Tag Archive: historic

Reenactor Brian Woole

Spent an afternoon volunteering with Brian Woole, who spends his free time doing various creative community activities like playing music in a public park group, to reenacting as a newspaper journalist during the Civil War. He agreed to collaborate on a video, so we met downtown in Harpers Ferry.


1.  Downtown at Point  (video 1)

2.  Downtown on Street  (video 2)

3.  Street Highlights   (video 3)



Savannah, Georgia

Why I Loved Living In the Urban Utopia of Savannah



Savannah has the historic integrity of an ivy-league campus, yet for the poor as well as rich. Yes, it is very much the old pirate ‘Port Royal’ still, but in some ways it also surpasses the nobility of elite university campuses. Even the SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) campus is spread throughout the city, and SCAD classes are held in renovated industrial buildings, often with Richardsonian strength; so that liberal education is fully-integrated with the city. As far as competing with modern industrial metropolitan cities, Savannah has plenty of modern and post-modern architecture, and SCAD teaches cutting-edge technology; but it has no desire to be as massively impersonal as New York, or any other major city.

Savannah urban design is overwhelmingly utopian, despite there being dystopian flavors as well. The main streets force cars to either park or drive around the eleven park squares (circuses), while pedestrians can go straight through on sidewalks and bike lanes. It is easy to find any place in the formal city because there are no diagonal streets, one tall building in the middle (DeSoto Hotel), and a few tall buildings downtown parallel with the Savannah River. The downtown main-streets (River Street) on Saint Patrick’s Day are celebrated on par with Mardi-Gras. There are so many unique aspects to Savannah, from its very origins. The basic ‘Roman encampment’ grid urban layout is flavored by multiple circuses with vegetation. Live-oaks, palms, and crepe-myrtle trees are naturally hung with Spanish moss. In sandy soil hedges, herbs, flowers, and grasses are also publicly grown for the enjoyment of all.

I will find out more about the city founders, besides Oglethorpe; specifically the Native American chief of the local Creek Indians, because he seems to deserve the same level of respect as the English founder, Oglethorpe. The British and Indians were friends, and one of the largest monuments in a prominent park is dedicated to the Indian Chief’s grave. Southern hospitality is less surface courtesy in Savannah, and more a part of its essence; in regards to integration of whites and blacks, international representation, multi-culturalism, and willingness to welcome even enemies (like General Sherman during the Civil War).

There are several ways to consider the social types that comprise the ‘daily population’ of Savannah. There are five basic social types; the rich residents (white blue-blood aristocracy and new-money millionaires), the poor working-class (merchant and service residents and workers), the street beggars (homeless, hustlers, artists), SCAD students (artists, professors, staff), and tourists (pedestrian, trolley, horse-buggy).


According to Dr. Hsu-Jen Huang (SCAD Architecture Professor), Savannah has been growing, even during the recession. In ten years, the city population and SCAD enrollment have doubled. Some buildings still fall between the cracks, but for every loss two more renovations or new constructs emerge. After the 1994 book Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Savannah has continued to blossom as one of the best cities in the World. Many of its qualities were always inherent in the original urban design, and it continues to grow because of accepted differences.


From the American Revolution, to the Civil War, and beyond; Savannah embraces its strange stories. It has an other-worldly, old world, old town feel. Ghost tours are quite at home with the lamp-lights, cobblestone streets, brick walkways, and French ironwork balconies. It is in fact a small city; one which favors pedestrian traffic more than automobiles. The whole downtown is walkable, and locals often easily commute with bicycles as well (as I did for 3 years).


There are so many fun things to do there, it might be hard to know were to begin; if Savannah were not an immediately immersible, hospitable environment. The whole city is a memory garden, which literally blooms because of all the flowers. There are less flowers and leaves in the Winter, but Fall, Winter, and Spring are best weather-wise; as there is rarely snow, and Summers are often walls of heat and humidity (which it is known for even during Fall and Spring).


Architecturally Savannah is truly unique, with historic world and southern romantic blends. Town-houses often have the side-porch design, as with nearby Charleston, SC. The cast-iron railings and french dormers have that New Orleans feel. Parks and trees really do make a huge difference for traffic. Even while continuing to grow, Savannah is still one of the most colorful and pedestrian friendly cities in America. I can say after living there, the magic is real; including the variety of character personalities that the famous book alludes to.

Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil describes much of the architectural and social feel of the town. ‘Midnight’ the book has much more analysis of detail, while the film has literally has more visual images. I lived in three parts of town, and often passed by famous landmarks on daily commutes to classes. The main character’s house (Mercer Mansion) is on Bull Street along a square, towards the largest city park, Forsyth Park. Forsyth Park was my favorite park that I loved living on, because of the large open grass lawns, largest and most beautiful fountain, organic paths, and shady flora. There I was free to publicly practice Tai-Chi, hippy folk music, or jogging without much bother.

Most of this essay describes the utopian aspects of Savannah, but this paragraph should put some of the dystopian perspectives in context. The poor and the dead, out-number the rich and the living. Southern swamp-lands naturally have a salty entropic power that corrodes metals, moisture that promotes the decay of organic matter, and massive humidity that stifles productive activity, while encouraging cockroaches and gnats. The humane social ‘decadence’ of the town, allows for an ease of poverty. Kindness tolerates and sometimes falls prey to hustlers. Vandalism and theft are common crimes in Savannah, with the occasional mugging (typical of cities in general). Although crimes are committed by lower classes, the majority (which are poor) are respectful, lawful, and often generous. So you see despite the ‘scariness’, actual dangers are minimal for a city.


Savannah’s name appropriately indicates the climate heat, and the flat field look of the surrounding wetland marsh grasses. Old pirate maps referred to the lands inland along the River as ‘Savannah Land’. Google Street view is very impressive, with realism. It really helps get the feel for the freedom of moving through the town by photographic vista. In the 1990’s we were taking panoramic photos for architecture projects so it really feels appropriate. Day trips easily include the famous Bonaventure Cemetery, Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and Tybee Island Beach.

 * Additional Auto-Biography

I lived first at the SCAD Motel Dorms on the West Side. This is where they parked the British red double-deck buses, where to old railroad tracks came into town for the industrial roundhouse complex. The Visitor Center, Eichberg Hall, and the SCAD Art Museum were all renovated from the ruins of those railroad buildings.

My second SCAD residence was a beautiful apartment on Park Avenue, diagonally across from Forsyth Park. Every week I practiced martial arts, jogged, and played music in a hippy drum circle there. I also passed through it every day to get to classes.

My third SCAD residence was on Duffy Street, in a small 2-story brick carriage house apartment. The walled gate opened from the street to a small alley courtyard. It actually had a garage, but I had no car, so I used it for my bike.

I paid about $15 a week for groceries from Kroger (a few blocks away), or the Health Food Store (one block away). I was mostly vegetarian during this time, so that helped keep my costs down. My room had a strange glass door that opened into a brick oubliette, which functioned as a skylight.

Everyday on the streets I was asked for money by bums of all types, but I was only mugged once during my three years at SCAD.













Kip Stowell Resume (1981 long version)

RESUME  (written by Kip in 1981)

Walton “Kip” Danforth Stowell Sr., AIA

769 Washington Street

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


Templeton High School, Worcester County, Massachusetts

Graduated June 1954

University of Pennsylvania, School of Fine Arts

Philadelphia, PA Graduated June 1960

Bachelor of Architecture

Continuing Education

Attingham Park National Trust for Historic Preservation Summer School

Shropshire, England

Study and Travel / Historic Houses of England

Summer of 1962

Construction Specifications Institute

Engineers Club, Philadelphia, PA

Specification Writers School



Historic American Building Survey

United States Department of the Interior / Library of Congress

Summer student assistant architect


Cornelius W. Bucklet, AIA, architect, Worchester, MASS

Architectural Draftsman


C. Wesley Dingman, AIA, architect, Princeton, MASS

Architectural Draftsman and Designer


Philadelphia Planning and Service Center

National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior

Historical Architectural Draftsman and Interior Designer


Interpretive Design Center, Harpers Ferry, WV

National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior

Architect, National Park Planner, and Exhibit Designer


Foreign Travel

Canada, Mexico, Republic of Haiti

England, The Netherlands, France

Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan

Registered Architect

Licensed to practice architecture in 6 states and the District of Columbia

Virginia 3408

Pennsylvania EX5613

Maryland 2445

West Virginia 1025

Massachusetts 3195

New Hampshire 874

District of Columbia 2181

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, Washington DC

Certificate Number 11472

File Number 14806

Professional Organizations

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Corporate Member

National AIA Committee Member / Architecture for Arts and Recreation

West Virginia Society of Architects (WVSA) Board Member

American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Potomac Chapter

Board of Directors:  1972, 1973, 1974, 1975

Treasurer:  1976, 1977

Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Member

Association for Preservation Technology (APT) Member

National Trust for Historic Preservation  (NTHP) Member

Civic Activities

Harpers Ferry Town Council 1975-1977 / 1977-1979

Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library

Board of Trustees 1975-1981

Harpers Ferry Merchants Association Member  1970-1979

Vice President 1976

Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Stowell Galleries 1974-1976

Harpers Ferry Historic Landmarks Commission 1980-1981


International Institute of Interior Design

2228 R Street, Washington DC

Faculty (part-time) 1972-1975

Board of Trustees  1974-1980s

Chairman, Board of Trustees 1976-1979

Northern Virginia Community College

Stirling Park, Virginia

Curriculum Advisory Board Member for Interior Design Department 1976-1980

Shepherd College

Shepherdstown, WV

Adult Education Instructor / Architectural History Fall 1980

Adjunct Professor of Architectural History 2004-2005

Private Interests

Stowell Galleries / Contemporary Art

769 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV

Co-Owner with Evalina Manucy Stowell (Nena)

Stowell Architects, AIA, Architect and Interior Designer

769 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV

Proprietor with Partners

Designed and Built Projects / A Selected List of Private Clients

1.  Stuart House, Gardens and S. Facade, South Main Street, Baldwinville, MA 1960

2.  Baldwin House, Restoration,  South Main Street, Baldwinville, MA 1963

3.  CJ Moore House, Exterior & Interior Renovations, 401 Pine St. Philadelphia, PA 1966

4.  Ataviano House, Restoration & Renovation, 4th St. Philadelphia, PA 1967

5.  McClure House, Restoration & Renovation, Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA, 1967

6.  Grossman House, Exterior Restoration, Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA, 1967

7.  Henderson House, All New, Front St. Philadelphia, PA, 1968

8.  Scarpulla House, Restoration & Renovation, Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA, 1968

9.  Just Now Boutique, Jane Druryea, Interiors, Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA, 1969

10. Perelman Antique Toy Museum, Restoration, 2nd St. Facade & Doorway, Philadelphia, PA, 1969

(for John Lloyd, AIA)

11. Hirsch House, restoration of 2nd St. Doorway, Philadelphia PA (for Carl Massara, AIA) 1969

12. Curtis-Waterston House (Tannery), Renovation & Reconstruction, Main St. Burkittsville, MD 1974

13. Silvers House, Restoration & Renovation, N. 29th St. Richmond, VA 1974

14. Dunn House, Addition, Charles Town, WV 1975

15. Locust Grove Nursing Home, Addition, Bolivar WV 1975

16. St. James Catholic Church, addition and interiors, St. George Str. Charles Town, WV

17. Lavine & Jackson Law Offices, interiors, K St. NW Washington DC 1976

18. Fiori-Jackson Law Offices, interiors, Cathedral Place, Conn. Ave. NW Washington DC 1976

19. Harlow House, addition / renovation, Bakerton, WV 1977

20. Hopkins House, addition, Percelville, VA 1977

21. Hadley House, addition / restoration / interiors, Summit Point, WV 1978

22. Jackson House, restoration / interiors / landscape, Charles Town, WV 1978

23. Musick House, restoration / interiors, Union St. Bolivar WV 1979

24. Bolivar Community Center, assembly hall, Panama St. Bolivar, WV 1979

25. Fox Guest House / Studio, renovation / addition, Blue Ridge Acres, Harpers Ferry, WV 1979

26. Cassidy House, new house, Ridge Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 1980

Designed but Un-executed Projects / select private clients

1. Shank-Matthews Gazebo, garden house, Boonsboro, MD 1976

2. St. John’s Episcopal Church, addition / new church-school, Washington St. Harpers Ferry, WV 1977

3. Dresden Town House, restoration / renovation / interiors, Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 1968

4. Durso House, new house, Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA 1968

5. Pritchard House, new house on stone barn foundation / passive solar, Jefferson County, WV 1979

New Projects in Design Stage / select private clients

1. Beallair Manor, restoration / renovation / interiors, former estate of Col. Lewis Washington

The Kennards of McLean, VA

2. Res. Reformed Church & Town Hall, restoration / renovation, Burkittsville Heritage Society, MD

3. Jackson House, additions, Charles Town, WV

4. Waterston Boathouse Pavilion, new structure, Burkittsville, MD


1.  Petersham Historic District Plan, Petersham, MA (Haines 1963)

2.  Historic Structures Report, Customs / Scale, Salem, MA NPS 1959

3.  Historic Structures Report, Adams Mansion addition, Quincy, MA NPS 1968

4.  Architectural Advisor, Burkittsville, MD Historic District

5.  Architectural Advisor, Charles Town, WV “Pride In Action”

6.  Architectural Advisor, Harpers Ferry, WV Historic District

Exhibit Designs & Museum Interiors / select NPS projects

1.  Norris Basin Museum, Yellowstone, 1969

2.  San Cristobal Museum, San Juan, PR 1970

3.  Parachute Key & Royal Palm, Visitor Centers, Everglades 1971

4.  Portable Exhibits Chalmette Battlefield, LA & C&O Canal MD (airports, malls, schools) 1973

5.  Nelson House, basement lounge, Yorktown, VA 1974

6.  Second Bank Portrait Gallery, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA 1975

7.  Guilford Courthouse, Greensboro, NC 1976

8.  Fort Point, Golden Gate, San Francisco, CA 1977

9.  Fort Larned KA, (project manager) 1978

10. Assateague & Chincoteague Tom’s Cove Visitor Center, exterior & interior renovation 1979

11. Cowpens Battlefield, Visitor Center, Chesnee, SC 1980

12. Olympic Pioneer Visitor Center, Port Angeles, WA 1980


Award of Excellence, Federal Design Council for Interiors & Exhibits for Second Bank Gallery 1975

Artwork Exhibited

“Animal” wood sculpture, Worcester MA Regional Show 1962

“Elm Memorial” wood sculpture, Jefferson County Arts Council, Woodbury Mansion Show, 1977

Leetown, WV

Work Published

1.  Design for a modular building toy, Industrial Design Magazine, Spring 1955

2.  HABS drawing of Bryan House, Gettysburg, PA Journal of AH Fall 1957

3.  Articles in Two Centuries of Philadelphia Architecture, Museum of Art, 1964

4.  Photo of Moore House kitchen, Designing Interior Environments, Harcourt-Brace 1972

5.  Notes on concrete block house construction, Assoc. Preservation Tech Journal, Spring 1974

6.  Second Bank Portrait Gallery, exhibits, Interior Design Magazine, June 1976

Experience and Training Background

A. Architect (August 1969 – )

Office:  Harpers Ferry Center, Division of Exhibits, NPS

Immediate Supervisor:  Robert G. Johnson

  1. Provide architectural recommendations related to exhibit design
  2. Plan interior spaces and provide furnishing plans
  3. Prepare plans for adaptive uses (museums) of historic buildings
  4. Prepare electrical plans and work with a/e contractors
  5. Work with and function as occasional Staff Curator
  6. Prepare construction drawings for exhibit structures and interiors
  7. Produce design concepts for Staff Curator, Regions, or parks

B. Architect, 11/63 to 8/69

Office: Philadelphia Planning and Service Center, NPS US Department of Interior

Immediate Supervisor:  Lawrence B. Coryell and Donald Benson

  1. Prepare research notes and reconstruction drawings for historic structures
  2. Provide working drawings for construction jobs
  3. Work closely with engineers, landscape architects, and architects
  4. Design and write specifications for visitor center interiors

C.  Draftsman-Designer, 1/63 to 11/63Office:  CW Dingman AIA, Architect, Princeton, MA

Immediate Supervisor:  C. Wesley Dingman, AIA

1. Design Schools and Houses (Kiebler House, Princeton, MA)

2. Inspect construction of schools  (Paxton School, MA)

D.  Draftsman-Designer, 5/61 to 1/63

Office:   CW Buckley AIA, Architects, Worcester, MA

Immediate Supervisor:  CW Buckley

1. working drawings for schools, public buildings, clubs, (Lithuanian Club, Worcester, MA) 1961

Special Assignments with NPS

While working for Philadelphia Planning & Service Center (design & construction; Donald Benson, Chief of Design Office) was assigned to Division of Historic Architecture (Branch of Restorations; Lee Nelson Supervisor) for purpose of making evidence drawings and working drawings during restoration of Independence Hall. (Supreme Court Room and Second Floor Hall) * Invaluable experience in architectural preservation and Street Lighting.

While working for Division of Museums was assigned to represent Office of Planning and Design (Washington DC; Donald Benson, Chief of Architectural Design) to review architectural needs on several Virgin Island projects. * excellent opportunity to work on park planning

Assigned to design and install “Environment” exhibit with NPS Office of Environmental Interpretation (DC; Chief Hugh Muller) for the Second World Conference on National Parks, held at Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming 1972.  * involved with environmental education

Member of interpretive planning team for Naval Live Oaks and Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore (with Denver Service Center). Architect for schematic plans and architectural directive for a/e contractor. Member of interpretive prospectus team for Gateway National Recreation area NYC June 2, 1977. Designed special bi-lingual exhibit “Discover Gateway” which was installed in the Gateway Welcome Center (formerly Navy Exchange Building for Floyd Bennett Field). Planned adaptive use spaces (arts & crafts social room and exhibits).

Military Service

Reserve Duty, 6 yrs non-combat

  1. Massachusetts Army National Guard; Transportation Unit; Gardner MA

6 months training at Fort Dix, NJ 1960;  3 months on the job training as cook; training as APC Driver (Armored Personnel Carrier) and truck driver (2.5 ton).

  1. Pennsylvania Air National Guard (transferred from MASS ANG 1963)Willow Grove Naval Air Station, PA; served as draftsman & designer with Base Engineer. Airman of the Month Award, June 1966 Flight Sergeant – Tactical Air Command, Honorable Discharge 1966.


Horticulture and Landscape Gardening; collect photos of plants, yard furniture, folly structures; have designed several gazebos and ornamental garden-scapes. Clients include G. Stuart (Baldwinville MA), J. Shank, and J. Matthews (Boonesboro MD), E. Lancaster (Berkeley Springs WV), Stowell Galleries (Harpers Ferry WV). Attended the International Conference on Preservation and Restoration of Historical Gardens and Landscapes, sponsored by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the American Horticultural Society (1975).