Emerging in France, Germany and Holland after WWI in commercial and residential buildings alike, Internationalism enjoyed a 50-year run as a dominant style of architecture, ending in the 1970s. Featuring the use of lightweight, mass produced industrial materials and emphasizing volume over mass, Internationalism featured minimal ornamentation and color.
Inspired to create a higher standard of living across all socio-economic levels, it enjoyed enormous popularity. However, it was not without it’s detractors, including Frank Lloyd Wright who said, “Human houses should not be like boxes, blazing in the sun…”.
It should be noted that many modern styles overlap in theme, material and motivation. In fact, Internationalism was championed by founders of both the Bauhaus and Brutalist Schools.
Last year I wrote a newsletter article on the origins of Halloween. It was fun to research and I went away with a new appreciation for the holiday. In the spirit of that research and a lack of better subjects coming to mind, I’ve decided to look into Labor Day, which is coming up soon.
Always on the first Monday of September, Labor Day was signed into law in 1894 by President Grover Cleveland as a holiday designed to celebrate both the contributions and mistreatment of blue-collar workers.
Following The Economic Panic of 1893 and subsequent 4-year depression, the rail car manufacturer Pullman Company faced decreased demands for its cars, forcing it cut their labor force and wages. It did not, however lower the rent or utility rates in the “company towns” where laborers lived. The result was a failed strike by the newly-founded American Railway Union (ARU), who went to war with not only the Pullman Company, but main railroads, other unions and the federal government. Eugene Debs, founder of the ARU, called a massive boycott of all trains pulling a Pullman railway car. It ultimately affected most lines west of Detroit and involving 250,000 workers in 27 states.
The federal government obtained an injunction against the movement, which the strikers ignored. Protestors forcibly disrupted rail commerce, things got heated, and 70 people were killed in riots across the nation before President Cleveland sent in the military to stop it.
The event ended with Debs going to prison and the ARU dissolving, but it began important discussions and putting an end to “company towns”. The Pullman Town was annexed by Chicago (now south Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood. A few days later, Labor Day was set as a federal holiday, which conveniently came a few days later. Essentially it was the Government saying, “Thanks for stopping your riots, take the next Monday off”. After getting out of prison, Debs became an important figure in the American Socialist Party, losing 5 bids for POTUS beginning in 1900.
by John Angell
In the hottest days of Texas summer – especially with the humidity we’ve experienced the last few years – sometimes there’s only so much your air conditioner can do. If you have an older home, older HVAC system or both, it just may not be possible to hit any temperature you want. That said, there are always ways you can help your struggling air conditioner.
Change Your Filter – If I’ve said it once… Changing your filter is the single most important thing you can do to improve the efficiency and extend the life of your HVAC. It’s also the one thing people always seem to forget about. If you’re interested in saving money, consider a reusable, electrostatic filter than can be washed off and re-used.
Have System Serviced Regularly – Imagine being without conditioned air fin the middle of August or a few days. Why risk it? When your system malfunctions, there are rarely warning signs. Make sure you have it checked at least once a year, typically in the spring.
Keep Your Blinds Closed – Especially if your windows aren’t of the highest efficiency, an enormous amount of heat can come in through windows, especially during the hottest time of the day.
Keep Fans On – Keeping air circulating in a room is the equivalent of cooling it by 4 degrees, especially if you’re sitting for long periods of time.
Have Your Ducts Inspected – A great way to waste the efforts of your air conditioner is to air condition the attic. Make sure the air coming from your system is making it to right places.
Improve Your Insulation – For not a ton of money you can dramatically improve your home’s insulation. A layer of R-19 insulation runs $2,200-2,500 for a 2400 sqft house and can massively improve your home’s efficiency.
Emerging from the Modernist Movement of the 1950’s, Brutalism is characterized by massive, monolithic, blocky shapes with a rigid geometric style, predominately made of poured concrete.
Using rough, unfinished surfaces and exposed structural elements, brutalism is certainly an acquired taste, often being called “cold & soulless”. Called a reaction against the nostalgia of 1940’s architecture, brutalist architecture can be seen in both Europe and the Americas.
Interestingly enough, impressions of brutalism has changed over the years. Low-cost brutalist housing originally symbolized socialist principles, and (fittingly enough) began to decline, eventually being associated with totalitarianism and urban decay.
I am absolutely not a travel agent. In fact, I do not wish upon anyone the experience a trip planned by John Angell would provide. That said, I have done my fair share of traveling and know plenty of people who do as well.
(I will not be recommending anything in California, Chicago or New York.)
Glacier National Park – Montana – My pro-Montana agenda has been clear since first visiting in 2020. You will never see the sky as it looks in Glacier National Park (hence the term Big Sky Country), and although it is popular, Glacier is sparsely populated when compared to Yellowstone. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a marvelous drive.
North Lake Tahoe – Like an accretion disc traversing the event horizon of a black hole, North Lake Tahoe lies perilously close to California. That said, Tahoe is simply beautiful. This time of year temperatures range from 43 to 8, with very little rain. With tons of hiking trails and proximity to Reno Airport, it’s a fantastic place to take in scenery.
South Dakota Black Hills – Having taken a trip here several times in my youth (my mom is from South Dakota), I wish I had been old enough to truly appreciate it. Littered with pioneer natural beauty, history and the magnificent Mount Rushmore, it’s a great off-the-beaten path trip. A little warm in July and August, yes, but nothing like the pressure cooker we experience every day.
Michigan – (insert Detroit/Flint joke here.) Michigan, particularly northern Michigan, is beautiful in the summer with weather that’s second-to-none. With tons of things to do around Lake Michigan and quaint little towns surrounded by forests, Michigan is a wonderful place to visit (insert second Detroit/Flint joke here).
Summer is approaching, and with it the “mid-summer” real estate lull that results from kids being out of school and subsequent vacations. 2023 has been similar to the late 2010’s so far, namely solid but not spectacular, we’ll see how the next few months go.
April is normally a high point for new listings, but last month’s new inventory was 11% below April 2022. This is what happens in a recession (and with higher interest rates), and it would appear we’re in the early stages of one. We had one in the technical sense last year with 2 quarters of economic contraction, but chances are this will be more prolonged. Housing affordability remains near an all-time low, but it’s at least leveled the last 11 months or so. Despite a soft April, inventory is more than double what it was this time last year, giving buyers more options. It remains a great time to sell despite there being more competition, as we’re still averaging just 50 days on market.
I went to the Arboretum the other day. Just a reminder it’s a wonderful time to go there before the temperature skyrockets. It’s really impressive what they’re able to do with such a small staff.
Thanks to everyone who made it such a great Client Appreciation Party. It’s a pleasure to hold them, and to thank people for their business, referrals and continued support. I’m my own worst critic when it comes to brisket, but it was obliterated regardless of my personal feelings. Also, congratulations to Benjamin Menke (pictured below, top left) for winning the 1st Annual CAP Disc Golf Putting Competition.