gents decided upon Miami Beach.
Before any imaginations run wild – no.
Initially, I was uncertain, but as record flooding engulfed the central Illinois region - I was ready. I wouldn’t say my original thoughts of the Miami area were positive. It seemed like an overly snow-bird, touristy, possibly crime-ridden area that was near a beach. As the story goes in many places, perception doesn’t always equal reality.
Most 30 year old Americans don’t seek out domestic hostels. Well, maybe because there really hasn’t been one like this before. I can say that I’ve stayed in my fair share of hostel, and this one surpasses them all. The Freehand Miami is the first boutique hostel here stateside. The running joke was that we were staying in a “hotel.” Unless you saw it, you wouldn’t believe it.
The place was amazing. Wrap your bohemian, beach-going, hipster, specialty cocktail-loving, design-oriented mind around it. Yes, you can, you may, select a room with multiple randoms, but that is where the adventure begins. For those who haven’t, give in – let go.
Check-in: The Freehand Miami
You wouldn’t think a room for 8 could possibly accommodate. This wasn’t just a half-assed attempt to make a cheap stay for some travelers. This was the real deal. It’s a collaboration of many partnerships that opened in the late summer of 2012 (preview). It’s newish, but the polish still hasn’t worn off. In fact, unbeknownst to us, this place was the hot-spot that we just casually found.
Casual is an understatement. It has an effortless feel to it, but yet the attention to detail ain’t like no other bunk I’ve been. Arriving into the lobby my seasonal affective disorder was immediately healed. It was like someone saying, “Erik, we know you’ve had a long winter, so here’s this.” It worked.
In no particular order, you can rent a bike for the day, you can take a dip in the pool, lay out, read in one of their many seating areas or even play some ping-pong with an international.
Maybe you just stumbled in off 9 hours of travel and are need of a libation – the Broken Shaker pop-up bar will cure what ails ya. In case you were wondering, I rolled with the Old Fashioned. After a few of those you can wind the night down playing Connect Four in the lobby as curious onlookers pass on to their next destination.
The atmosphere is unreal. Whether you’re with a room full of total strangers or with a group of people you know, you’re completely at home. Book now, book often. If you stay at a chain hotel in Miami – you might as well stay at home.
It’s been a wild and hectic two weeks. I came back from a trip in Chicago to find my house was broken into and had pipe, wire, and tools stolen, I concluded my fundraising project GO URBAN on Wednesday of last week, had a fundraising event to help the neighborhood on Friday, participated in the Great American Clean Up on Saturday, did some price comparison shopping all around town on Sunday, and have spent the past 3 day creating a list of contractors to call and get estimates from on all issues that face the house on Voris.
Needless to say, I haven’t had much time to spit out a witty or deep thought blog post. I wanted to say Thank You! for everyone that has contributed to my project in one way shape or form. In total, it raised $2,500. Not bad for my first go-round. I’ll have more thoughts on it next week. For those who picked a perk, those will be on their way soon.
Finding businesses to do work in all realms of home improvement has been a challenge. Not gonna lie, most of them want to take the cheap (but actually expensive cost wise) and easy way out. They see the house I am working as a piece of shit in a terrible neighborhood. So finding a team of people who “get it” is going to be rather tough. I’d just as well not give me money over to a company(s) who will only perpetuate the cycle of negativity throughout Peoria. I’ll have more on that later.
Lastly, I’m heading to Miami this morning for a final send-off of sorts for my buddy from Dallas who is getting married in May. I definitely need to get away and clear my head so I can get a new perspective on what needs to be done at the house and how/if I can expand this company of mine into something more. With that, I’m off…
Only 6 hours remain on my Indiegogo project GO URBAN.
Check it out here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/go-urban-young-man/x/2435869
Contribute, lather, rinse, share & repeat!
Your contribution will go a long way in bringing this 1900 home in Peoria back to her former glory.
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
My project Go Urban, Young Man crowdfunding campaign comes to end today. It definitely hasn’t been without its challenges and adversity. I’ve been amazed by all the kind words and generous contributions thus far.
While it may be the final day you can still contribute and help me create a better future for a neighborhood by renovating a home that has been neglected for decades.
Thank you for all your support!
This gallery contains 5 photos.
An unfortunate event took place at the GO URBAN house. At some point in the late hours on Sunday night, someone broke into the back door of the house and removed copper pipe, electrical wiring in the basement as well as stealing a couple boxes of my tools. I stopped by the house on my […]
This gallery contains 5 photos.
We’ve all been there… trying to stretch our paychecks to the max to get what we need and maybe with the little extra leftover buying something we want. Hell, I’m still there. We’re given a plethora of choices of where we could spend it: that small, local business that you’ve heard some much about from a friend or […]
SAVE THE DATE!
The annual Keep Peoria Beautiful initiative is
taking place in Peoria on Saturday, April 20, 2013. I have volunteered to help clean up the area around Spring and Monroe streets on Peoria’s Near Northside just down the street from the GO URBAN house.
Although the GO URBAN campaign will be over by then, I would still like to gather a large group of interested people looking to help make a big effort to clean up the streets, parks, and yards in that area. Gloves, trash bags, and yard waste bags will be provided – so we just need the hands to fill them!
For more information head to: Keep Peoria Beautiful
Date: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: 9:00am to Noon
Meetup: Intersection of Spring & Monroe
Pass this invitation along to anyone you know and let’s see if we can win the Most Litter Collected Award!
Have you ever wanted to become a venture capitalist? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think… In 2012, Congress passed a new bill known as the JOBS Act. The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, is a law intended to encourage funding of United States small businesses by easing various securities regulations. As a the creator […]
I’m a big fan of the TED Talks series and wanted to post an oldie but goodie. This Talk was given by James Kunstler back in 2004 and still rings true almost a decade later. The video is entitled How Bad Architecture Wrecked Cities.
I imagine that was just the generic title for the video, but what has wrecked cities is certainly more than just architecture. There are a lot of things of what he points out and how he has captured it really seems so obvious as to why our cities are failing to meet our needs.
Hopefully you’ll see things a little differently and enjoy it as much as I did. Once your done I’ve got one more video and favor to ask… Please check out my Go Urban, Young Man project on Indiegogo.com. Contribute, share, and help me take one small step towards repairing a broken piece of Peoria!