Residents can vote on historic sites

National Trust and American Express offer $1M for new designations in the Bay Area

Vote early and often if you want to preserve your favorite historic place and increase its chances of receiving grant money.

Twenty-five Bay Area historic sites in seven counties — including a domed courthouse in Redwood City, a 1924 San Francisco streetcar and the Angel Island Immigration Station — are all in the running for funds to help beautify, restore and renovate them.

The joint effort between the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express, which is funding the $1 million Partners in Preservation program, was announced Monday.

The $1 million pot of money will be divided between a still-unknown number of sites, depending partially on which receive the most votes before the Oct. 31 deadline (each person may cast one vote a day at www.partnersinpreservation.com or at seven Peet’s Coffee & Tea kiosks).

Still, the final decisions remain in the hands of a 22-member advisory committee slated to make its determinations in November.

The panel, which includes Mayor Gavin Newsom, will take into consideration the number of votes each of the 25 sites receives.

Voting is only part of the process, said David Brown, executive vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

One of the nine San Francisco landmarks that may receive funding is the last remaining 1924 streetcar operated by the Market Street Railway, said Rich Laubscher, president of the Market Street Railway, a nonprofit that works with the San Francisco Municipal Railway.

Streetcar No. 798’s history spans from the Depression in San Francisco to Tuolumne County’s Gold Country, where it was discovered in 1984, having served as a jewelry store and a house, Laubscher said.

The last of 250 of the original cars built 82 years ago needs about $150,000 of work to get it up and running again, Laubscher said.

Still, the streetcar that supporters hope will one day return to the F-line, is just one of dozens of worthy causes.

Dan Mauer of the Recreation and Park Department said he’s hoping for funding to repair water damage to the 1900 Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park.

That band shell work would cost about $700,000. Mauer said.

And then there’s the 1905 Murphy Windmill, which is currently only a stump in Golden Gate Park since its 50-foot blades are in Holland being restored.

The pilot program could be expanded to other cities if this program is successful, said Timothy McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation.

mcarroll@examiner.com

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