One of the first exercises that the students will do is to complete a GIS database of all the religious communities practicing today and sort through the architectural spaces in which they worship. Then, we will move backwards in time, consulting Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, archival documents, photos, and genealogies from the Lancaster County Historical Society, the Franklin and Marshall Archive, and the Historic Preservation Trust. …
The complete list of places of worship in Lancaster adds up to 170. For the first assignment, each student will be assigned 10 of the listings and must conduct an architectural inspection.
It’s a wonderful project, the brain child of preservationist Ben Leech. I met Ben for lunch last week and got to know him a little. The Lancaster Building Conservancy and Ben’s other blog, Old Weird Lancaster, constitute for me a new kind of historical activism or grass roots architectural history. Blogging and the web have provided a platform for exciting and innovative projects. …On this blog, I’ve occassionally been critical of photographic projects (like Flickr communities) because they lack documentational discipline. Ben’s LBC is quite the opposite. The weekly drawing provides the foundation for a well-researched and articulate analysis. I hope Ben’s images have a post-blog afterlife. I hope they turn into an exhibition or a book.
Writing of an F&M professor reminds me that I’m curious to learn what Trexler Proffitt is up to with the local stock exchange idea he has been researching.