The Successful Preservation of Rock and Roll Music Sites: Paul McCartney's Childhood Home in Liverpool, England and the Chess Records Office and Studio in Chicago, Illinois
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Hahn, Kandalyn L.
Groundbreaking preservation efforts for two highly significant rock and roll music sites are examined: Paul McCartney's childhood home in Liverpool, England, under the protection of the National Trust, and the former Chess Records office and studio in Chicago, Illinois, landmarked under city ordinance. Mid to late twentieth-century popular music sites face multiple threats of demolition, neglect, and inappropriate treatment. The lack of architectural distinction, bias against relatively recent history, and need to establish the relevance of popular culture inhibit successful preservation of rock and roll sites. Yet popular interest in such sites has exploded since the 1990s and visitation is on the rise. Increasing interest in these locations translates into more opportunities for funding and support. At the same time, it intensifies the need for preservation as popularity attracts exploitation schemes that threaten the integrity of the sites. Finally, given the difficulty of finding accurate documentation of these sites, the critical time to work on their preservation is while people who know their history firsthand are still alive. The examination includes a review of the literature, much of it in popular media, and primary research in the form of site visitation; interviews with key people and related experts; collection of original documentation; and some observation of work in progress. Research establishes the historic context, significance, and local preservation climate for each site. The preservation projects' processes and outcomes are documented and critiqued. Findings suggest that there are five major components necessary for successful preservation of rock and roll music sites: preservation protection through institutional purpose or legal status; funding; long-term preservation philosophy; regular observation of work and adherence to a restoration design plan; and research. Noting that these are widely applicable components, three non-critical factors are distinguished which have special significance for this subset of historic sites: the need for significance to counter biases; public value and visitation; and support of name stars.
Michael Tomlan, Associate Professor & Director, Historic Preservation Planning Program; Mary Norman Woods, Associate Professor, History of Architecture
Cornell University Institute of European Studies; Cornell University Department of City and Regional Planning
historic preservation; rock and roll music sites; Paul McCartney; Chess Records; Beatles sites; blues sites; 20 Forthlin Road; 2120 South Michigan; National Trust; Chicago Landmarks Commission; popular music; 20th century landmarks; McCartney home; Blues Heaven Foundation; Liverpool; Chicago; Liverpool preservation; Chicago preservation; Tim Samuelson; Willie Dixon
dissertation or thesis