2004 Honor Awards

March 3, 2004

Rozier Award

Kathy Borgman

Arrow Rock, Saline County
Kathy Borgman has served the Friends of Arrow Rock for twenty years.  As their Executive Director, she has served as administrator, editor, fundraiser, general contractor, curator of collections, grant application writer, librarian, archivist, and docent.   The Friends of Arrow Rock has expanded under Kathy Borgman’s leadership from a membership of under 200 members to over 700.  The organization has gone from controlling three structures to thirteen.  Each structure has been restored to a high level of historic accuracy and all are used for educational, research, and community activities which she directs.  The Friends of Arrow Rock’s annual budget has grown from $5000 to $100,000 and the endowment fund exceeds $400,000.   Through the grants from the Missouri Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the friends have funded a scholar in residence and archaeological research on historic black and early industrial sites.   Today, the Friends annually host more than 2000 adults and 3000 school children touring the Arrow Rock buildings and special exhibits that depict and interpret life in the Arrow Rock area from the Native American and French Voyageur period of the 1700s to the 20th Century.    Each phase of Kathy Borgman’s work reflects her dedication to education and she has made Arrow Rock an important cultural resource for the region and the state. Missouri Preservation is recognizing Kathy Borgman’s dedication and her life-long contributions to historic preservation by awarding her The Elizabeth and George Rozier Award for 2004.

Overby Award

The Commandant’s Last Ride

Mark L. Evans
Mark Evans, a graduate history student at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO where he hopes to receive his Master of Arts degree in history in May.  He is a former journalist, who has worked at several newspapers in Southeast Missouri.  He won 10 Missouri Press Association “Better Newspaper Contest” awards and two Associated Press awards during his career.     A native of Bonne Terre,  Mark graduated from North County High School and from Central Methodist College.   Mark was co-author of St. Genevieve: A Leisurely Stroll Through History, with Bill and Patti Naeger in 1999.  He presented a research paper at the Ste. Genevieve Conference on French Settlements and Culture in North American and will be presenting at the 47th Annual Missouri Valley History Conference in Omaha, Nebraska on March 5.    Mark Evan’s book, The Commandant’s Last Ride   has become a popular introduction to the St. Genevieve Community for both natives and tourists, serving as a walking tour guide to help visitors “experience the history embodied in this place.”   A vivid picture of St. Genevieve as it was in 1849 emerges from the pages of this book and for his carefully researched and detailed description, Missouri Preservation awards the Osmund Overby Award for 2004 to Mark Evans.

McReynolds Awards

Clarkton Historical Society

Clarkton, Dunlkin County
The Clarkton Historical Society is beginning restoration of the historic Charles and Elizabeth Birthright house in Clarkton. After the Civil War former slaves, Charles and Elizabeth Birthright, moved to the predominantly white community of Clarkton in the Missouri Bootheel.  Through their hard work, Charles as a barber and Elizabeth as a seamstress and caterer,  they were able to begin buying farm land from failed ventures.  In time, they became substantial land owners and business people who shared their prosperity with the community, supporting the local Presbyterian Church and helping found the Clarkton Community School, the first multi-story brick school in the country.  They built this house in 1872.  In the year’s following Elizabeth’s death, the house went through many owners and suffered from neglect and unsympathetic changes.  The linkage between the Birthrights and the house was rediscovered in the 1990’s and was finally purchased by the Clarkton Historical Society in 2003 with assistance from the State’s revolving fund for historic preservation.  This project has overcome many struggles and adversity to reach this point.  Missouri Preservation recognizes the Clarkton Historical Society for its dedication and perseverance to see this project through to ownership and as it  begins the actual historic preservation of this unique historic home.

Joe Edwards

University City, St. Louis County
The commercial business district along Delmar Blvd on the western edge of St. Louis developed because of the streetcar line that ran its length into the adjacent suburb of University City, with its turn-around “Loop” at the western end of the business district near city hall for the adjacent suburb of University City.   By 1964 the streetcars were long gone and the once thriving business district and the surrounding neighborhoods were in decline.  Even so, a young couple, Joe and Linda Edwards, opened their café and bar, Blueberry Hill in 1972, which has grown over the years to become a St. Louis landmark restaurant and music club filled with pop culture memorabilia and rock and roll music.  By 1980, Joe Edwards had co-founded the Loop Special Business District, serving as President and working on numerous committees in the effort to revitalize the struggling business district.  Looking for ways to make the district unique, he established the Blueberry Hill Records to promote artists and founded a non profit St. Louis Walk of Fame with commemorative stars in the sidewalk of the Loop recognizing significant St. Louisans.   In 1994 he purchased the Tivoli Theatre Building, and a year later had completed his first renovation project.  The Tivoli Theatre Building opened with two screens and storefronts the ground floor.  Later the theatre was to house office space on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors including the Riverfront Times and Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion Magazine.  The Loop in University City was becoming an attraction for the entire metropolitan area and was spotlighted for tourists.  Joe Edwards continued to expand Blueberry Hill and to work for revitalization in University City, but a stark visual line still existed between the revitalized University City Loop and the urban blight, decay, and crime to its east along Delmar.

In 2000 changes began with the construction of The Pageant Building in the City of St. Louis.   With this new construction along with subsequent historic projects that Joe Edwards and others undertook, vitality of the Loop began to extend into the City of St. Louis.  In 2001, a meeting was organized by St. Louis Design Group to encourage Loop property owners to utilize the Missouri and Federal historic tax credits as they had successfully done with the A&P Food Store Building.  When none of the neighboring businesses stepped up to undertake renovations, Joe Edwards decided to take several of the most deteriorated buildings himself , since the historic tax credit program could make them viable projects.  With many challenges along the way including the collapse of one building at 6154 Delmar, Joe Edwards renovated 6172-6176 Delmar.  When he started, the buildings were virtually vacant with only one retail tenant and with second floor apartments that had been partially demolished and had severe water damage. In the end, Joe Edwards was presented the Key to the City of St. Louis from Mayor Francis Slay for his achievement and tenacity.  This marked a milestone in expanding the vibrant Loop east into the City of St. Louis, bringing 3 new retail businesses and office tenant for the entire upstairs facility. 

In late 2002 Joe Edwards purchased two additional buildings at 6138-40 Delmar and 6142-46 Delmar, and is nearing completion of these two projects.  Together projected to cost $1.7 million, they are expected to house a Latin restaurant, a Chinese noodle café, an upscale women’s apparel business, ladies’ shoe store, and offices on the second floor.

In March 2003, he started the conversion of the small, one story 1941 streamline-modern Colonial Cleaners building at 6191 Delmar into a unique bowling and martini lounge.    The Pin-Up Bowl, again utilized historic tax credits to make the project feasible.   Working in partnership with Pete Rothschild, Joe Edwards and his design team at Kiku Obata Architects have recently tackled the corner commercial building at 6101 Delmar which will become a Vietnamese Restaurant with offices upstairs.   Other property owners have also begun their own renovations including a tuxedo shop and another Vietnamese restaurant.   Today, there is no longer the distinct visual line along the city/county border of The Loop.  Pedestrian traffic abounds on both sides of that border.  The seven blocks of The Loop has extended past the arbitrary city/county boundary and across Skinker Blvd, due primarily to the efforts of Joe Edwards.  It has become the most exciting, vibrant and interesting restaurant, shopping, arts and entertainment district in metropolitan St. Louis and perhaps the entire Midwest.    Missouri Preservation recognizes Joe Edwards for his creativity, leadership and ability to draw in other developers to  historic preservation in The Loop of University City and City of St. Louis and awards him a 2004 McReynolds Award.

Anita M. Ludwig

Louisiana, Pike County
Anita Ludwig grew up in a Minnesota town where older buildings continued to be used and cared for; but when she moved to Louisiana in the 1960s, she found the people there had little regard for their cultural heritage.  First, she bought and went to work restoring the magnificent Governor Stark mansion on Georgia Street.  Then she encouraged her neighbors to follow suit, and later was instrumental in listing the Georgia Street Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1984, Mayor Junior Clark appointed her Chairman of the Historic Preservation Committee which became the Louisiana Historic Preservation Association two years later.   Mrs. Ludwig has worked to save many of Louisiana’s historic buildings from destruction including the Lewis building, the Tulley building, the Grand Central Hotel, three houses on North Third Street, and the Chicago and Alton Railroad Depot.   She remains committed to the community serving on the LHPA Board, chairing an annual historic house tour, and helping with their nominations to the National Register.  Missouri Preservation recognizes Anita Ludwig for her ongoing selflessness and tireless efforts in historic preservation and awards her with a 2004 McReynolds Award.

Preserve Missouri Awards

Butler Bros. General Stores*

New Melle, St. Charles County
Back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Steve Butler’s great grandfather had done business with a fellow who owned a general store in New Melle.  A hundred years later, Steve was given a wooden crate which carried the inscription, “From Butler Brothers General Store in St. Louis; shipped via Wabash Railroad to Meyer General Store in New Melle.”  Even though the store had been closed for 30 years, Steve decided he had to own it.  Built in 1850, the vacant building had fallen into extreme disrepair.  Steve and his wife Sally, undertook the challenge to bring the general store back to life.  Steve and Sally researched historic restoration and sought out local craftsmen to replicate structural materials.  Today the Butlers envision Old Town New Melle re-merging as a destination attraction.  Steve has identified fifteen more historic structures along Mill Street that date from the same period, including log homes and frame structures.  Steve has joined the New Melle Architectural Review Board to ensure that the future rehabilitations preserve their historic character.  Steve and Sally have now begun the restoration of the Meyer House next door to his General Store.   Missouri Preservation recognizes Steve and Sally Butler’s contribution to rural historic preservation and recognize them with a 2004 Preserve Missouri Award for their rehabilitation of an abandoned general store in New Melle.

Lorna Domke, Prairie Garden Trust

New Bloonfield, Callaway County
Eighteen years ago, Joan and Herb Domke established the Prairie Garden Trust and set aside 180 acres of land they owned south of Fulton in order to recreate and maintain a native Missouri prairie landscape in a manner that allows use by the public. In 1986, Joan and Herb Domke, who are private citizens, established the Prairie Garden Trust in order to protect and maintain what is now 180 acres of prairies, forests, wetlands, and savannas located near New Bloomfield on the northern edge of the Ozark plateau not far from the Missouri River.  The Domkes envisioned this land, which had been farmed for over a century, returned to the native grasses and plants that once covered almost half of the state.  In addition, they wanted to protect the site from future development and to open it as a “Landscape for Learning” for students, birders, and habitat enthusiasts.   All the work at the Garden is done by volunteers.  Over the years, they have plowed, disked, thinned and burned fields.  Planting is on-going and covers a myriad of native Missouri plants including rattlesnake master, gay feather and butterfly weed.  Today the Garden is open to the public, providing a unique outdoor classroom where visitors who wish to learn about Missouri’s native plants and environments can obtain plant lists and take self-guided tours through tall grass prairies, wetlands and a demonstration garden.  Missouri Preservation awards a 2004 Preserve Missouri Award to Mrs. Domke for their efforts in historic landscape preservation.

Thespian Hall — Friends of Historic Boonville

Boonville, Cooper County
Friends of Historic Boonville received ownership of the historic Thespian Hall by donation after it was saved by the Kemper Foundation of Kansas City.   In the late 1990s, it became apparent the theater needed to be renovated for a new generation of use.  In a town of less than 7000 citizens, the Friends succeeded in raising almost 300,000 to make the necessary repairs and to completely restore the building for the first time since its construction.  Thespian Hall opened in 1857 and today has the distinction of being the second oldest theater in continuous use in the United States and is still the oldest in use west of the Alleghenies.  It hosts two regional festivals each year—the Missouri River Festival of the Arts and the Big Muddy Folk Festival.  Missouri Preservation recognizes the Friends of Boonville with a 2004 Preserve Missouri award in the area of community preservation for their achievement in totally refurbishing and renovating the grand old theater.

Homer G. Phillips Dignity House L.P.*

St. Louis City
When Homer G. Phillips Hospital opened in 1938, it not only served the health needs of the St. Louis African American community, but because it was a black hospital serving black patients and teaching black doctors to be medical professionals, it was a source of immense pride and a driving force behind a thriving middle class.  After it closed, the building stood vacant and vandalized for over 20 years.  The neighborhood around it experienced disinvestment and abandonment.    Sharon Thomas Robnett of the WAT Dignity Corporation together with Dominion Development and Acquisition Corporation of Minneapolis, Minnesota had the vision and the resources to recreate the facility to once again serve a vital role in the community as independent living residences for seniors.   Developers recognized this beautiful building with an abundance of space afforded a competitive advantage over new construction.  What followed was a complete rehab.  The original brick, stone and terre cotta exterior materials were cleaned and salvaged in place wherever possible as were interior terrazzo floors, plaster walls, ceilings and cornice work.  Special care was taken in matching any new materials with existing materials.  New wood windows designed to match the original units were installed.  Certain original portions of the interior were preserved, including the main “historic” corridor in the central wing of the building.  The original 313,000 square feet now provide 220 large units of affordable senior housing and 30,000 square feet of common area.  The project is being recognized by Missouri Preservation with a Preserve Missouri award for its adaptive reuse of the Homer G. Phillips Hospital building and once again making it “the Jewel of the Ville” in North St. Louis.

Cliff Drive Scenic Byway

Kansas City, Jackson County
|Kansas City is known for its parkways and stone landscape masonry which is most dramatically combined in Cliff Drive, a four-mile stretch of road that runs along the south bluff of the Missouri River where it cuts through the heart of the city.  Designed in 1893 by the noted landscape architect, George E. Kessler, Cliff Drive has given the city dwellers a wide scenic vista for the river and plains beyond for a century.  In addition, the roadway and the surrounding park area have preserved limestone bluffs and natural vegetation that are unique to this portion of the Missouri River Valley within a heavily urbanized environment immediately adjacent to the city core.  In 1998, a landslide forced the City to close down Cliff Drive.  Through the efforts of the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, Cliff Drive was declared a State Scenic Byway by the Missouri Department of Transportation, thus qualifying it for federal funds for its restoration.  Repairs and restoration continue.  The drive is now open and the public is again able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Missouri River Valley from high upon Cliff Drive.  Missouri Preservation recognizes the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department with a 2004 Preserve Missouri Award in the area of urban design for its leadership in the restoration of Cliff Drive.

Berger Block & Heaton Building*

Neosho, Newton County
In the fall of 2000, Rudy Farber and Larry Neff purchased the Berger Block and Heaton buildings, two of the most historically significant buildings in downtown Neosho.  Built in 1886 and 1895 respectively, they were originally designed to house a hotel and retail establishments.   At the time of purchase, only two office tenants remained on the ground floor and the upper level hotel rooms had not been occupied for half a century.  Owned by the same family for over 75 years, the buildings had little maintenance except for a disfiguring face-lift in 1961.  Forty years later, one rear wall was bowed out away from the rest of the building.  Farber and Neff wanted to bring life back to these two venerable old buildings and also to Neosho’s entire historic downtown square.  The Berger Block and Heaton buildings now house a mix of offices and apartments.  Two other large historic preservation projects have been completed by out of town developers and local owners have just begun restoration of three buildings on town square.  Rudy Farber and Larry Neff have started a downtown restoration trend.   For their Commercial Rehabilitation of the Berger Block and Heaton buildings on West Spring Street, Missouri Preservation recognizes Rudy Farber and Larry Neff /Spring Street Developers a 2004 Preserve Missouri Award.

512-514 North 12th Street

St. Joseph, Buchanan County
Demolition of the historic Close Duplex on North 12th Street and Frederick Avenue in St. Joseph was only hours away when E. Wickliffe (“Wickie”) Utley stepped forward and convinced City officials that she could rebuild what was then a blight on the Cathedral Hill neighborhood.  Then Ms. Utley paid the City of St. Joseph $1.00 for the Close Duplex, it had been abandoned for years.  The outer walls were beginning to sag in on themselves and the roof had collapsed.   It took more than a year to bring the Close Duplex back to life.  Walls were shored up; new rafters and a new roof were installed; interior walls, utilities and fixtures were added,  iron balconies built back and a new porch created for the front.  Landscaping included a new parking area and a retaining wall of stones that were specially cut at the quarry to fit.    Today, what was a “worthless eyesore” is an upscale duplex, and as aresult,the entire area is improving: complete rehabs are planned for the house next door and two houses across the street and rehabilitation is being solicited for a deteriorating commercial building at the corner.  Missouri Preservation is recognizing Ms. Utley with a 2004 Preserve Missouri Award in the area of residential rehabilitation for her restoration of the Close Duplex.

2004 Honor Awards Sponsored by
Commerce bank
Missouri Downtown Association
Rubin, Brown, Gornstein, & CO LLP
Murry’s Restaurant, Columbia