2006 Minnesota Preservation Awards
St. Paul, Minnesota — The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota saluted the efforts of 19 projects and individuals at the organization’s 22nd annual Minnesota Preservation Awards program held at the T. B. Sheldon Performing Arts Theatre in Red Wing September 28. The awards cited 19 historic preservation projects from across Minnesota for excellence in adaptive reuse, addition, community effort, restoration and rehabilitation, or stewardship. The 2006 award winners are:
100 East 2nd Street Chaska
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award - A cornerstone of Chaska’s Walnut Street Historic District, this 1876 dry goods store and social hall building is an excellent example where a dedicated owner, thorough historical research, comprehensive physical investigation, detailed documentation, and talented contractors have reproduced a building’s historical appearance as accurately as possible. It now serves as a Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop and professional offices. Owner: Norby & Associates Landscape Architects, Inc. Architect: MacDonald & Mack Architects, Ltd. Contractor: R. A. Neiss Construction
Alicia’s Place Duluth
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award – As part of a five-building complex, the Gothic & Craftsman style Alicia’s Place began life as a home for Christian Brothers. Later, it served as the Sacred Heart Convent for the Sisters of St. Scholastica. Between 1986 and 2001, it weathered deterioration, violent crime, and other difficult times before being condemned. The Women’s Community Development Organization acquired it in 2003 and, utilizing tax credits and a variety of other funding sources, converted it into 11 units of affordable, permanent, supportive housing for homeless women. Owner: Women’s Community Development Organization Architect: DSGW Contractor: Women in Construction, LLC, a contractor that trains and employs underrepresented populations in the construction trades.
Armstrong-Quinlan House St. Paul
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award – On PAM’s 1998 “10 Most Endangered List,” the Armstrong-Quinlan house is one of the earliest and most significant extant buildings by St. Paul Architect Edward Bassford. Built as a rental property, it also saw service as the Key Hospital for Alcoholics and, later, a board and care facility. Originally sited at Cleveland Circle, now a highly desirable site at the entrance to Downtown St. Paul across from the Xcel Energy Center, it was purchased by the City, who pledged to relocate and preserve it. It was moved to the Irvine Park neighborhood in 2001, and the rehabilitation into four condominium units was completed in 2005. Owner at time of the move: The City of St. Paul Owner and Contractor for the rehabilitation: David Benshoof and Steve Holum, Benshoof Construction Architect: Collaborative Design Group
The River Towers Condominium Courtyard Rehabilitation Minneapolis
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award – This project was the rehabilitation of a 1964 Sasaki, Walker and Associates garden over an underground parking garage. Failure of the waterproofing required the complete removal of the modernist landscape, and the decision was made to reconstruct it in the spirit of the original design but with subtle updates to meet current needs. Many challenges faced the designers, including the removal and re-setting of the original 8,000 pound Sasaki-designed precast concrete planters. The greatest challenge, however, was bringing the 1,200 individual condo owners to consensus on the new design. The design team gave presentations to educate the owners about Sasaki, mid-20th century modernist design, and the Minneapolis Gateway Urban Renewal project of the 1960s, and they published an historic summary document for the residents. These efforts gained the support for the reconstruction of the original design instead of a completely new design. Owner: River Towers Condominium Landscape Architects: Close Landscape Architecture Architects: Close Associates; Shrock DeVetter Architects Contractor: McGough Construction
Leithauser Lofts St. Paul
Adaptive Reuse Award — After sitting vacant for some time, this 118-year old commercial building in St. Paul’s Dayton’s Bluff Historic District suffered through an unsuccessful rehabilitation effort that left it in worse shape than before. Demolition was looming as the only option when Michlitsch Builders teamed with St. Paul’s PED Department and Historic St. Paul to prepare a financially-workable development plan. The adaptive reuse, the most significant single building preservation project in the Dayton’s Bluff Historic District in several years, is now six loft-style condominium units.
Owner / Developer / Contractor: Michlitsch Builders Architect: Karen Gjerstad, AIA Historical Consultant: Bob Roscoe, Design for Preservation
Liberty Frozen Custard Minneapolis
Adaptive Reuse Award — After being moved from near the airport in the 1970s, this porcelain enamel metal panel gas station was moved to 54th and Nicollet and turned into an auto repair shop, complete with an “updated” look of fake brick and a mansard roof. Its new owners wanted to open a custard shop and had researched vintage ones throughout the Midwest. They decided that the Tangletown neighborhood was where they wanted to be. The brick and wood was peeled away and the integrity of the original gas station was discovered underneath. The enamel panels were restored, a complementary 500-square foot addition was built, and the interior was adapted to its new use. The project successfully knit the old and new.
Owners: Steve and Vicky Uhr Architect: KKE Architects, Inc. Contractor: Watson Forsberg, Co. Structural Engineer: Anderson-Urlacher
Midtown Exchange Minneapolis
Adaptive Reuse Award — The Lake Street Sears store and catalog warehouse closed in 1990 and 1994 respectively, leaving a vacant eyesore in a struggling inner-city neighborhood. With about 1,000,000 SF, the historic structure thwarted the dreams of numerous developers.
Eventually, the City of Minneapolis took ownership and, through a competitive process, Ryan Companies US was selected by the city as the developer. Ryan worked with the city, local businesses, and the surrounding community to establish a development plan that included rental and owner-occupied housing, offices, and retail space. One key to its success was convincing Allina to relocate its headquarters here, near one of its hospitals. The substantial scale, rapid pace, and broad impact of the development are a credit to the entire development team. Developer and Contractor: Ryan Companies US Architects: Collaborative Design Group; Ellness, Swenson Graham; Perkins & Will; Shea; UrbanWorks Historical Consultants: Hess Roise
St. Martin’s by-the-Lake Episcopal Church Minnetonka Beach
Addition/Expansion Award — Major George Camp hired Cass Gilbert to design a wedding chapel for his daughter in 1887 that was to serve as a memorial to his children and be a parish church as well. The chapel is a small Shingle-style building overlooking Lake Minnetonka that shares stylistic similarities to Gilbert’s earlier Swedenborgian church in St. Paul.
In 1950, the chapel was moved 150 feet to a new location on Lafayette’s Bay and re-christened St. Martin’s by-the-Lake. Over the next 29 years various additions were done to expand the facility. Little was then done until the church was damaged in a storm in October 2001. After temporarily bracing the structure, over the next four years the congregation undertook the planning and construction for renovating and expanding the building, along with receiving new infrastructure. Throughout the work, great care was taken to match the original design intent and materials, and despite space limitations in the chapel, it was kept intact. Because of those efforts, the chapel remains much as it did in 1888. Owners: St. Martin’s by-the-Lake; Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota Architect: Laurel Ulland Architecture Contractor: Crawford-Merz Construction
Stevens County Historical Society Restoration/Addition Morris
Addition/Expansion Award — Built in 1905 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie, the library in Morris served the community until 1970.
In 1972, it became the home to the Stevens County Historical Society; but over the years, low budgets, Minnesota winters, and the local bat population led to serious deterioration. Gilding was gliding off the acanthus leaves, paint was flaking from the frieze, and the museum outgrew the space. Society board members begged, pleaded, and diligently pursued county residents and governmental entities until $1.3 million was raised for an addition and rehabilitation. The work began in 2004 with construction of the new addition. When completed in April 2005, everything was moved into it and work began rehabilitating the historic building. Staff and volunteers cleaned hundreds of feet of old wood, and often it took 6 coats of stain to match original colors. The staff, board, and community members who made this task possible on a limited budget deserve special recognition and praise. Owner: City of Morris; Stevens County Historical Society and Museum Architect: Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. Contractor: Breitbach Construction
Jerry & Sandy Emery Big Rock Resort, Walker
Advocacy Award — In 2004, after attempting unsuccessfully to find a new owner willing to preserve their Big Rock Resort on Leech Lake while turning down numerous lucrative offers to tear it down for new development, the Emerys took matters into their own hands.
They organized a task force of local Cass County resort owners to see what could be done to improve the survival chances of “Ma and Pa” resorts. The “Cass County Tourism Preservation Task Force” rewrote major portions of the county’s zoning and lakeshore management ordinances. The Emerys then created a new ownership model, blending aspects of cooperative and time-share ownership to provide incentives for new development without resorting to demolition. While not a complete solution to the issue of tear-down resorts, it is a first meaningful and legitimate tool to help preserve the small, Minnesota family resort. Recipient: Jerry & Sandy Emery, Big Rock Resort
St. Cloud Historical & Neighborhood Preservation Association, Inc. St. Cloud
Advocacy Award — Since 1988, this grassroots organization has accomplished great things. A partial list of their achievements: Wrote the first draft of the St. Cloud Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) ordinance and lobbied for its passage; aggressively supported St. Cloud’s first historic district; hired and paid for a consultant to define a doubling of that district, organized eight annual home tours with over 4,000 participants; hosted eight annual Victorian Christmas Boutiques to promote and raise funds for preservation; raised over $200,000 to preserve and restore St. Cloud’s oldest park; developed and funded the Neighborhood Coalition Homestead Program for new homesteaders; and they publish a bi-monthly newsletter. That’s just the major accomplishments; it doesn’t include the late-night phone calls and meetings, letters to the editor, and other tasks that preservations must undertake to make themselves heard. Recipient: St. Cloud Historical & Neighborhood Preservation Association, Inc.
The Cannon Valley Trail Southern Minnesota
Archaeology Award — Throughout its 20 years, the Cannon Valley Trail has consistently advocated preservation, stewardship, and interpretation of cultural and natural landscapes through which the trail runs. Their work with citizens and institutions has led to the preservation of hundreds of acres along the trail. These resources are some of the most desirable and developable land in the Cannon River Valley, yet they remain quiet and undisturbed, vestiges of rapidly disappearing parts of Minnesota’ past.
They also interpret the archaeology along the trail, and provide access to the Silvernale village to the Minnesota State University, Mankato archaeology students. Recipient: The Cannon Valley Trail
Carver Lions Club Carver
Community Effort Award — Originally built as a Presbyterian church in 1913, the Gothic & Queen Anne Revival “Church-By-The-River” boasted beautiful stained glass windows and hand-crafted oak pulpit and lectern. Unfortunately, its site next to the Minnesota River made it susceptible to flooding and the resulting deterioration, and two years after the great flood of 1965, the last service was held.
After several attempts to restore it, the City of Carver purchased it and received a Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) grant, but that was not enough to fund the work. The stained glass was removed and the walls were rotting. The Lions Club of Carver then took on the restoration as a service project and completed the work in 2003, after thousands of hours and dollars of both donated and paid labor and materials. Today, the Church-By-The-River is used as a community gathering space, hosting City Council and other community meetings. Recipient: Carver Lions Club
Friends of the Danebod Gym Hall Tyler
Community Effort Award — The Danebod Gym Hall was built in 1904 as part of the Danebod Folk School in Tyler, and the entire property is on the National Register of Historic Places. The modest structure with clapboard siding has served the town ever since as a place for music, dancing, theater, fellowship, fitness, and fun.
Named to PAM’s “10 Most Endangered List” in 2004, the Gym Hall had long required exterior restoration and structural repair. That listing spearheaded the effort to raise the funds necessary to do the work. Over $140,000 has been raised to date through events and donations, and initial stabilization and repair has been done. Although the task is not complete, this award is to honor those involved and to help the community realize the importance of this significant community asset. Recipient: Friends of the Danebod Gym Hall
The Ritz Theater Minneapolis
Community Effort Award — After being vacant and deteriorating for 25 years, the Ritz Theater has found a new life in the Northeast Arts District in Minneapolis.
While it sat vacant, numerous attempts were made to redevelop it, but all failed. This ultimately successful rehabilitation incorporated an approach on the inside that might be described as an interior archaeology lab experiment that removed various layers of finishes and alterations, but only back to certain points, leaving them at various states of exposure. The result is an assemblage of materials, surfaces, and colors that overlap to create somewhat of the appearance of a collage, including seats from the original Guthrie Theater. At the exterior, the original appearance was restored by removing the modern marquee and restoring the original, as well as removing unsympathetic additions at the second floor. The result is an unexpected juxtaposition between interior and exterior. In its reincarnation, the Ritz should serve as a catalyst for cultural and economic development in the Northeast Minneapolis arts community. Owner: The Ritz Theater Foundation Architect: Baker Associates Inc. Architects Contractor: Kraus Anderson Developer: California Building Company
State Theatre Hutchinson
Community Effort Award — This Art Deco theater was a fixture in Hutchinson from its construction in 1937 until it closed in 1999.
By 2003 there were serious mold and structural problems, and talk in town turned to tearing it down for a parking lot. Miles “Red” McMonagle and his wife, Linda, had always dreamed of owning a 2nd run movie theater, so they sold their business in the Twin Cities and bought the State. In November of 2003 they began renovations. The building was made weather-tight, the structure repaired, original Art Deco wall murals were re-created by hand, original seats were restored, and seven apartments on the second floor were converted to four luxury apartments. During the course of the work, original neon in the theater’s walls was discovered, and it was still working. To top off their work, the McMonagles did extensive research and rebuilt a near replica of the original marquee. After 2-1/2 years of work, much of it themselves, the McMonagles reopened the theater.
Owners: Red and Linda McMonagle Architect: Haugen Architecture
Wilkommen Park Pavilion Rehabilitation Norwood Young America
Community Effort Award — Built in 1900, the Wilkommen Park Pavilion is home to the Stiftungsfest, the state’s oldest celebration. Expanded to 5,000 square feet in 1920, the pavilion has been home to over a century of events in the predominantly German community.
But decades of use took its toll, and the building deteriorated until the City Council voted to demolish it in 2004, balking at the $300,000 price tag to repair it. The Council vote led to the creation of “Save the Pavilion, Inc.,” which lobbied the Council to re-consider. Meanwhile, it was placed on PAM’s “10 Most Endangered List” in 2005. The Council reversed its decision in February 2005, and hired a consultant to facilitate its restoration. After parting ways with the consultant seven months later, and with a partially completed building, the Council and the Save the Pavilion group teamed up to raise the money necessary to complete the renovation. The project is worthy of an award because of the successful resolution despite community passion, inherent controversy within the community, and the other difficulties involved. Owners: City of Norwood Young America Rehabilitation Spearhead: Save the Pavilion, Inc.
Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) for the “Management Plan for Historic Bridges in Minnesota” including the Lester River Bridge Reconstruction
Stewardship Award — MnDOT’s 2005-2006 Historic Bridge Management Plan project is the culmination of two decades of bridge preservation leadership. In scope, scale, and innovative methodology, the project is unprecedented in Minnesota and a model initiative for other states.
An illustration of this MnDOT commitment occurred in April 2005 when the Lester River Bridge in Duluth suffered major damage when a semi-trailer struck the lake-side railing of the bridge and destroyed it. MnDOT could have used the event to press for demolition and replacement with a bridge that met all the modern standards, but instead District 1 personnel contacted MnDOT’s Cultural Resources unit and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and worked out a plan to make safety improvements while maintaining the historic appearance. Original stones were recovered, additional compatible stones were selected, an appropriate mortar mix was developed, and the bridge’s lake-side railing was reconstructed to its original appearance and modern safety standards. Owner: Minnesota Department of Transportation Historic Bridge Management Plan Consultant: Mead & Hunt; HNTB Lester River Bridge Architect: MacDonald & Mack Architects, Ltd. Lester River Bridge Contractor: Harbor City Masonry
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the St. Croix State Park Headquarters Addition & Restoration
Stewardship Award — St. Croix State Park is a National Historic Landmark, but over the years the headquarters building had undergone a number of unsympathetic additions and renovations.
When the time came to expand once again, initial upper level discussions focused on constructing a new headquarters near the historic building and abandoning the park’s historic entrance. Jack Nelson, Park Manager, and Mark Buechel, DNR Architect, were able to show that restoring the building and sympathetically adding new space was the best approach for meeting the space needs. During the work, the original entrance was restored, unsympathetic additions and alterations were removed, and a historically-sensitive addition was constructed. Today, the restored headquarters building is a fine example of how both individuals and an aware state agency make a difference in preservation. Owner: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation Architect: Mark Buechel Contractor: Gopher State Construction