This year’s Preservation Honor Awards ceremony took place at 11: 00 a.m. Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City. Despite the snowy March weather, we had a great ceremony. Thirteen recipients were recognized for their achievements in historic preservation in Missouri. This year’s honorees were:
Rozier Award — Dr. Thomas B. Hall, III
McReynolds Award — Penny Pitman, Iron Star Inc.
McReynolds Award — Missouri State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
McReynolds Award — Guy Slay, Mangrove Redevelopment
Osmund Overby Award — Echoes of School Bells: The History of Jasper County Missouri Rural Schools
PreserveMO Awards — Freedom Place
PreserveMO Awards — Jacob Price House
PreserveMO Awards — Bancroft School Apartments
PreserveMO Awards — Francois Bernier House
PreserveMO Awards — Ironton Lodge Hall
PreserveMO Awards — Cosby Hotel
PreserveMO Awards — Shakespeare Chateau
PreserveMO Awards — Vasterling Building
Dr. Thomas B. Hall, III
Arrow Rock, Saline County
Since childhood, Tom Hall has been immersed in the history and preservation of Arrow Rock. He was elected a trustee of the Friends of Arrow Rock in 1984, and became President of that board twenty years later. He is adept at communicating the vision of the organization and the critical role historic preservation has played in saving this unique community. Since 2009 Tom has spearheaded fundraising efforts that raised over $1.1 million, making possible the documentation and restoration of thirteen historic structures in the community. He also secured a challenge grant from the Jeffries Foundation that will rehabilitate four more historic Arrow Rock buildings. Not only is Tom an advocate for the Friends of Arrow Rock, he and his wife own two historic properties in the community that they proudly maintain and share with friends and guests. His tireless passion for history (in general) and this community (in particular) is the force driving his vision to develop Arrow Rock into a premier destination for historic tourism.
Iron Star, Inc
Penny Pittman has left an indelible mark on downtown St. Charles. Since 1975 she has acted as owner and developer, rehabilitating over a dozen buildings, spaces that are now occupied by downtown residents, professional offices, and local retail businesses. Her work has restored the historic character to heavily altered commercial facades and interiors on Main Street in the St. Charles Historic Districts. Penny has also been a tireless advocate for preservation in her community, serving as a board member for numerous local preservation and design commissions and associations, as well as on the board of Missouri Preservation. Without Penny’s efforts downtown St. Charles might not have become the historic gem that it is today.
Missouri State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution
Boonville, Cooper County
The MSSDAR has taken to heart the goal of historic preservation. For over a century, the organization has made significant contributions in this area. The MSSDAR is the owner and steward of two historic properties – Roslyn Heights, a Queen Anne mansion in Boonville, and the Cold Water Cemetery in Florissant, one of the oldest extant sites of internment for settlers west of the Mississippi River. The organization has also been active in marking historic sites, landmarks, trails, and institutions important to Missouri history. These locations include burial sites of Revolutionary War veterans; important stops or posts along the Boone’s Lick Trail; and the Madonna of the Trail monument in Lexington. Their long-standing and on-going record of projects has helped to preserve the rich, early history of Missouri.
Guy Slay – Mangrove Redevelopment
City of St. Louis
Developer Guy Slay began the transformation of the blighted Grove neighborhood into a popular revitalized commercial and residential area by “restoring community… one historic building at a time.” His broad vision included funding historic district nominations for residential and commercial sections of the neighborhood that secured access to historic tax credits not only for his projects but for other commercial developers and residential property owners as well. This approach has enhanced Guy’s $2.7 million investment with an additional $4.5 million of redevelopment activity. To date, his eleven rehab projects have spawned another nine, revitalizing the entire Grove commercial district. Having experienced the benefits of historic preservation, Guy has become an advocate for this development approach. He recently funded a video about the “Benefits of the [Missouri] Historic Tax Credit Program” that was produced by the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. Other St. Louis neighborhoods now turn to Guy for advice on how to save historic buildings in their communities.
Osmund Overby Award
Echoes of School Bells: The History of Jasper County Missouri Rural Schools
Helen Hunter Carthage, Jasper County
As a child, Helen Hunter attended the one-room Cave Spring School in Jasper County, a building she worked as an adult to preserve. When the Jasper County Records Center expressed an interest in writing a book about the county’s rural schools, Helen seized the opportunity. Her comprehensive volume School Bells chronicles the development of public schools in conjunction with the settlement of the county. She describes the historical context as well as the school buildings. Oral histories and class photographs for each county school comprise the bulk of the book, creating an emotional connection to an earlier time period. This chronicle paints a detailed portrait of life in Jasper County from the 1830s through the 1950s and illustrates the central role of the school to rural life.
Preserve Missouri Award
City of St. Louis
The historic 1928 apartment building had been vacant for six years before the Vecino Group embarked on a multi-million dollar rehabilitation project that created 68 affordable housing units for formerly homeless veterans. Storefronts on the first floor, once boarded over, now house offices and service areas for residents. An integral historic parking garage continues to serve its original use. Bright comfortable apartments fill the upper floors. Historically accurate replacement windows fill the gaping window openings that had left the building open to the elements while it was vacant. Beyond the direct benefits to the building’s residents, the project has helped to stabilize surrounding property values. The empty shell is once again full of life and most importantly is an asset to the community.
Jacob Price House, 1413 Lafayette
The restoration of 1413 Lafayette Street was a labor of love for owner Jeff Simpson. Built in 1852 and last occupied in the 1960s, the modest house was in extreme disrepair when Jeff acquired it in 2010. At a Missouri Preservation workshop Jeff received guidance and encouragement to apply for historic tax credits and to complete the rehabilitation in a preservation-minded way. While decades of roof leaks and broken windows had left the plaster and other interior features crumbling, the house had good bones. Jeff restored as much of the original fabric as possible, including original windows, and replicated missing elements, such as the rear porch. Jeff also incorporated features to make the house sustainable for the 21st century. Insulation was added to the attic, and a solar array on the back roof supplies half of the home’s electricity. Sensitive restoration work combined with modern updates preserved the house at 1413 Lafayette Street while preparing it for its next century and a half.
Bancroft School Apartments
Kansas City, Jackson County
A diverse group of developers undertook a painstaking $14.3 million rehabilitation of the long-vacant Bancroft Elementary School in Kansas City’s east side Manheim Park neighborhood. The project did an excellent job of incorporating key historic features into the new living units – chalkboard frames, glass-fronted cabinets, and other trim, while the auditorium and gymnasium were retained in their full volume adapted for a variety of community uses. Strong sustainability goals also guided the project, enabling it to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Architect Bob Berkibile equated the Bancroft School project with “urban acupuncture,” whereby a well-placed project leverages exceptional impact and spurs additional community improvements. That vision has come to fruition, as Bancroft School has become the hub of a larger project that includes new multi-family and single- family housing and the creation of public green space designed to rejuvenate the inner city neighborhood while preserving its historic character.
Francois Bernier House
Ste. Genevieve, Sainte Genevieve County
The 1787 Francois Bernier House is a two-story vertical log house, one of only two examples of this exceedingly rare construction method known to exist in Ste. Genevieve. The house sat vacant after a fire in 2010 until Ed and Lauren Moore purchased it in 2013. They began a painstaking rehabilitation, doing most of the work themselves. They removed non-historic finishes, installed all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and repaired the original 6/6 windows and the standing seam metal roof. They were their own toughest critics, making sure that the rare French Colonial structural system was not altered during the rehab. Throughout the project the Moores demonstrated unwavering respect for this unique historic house solidifying their role as its stewards for this generation.
Ironton Lodge Hall
Ironton, Iron County
In the late 19th century, every small town had at least one lodge hall, typically housed on the upper floors of a Main Street building. The fraternal meeting halls are distinctive spaces that can be difficult to adapt without losing the historic feeling of the large open room. Yet, Brian and Emily Parker were able to meet this challenge when they repurposed the 1873 IOOF lodge hall in Ironton. They designated the first two floors for piano instruction and performance, which preserved the volume and key architectural features of the 2nd floor lodge hall. The 3rd floor became a loft apartment for the Parker family. The rehabilitation included repairing the wood windows, repointing masonry, rebuilding the wood cornice and structurally reinforcing the neglected roof and historic staircase. In this small town, their project has brought life back to a key building that had been endangered by neglect.
Kansas City, Jackson County
The 1881 Cosby Hotel is one of the few 19th century commercial buildings left in downtown Kansas City. It was days away from demolition when developers Jason Swords and Lon Booher stepped up with a plan to rehabilitate the building. The first floor commercial space had been unoccupied for several years; the upper floor hotel for almost a half-century. Their first step was to stabilize the structure. This included replacing the roof, repointing masonry, installing windows, and jacking the sagging 2nd and 3rd floors. Incredible historic fabric found during the rehabilitation was restored to give the first floor businesses – a deli and a bakery – not only unique, but dazzling spaces. The upper two floors were transformed into small office suites with shared amenities. The project was challenging in every way imaginable and would not have been possible without incredible support from city and civic leaders. The Cosby Hotel is an incredible gem in the restored fabric of downtown Kansas City.
St. Joseph, Buchanan County
The historic 1885 Ogden Mansion is an opulent work of Victorian architecture and a gem of St. Joseph’s gilded age. Owner Isobel McGowan embarked on an epic rehabilitation when she purchased the property in May 2012. Over the past three years she has transformed the former single-family house into a remarkable destination. Her quest has involved updating building systems, repairing plaster, and installing period-appropriate wallpaper; recreating the back porch to reflect the original design; painstakingly stripping paint from woodwork; refinishing floors; adding a catering-quality kitchen; and sensitively remodeling the upper floors. It is always a challenge to find a use that is appropriate to both the scale and economics of a property this large and grand, but Isobel McGowan has done just that with the opening of Shakespeare’s Chateau bed and breakfast.
Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County
It is an understatement to say that Cara Nager and RJ Clements undertook a dramatic rehabilitation project in downtown Cape Girardeau. The historic stone building was completely obscured in a non-historic stucco shell. Only once this was peeled away could the building be added to the adjacent historic district. After removing the stucco, the stone was cleaned and repaired. Cara and RJ also took care to retain the unique internal gallery that accessed the small historic hotel rooms. These they updated to create comfortable, modern market-rate apartments that appeal to the young professionals in Cape Girardeau. The lower level is shared by a thriving retail business and amenity space for building tenants. The transformation sets a wonderful example of what is possible when you peak behind the non-historic “curtain.”
Thank you to our Sponsors:
Murray’s Restaurant of Columbia
Lisart Capital LLC
MARSH & COMPANY, P.A.
St. Louis Equity Fund
HUSCH BLACKWELL, LLP
Rubin Brown LLP
Straub Construction Co