|Lee Adler, former president of the Historic Savannah Foundation, dies at 88|
Lee Adler II stands in front of the old Telfair Acadamey in Savannah, Ga. Adler, who influenced groups' tactics of preserving historic buildings in Savannah and across the nation, died Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. He was 88. AP Photo/The Savannah Morning News, Brian LePeter.
By: Russ Bynum, Associated Press
SAVANNAH (AP).- Lee Adler II was never content with saving Savannah's historic homes and buildings one at a time. In 1959, he found a way to spare entire city blocks and neighborhoods from the wrecking ball that changed the way preservation groups did business not just in Georgia, but across the nation.
Adler died Sunday at age 88, said Matt Weeks of Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors. A cause of death was not immediately available.
As the president of the Historic Savannah Foundation, which Adler led until the mid-1960s, he took an entrepreneurial approach to saving Savannah's architectural treasures by essentially persuading local preservationists to get into the real estate business. The group would buy sagging old properties facing demolition and sell them to buyers who promised to restore them. The tactic worked so well in Savannah that groups across the U.S. began following Adler's lead.
"There's not a preservation group in this country that doesn't owe some debt of gratitude to the work of Lee Adler," said David J. Brown, chief preservation officer at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington.
Adler, usually working in tandem with his wife, Emma, became an evangelist for the methods he'd used in Savannah. He would tout his hometown's success at preservation conferences and conventions and even to individual groups across the nation. He also co-wrote a handbook on the subject in 1974.
"Lee's the kind of person who was a lot more respected outside of Savannah than he was in Savannah, because inside the city a lot of people took preservation for granted," said Mark McDonald, a longtime friend of Adler and the president of the Atlanta-based Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. "He gave people the idea they could do this in their hometown just like they'd done it in Savannah."
The influence was noted in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," John Berendt's best-selling book about a murder in Savannah. Berendt wrote that because of Adler's work in historic preservation, "Lee Adler was probably the best-known Savannahian outside Savannah" by the 1980s.
Born into a wealthy Savannah family that owned a local department store, Adler's passion for protecting the 18th and 19th century homes of Georgia's oldest city was passed on by his mother.
Elinor Grunsfeld Adler was among the seven women who launched the foundation that her son would later lead. The women started the group in 1954 to show their outrage after the downtown City Market, where farmers sold their crops, was razed to make way for a parking garage.
The preservation group saved other homes and buildings, typically turning them into museums, during a time when the suburban flight that followed World War II left Savannah's oldest neighborhoods decaying and abandoned. The fledgling foundation's methods would change dramatically under Lee Adler's leadership years later.
In 1959, he learned a wrecking company had a permit to demolish four century-old townhouses in downtown Savannah with the intention of selling the bricks for a profit. Adler quickly struck a deal to buy the entire row for $54,000 and got the Historic Savannah Foundation's members to agree to share the cost $180 for each of its 300 members. The homes were later sold to new owners.
Daniel Carey, the foundation's current president and a longtime friend of Adler, said the revolving-fund technique Adler popularized is credited with saving more than 350 homes and buildings in Savannah, where the 2.2-square-mile downtown area forms America's largest National Historic Landmark District.
"Historically there were efforts to save one building at a time, call it a success and kind of take a victory lap and be finished," Carey said. "Lee and others said this is really just the beginning, not the end. So they said we can save a block at a time and neighborhood at a time and eventually a city at a time."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
February 3, 2012
Städel Museum in Frankfurt opens exhibition of Claude Lorrain's enchanted landscapes
From shipwreck in Italy: Thousands of art objects including 300-year-old woodblock prints
Ships, sea monsters, seashores, shells, sirens and sea maidens are all to be discovered in vibrant exhibition
Sotheby's to hold a single owner sale of property from The Collection of Giovanni & Gabriella Barilla
Judge rules against Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. in treasure dispute
Works made from motifs in everyday life by Wilhelm Sasnal on view at Haus der Kunst
Bill & Melinda Gates visitor center in Seattle is more than a philanthropy museum
Winfred Rembert: Amazing Grace Images on Leather at the Hudson River Museum
Walker Art Center's Sarah Schultz appointed Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice
Lee Adler, former president of the Historic Savannah Foundation, dies at 88
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says World Trade Center design flaw could cost millions
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts appoints Jennifer Jankauskas as Curator of Art
Inscribed copy of Ernest Hemingway's first book tops Heritage Auctions' February rare books event
High Museum to feature folk artist Bill Traylor
First major solo show by British video-maker Elizabeth Price at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Exhibition featuring works by post-war and contemporary Russian artists at Erarta Galleries Zurich
World-class Contemporary artists donate works to 2012 Tribeca Film Festival
Gold nuggets stolen from $3M courthouse collection
Actor John Travolta to donate jet to Ga. museum
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Investigators analyse ashes taken from the house of one of the suspects as Dutch heist paintings feared burnt
2.- Exhibition of nude photography around 1900 on view at Berlin's Photography Museum
3.- A team of twelve restorers inspect the "Isenheim Altarpiece" at the Unterlinden museum
4.- Russian scientists make rare find of 'blood' in carcass of female woolly mammoth
5.- Taliban criticise Kabul's pink balloon art project by 31-year-old artist from New York
6.- Gagosian Gallery in London presents a group of four tapestries by Gerhard Richter
7.- Archaeologists find Colonial and Pre-hispanic vestiges thought to be 500-1,000 years-old
8.- RM stuns market as Villa Erba sale realises more than $35 million; Ferrari sells for $12,812,800
9.- Indianapolis Museum of Art receives major painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
10.- Newly discovered prisoner journal donated to Auschwitz by widow of US lieutenant Clifford Hensel
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|