The people of New Bedford, Massachusetts, have always been tough. When New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world, seven men would hop into a 25-foot rowboat to chase -- and harpoon up close -- furious 50-foot whales weighing 85 tons. After petroleum replaced whale oil around 1900, New Bedford workers then kept 70 textile mills humming day and night. After textiles moved away, from the 1940s onward New Bedford supplied the world with electric gear. But when those factories began to close in the 1960s, they left behind some awful secrets -- 572 chemically poisoned plots of land within the city's 24 square miles, including land where unsuspecting townspeople built two public schools. In the early 1980s, local people learned that their prized harbor -- all 18,000 acres of it, including its bounty of fish and lobsters -- had been rendered dangerously toxic by factory wastes. Read more.
After 45 years on the radar, the Woman’s Building is finally also on the map. On June 8, the L.A. Conservancy architectural preservation society formally announced that the L.A. City Council had approved the building’s Historic Cultural Monument designation. Besides protecting the building's 1914 Beaux Arts design against the future development going on all around it, this move also resoundingly acknowledges what generations of artists and feminists in L.A. and around the world have known for decades: The Woman's Building is one of the most significant cultural heritage sites of the last 50 years. Read more.