This old house


This is a wonderful article about Frank Vagnone, a historical house expert and director of New York’s Historic House Trust.

Naturally, I agree with him. Maybe 30 years ago, a co-worker asked me for help with a grant he was writing for the Ebenezer Maxwell house, a historic house in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. (For those of us old enough to remember, it was also called “the Addams house,” because cartoonist Charles Addams lived in Germantown while he was an architecture student at Penn, and the house so closely resembles the famous Addams family cartoons.)

Anyway, they were having a problem with kids vandalizing the house and he was supposed to address it in the grant. I said the same thing as Frank Vagnone: They needed programs that recruited local kids and made them protective of the place. (Like, duh.) If you don’t make history come alive in the present era, you might as well give up.