2007 Minnesota Preservation Awards
St. Paul, Minnesota — A national spotlight will shine on Minnesota and its preservation success stories this fall with the arrival of the National Preservation Conference in October. Convened by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the 2007 Conference is the first ever held in Minnesota since the Trust was chartered in 1949. This year’s Minnesota Preservation Awards are an opportunity to attract national attention for our state’s greatest preservation achievements. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota will mark this event by honoring 2007’s best preservation projects at the Minnesota Preservation Awards. Now in its 23rd year, the Alliance’s annual awards program recognizes outstanding projects, groups and individuals that contribute to the state’s preservation accomplishments. Awards are presented, not on the basis of size or investment, but rather on the merit they provide to their community. Hundreds of projects across the state have received recognition through the awards program in the categories of adaptive reuse, addition / expansion, advocacy, archaeology, career achievement, community effort, restoration / rehabilitation, and stewardship. An unprecedented 64 nominations were received this year – more than twice the number of nominations typically received. The record number of nominations demonstrates the importance of historic properties in the context of cultural heritage tourism, economic development, and promoting a sense of place in our communities. We truly value our historic properties and work to keep them vital community assets. The Alliance assembled a distinguished panel of jurors for the difficult task of choosing the award winners. The jury, led by Honorary Chair Linda Mack, longtime architectural critic for the Star Tribune, included professionals in architecture, archeology, history, and historic preservation. This skilled group was able to narrow the list to the 15 exceptional projects you see in this program. Additionally, the Alliance is making its first award for excellence in preservation, named in honor of longtime state preservation architect and Alliance board member Charles Nelson. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM) is the statewide, private, nonprofit organization advocating for the preservation of Minnesota’s historic resources. The Alliance was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1981 by Minnesota citizens concerned about the future of the state’s architectural and cultural landmarks. The Alliance has grown into a network representing thousands of voices across the state. Beyond our membership, we collaborate and partner with other organizations and agencies from the national to the local level. We congratulate the 2007 Minnesota Preservation Award winners and commend their work in preserving the historic assets that make our communities unique. Additionally, the Alliance would like to thank the following sponsors for making this program possible:
Crane Ordway Apartments, St. Paul
Adaptive Reuse Award — The Crane Ordway Company Warehouse, designed by architects Reed & Stem, was built in 1904 as a distribution facility for plumbing fixtures. The Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation and the Capitol River Council rescued this long-vacant building and planned for its reuse. Affordable loft-style apartments were created and the double portal main entry was reconstructed. The insertion of raised platforms at the exterior ends of the lofts allowed conventional sightlines out of the unusually high openings. The original center-pivoting wood sash was rehabilitated and reinstalled. Innovative and best-practice preservation strategies were used to save an historic warehouse and create new homes for an underserved market in downtown St. Paul. Owner: Central Community Housing Trust; Architect: Cermak Rhoades Architects; Contractor: Frerichs Construction Company.
Riverwood Pines Apartments, Little Falls
Adaptive Reuse Award — Riverwood Pines Apartments in Little Falls is a model example of how public-private partnerships can yield extraordinary preservation results. Formerly the home of Our Lady of Angels Academy, a boarding school headed by the Franciscan Sisters of Belle Prairie, the nearly century-old building sat vacant for more than 30 years until the City of Little Falls and Metroplains Development, LLC, saw its potential as affordable housing. With design by JLG Architects and financial support from the City, USDA Rural Development, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, US Bank, Central Minnesota Housing Partnership, and M&I Bank, the renovated building is once again a pillar of this rural community. Not surprisingly, the 24 living units, which combine historic character and modern comforts, were all filled within a month of the project’s completion in late 2006. Riverwood Pines will serve as an inspiration to communities across the state. Owner: MDI Limited Partnership #88; Architect: JLG Architects; Contractor: Flannery Construction; Financier: USDA Rural Development, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, US Bank Community Development Corporation, Central Minnesota Housing Partnership, M&I Bank; Developer: MetroPlains Development, LLC; Property Management: MetroPlains Management LLC.
Petters Pavilion, Collegeville
Addition / Expansion Award — St. John’s Abbey Church complex is an architecturally significant and internationally recognized work designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1961. The need to expand the existing Chapter House was carefully thought out by Vincent James Associates Architects (VJAA) so that the newly expanded space retains the dignity and beauty of the current Chapter House, while at the same time maintaining the primary use of the House for monastic purposes. To blend with the existing aesthetic, the addition made use of the same primary materials, with new and reused granite on the exterior and red brick flooring on the interior. The Alliance is pleased to present this Addition/Expansion award for a project that carefully and seamlessly blends old and new on an important landmark from our recent past. Owner: St. John’s Abbey; Architect: VJAA; Contractor: Knutson Construction.
Diane O’Brien-Berge, Kasson
Advocacy Award — As an avid preservation advocate, Diane O’Brien- Berge spearheaded many of Kasson’s noted preservation projects. Her successes include restoring the Purcell & Elmsliedesigned Kasson Old City Hall and preserving the National Register-listed Kasson Water Tower. In 2006 Diane formed the nonprofit Kasson Alliance for REstoration (KARE), an endeavor to save the potentially-historic Kasson Elementary School. Through Diane’s efforts, KARE has grown into a committed and empowered group of community activists. KARE was successful in obtaining the School’s listing on the Alliance’s 2007 Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties List and filing an injunction to temporarily halt the City’s demolition plans to study its historic significance. KARE has sponsored a National Register designation study for the Elementary School and led a local “Save the School” campaign engaging local citizens in dialogue about the School. The Alliance is proud to recognize Diane O’Brien-Berge and KARE for their leadership in creating a model preservation campaign.
Diamond Point Park, Bemidji
Archaeology Award — For many years archaeology was practiced away from both public and Native American eyes, despite the fact that these audiences are truly central to its success. It is notable and commendable, therefore, that in their approach to the Diamond Point Park archaeology project, the 106 Group worked with the City of Bemidji, local Native Americans, and the public to not only make the project accessible, but to fully incorporate Native interpretive perspectives. From personal interaction, to site tours, to brochures and interpretive signage, this project stands out as a model effort and it is the Alliance’s pleasure to recognize it with an award for Archaeology Project of the year.
Deer Creek Historical Museum, Deer Creek
Community Effort Award — Efforts to preserve the Deer Creek Fire Hall commenced in 1999 when the Minnesota Historical Society awarded a State Grants-in-Aid Award to the Deer Creek Fire Hall Preservation Committee. The tiny community of Deer Creek (pop. 328) was pivotal in making preservation a priority for this important community resource. Community members, Deer Creek School alumni, and area businesses provided funds to aid the work of two retired citizen and their wives who completed much of the work on the building. The brick used to construct the original firehouse in 1906 was made from the Deer Creek brick factory and North County Restoration of New York Mills, MN, assisted with the exterior brick repair by using brick from the former factory. Today, the firehouse tower features a bell, and the building is operating as the Deer Creek Historical Museum. Congratulations to the city of Deer Creek and to the work of James Truax and Frank Tranby in spearheading a great example of community effort.
Elliot Park Archaeology, Minneapolis
Community Effort Award — Since 2004, Kent Bakken has been the driving force behind one of the most successful community outreach archaeology projects in state history. Bakken, a resident of the neighborhood, began the project as a way of fostering neighborhood awareness and a sense of historical connection. Over the last four years, the project has grown to become a widely-anticipated event in which many neighborhood residents and volunteers, professional archaeologists, and local officials join forces to uncover and appreciate the history of the Elliot Park neighborhood. The Alliance is proud to recognize this important project with a Community Effort award.
Marty Aldinger & Deb Raiche, Amboy
Community Effort Award — The seeds of preservation were sown in Amboy when the farm crisis of the 1980’s began to shutter businesses. Despite the deterioration of Main Street and uncertain economic conditions, Marty Aldinger and Deb Raiche set out to restore the Amboy Times building. Over the years, their passion and zeal for restoration became an inspiration to others in the community. From their singular dedication, the Amboy Community Club now flourishes. New businesses have arrived and the Ridge school house has been restored. The Community Club is now championing the preservation of one of the last, onelane bridges in the state. The Alliance proudly recognizes Marty and Deb’s leadership in promoting and inspiring preservation activity in Amboy.
Central Avenue Buildings, Faribault
Community Effort Award — From crisis comes creativity; from creativity comes continuity. Four connected buildings on Faribault’s Central Avenue revealed significant structural weaknesses after heavy storms. In the interest of public safety, the buildings were immediately vacated. Faced with the decision to demolish or restore, the community chose to decisively honor its heritage. Owners partnered with local, state and federal officials to develop creative financing and tap preservation expertise. This award goes to the City of Faribault and the affected business owners for their civic commitment to restore and preserve these important elements in the local historic preservation district.
Jackson County Courthouse Mural Restoration, Jackson
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award — The interior of the 1908 Jackson County Courthouse features several colorful murals by artist Odin J. Oyen of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Adorning the interior of the central dome and a second floor courtroom, the murals depict subjects ranging from Education and Industry to Truth and Achievement. In recent years, flaking and delaminating paint had threatened the murals’ integrity, and several had begun to detach from their supporting substrate. This project involved the painstaking work of restoring the murals to their original splendor, ensuring that they will be enjoyed by future generations. Owner: Jackson County; Contractor: Renaissance Art, Restoration and Architecture; Financier: Jackson County and the Minnesota Historical Society.
Farmers and Mechanics Bank – The Westin Hotel, Minneapolis
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award — Built in 1942 in the heart of Minneapolis’ financial district, the Farmers and Mechanics Savings Bank stands as an archetypal Midwestern variation of the American Moderne style. Clad in golden-hued Minnesota limestone that sports iconic and impressively muscled bas relief sculptures, the original three-story banking hall received a 13-story, “L” shaped office addition in 1963 – dressed in a complimentary curtain wall of staggered, blue-tinted porcelain enameled steel panels. Abandoned in the early 1990s and laying vacant for nearly a decade, the complex found new life when local developer Ryan Companies, architect Elness Swenson Graham, and hospitality leader Starwood Resorts beautifully rehabilitated the landmark for its new public use as Westin Hotel. A chef driven restaurant called BANK appropriately occupies the former gracious, teak paneled banking hall. Owner: HEI Hospitality LLC; Architect: Elness Swenson Graham Architects; Interior Architects: Moncur Design associates, Inc.; Historical Consultant: Hess Roise and Company, Inc.; Hotel Consultant: Wischermann Partners; Developer: Ryan Companies US, Inc.; Financier: US Bank Community Development Corporation.
Malcolm Willey House, Minneapolis
Restoration / Rehabilitation Award and Charles Nelson Award for Excellence — Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1933, during the early years of the Taliesen Fellowship, the Willey the house represents a pivotal moment in the master architect’s career, marking a transition from the sprawling Prairie style typified by the Robbie House, to the later, economical and compact Usonian house. Occupied by the Willeys until 1963, the house would later pass through several hands. Badly deteriorated and facing an uncertain future, in 2002, the property was placed on the Preservation Alliance’s Ten Most Endangered Historic Properties List. Purchased by private owners in 2002 with the singular aim of restoring the house, work began securing and weatherproofing the exterior through an ad hoc entity set up especially for the purpose – Wright at Home, LLC. Extensive research guided the meticulous restoration of the house, relying heavily on correspondence between the Willeys and Mr. Wright, historic photographs and plans, and by visiting numerous Wright projects first hand to observe details and the quality of work the project would demand. For the impeccable attention to detail and for rescuing a structure of such invaluable architectural import, this project receives the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s first Charles Nelson Award for Excellence. Owner: Steve Sikora and Lynette Erickson-Sikora.
Bloomington Old Town Hall, Bloomington
Stewardship Award — The Bloomington Old Town Hall is a rarity: a 19th century building that has survived suburban growth. Built in 1892, the two-story Gothic style structure served the City until the 1960s. Forty years later, the foundation and original wood siding had decayed and demolition was discussed. However, a groundswell of public interest and support from the City of Bloomington led to its rehabilitation. Kodet Architectural Group worked from historic photos to replicate the wood siding, recreate the window shutters and decorative arches and rebuild the roof cupola. The Old Town Hall will continue to serve as a historical museum for the Bloomington Historical Society. Owner: City of Bloomington; Architect: Kodet Architectural Group; Contractor: Frerichs Construction; Other Support Provided By: Bloomington Historical Society
University of Minnesota – Morris Historic Preservation Plan, Morris
Stewardship Award — The campus preservation plan for the historic campus of the University of Minnesota Morris is one of the most comprehensive in the nation. It addresses the 18 buildings in the central campus, most designed by noted Minnesota architect Clarence H. Johnston, Sr., and also the rich landscape by the Minnesota firm of Morell and Nichols. Since the plan’s completion, the Seed House has been renovated and Imholte Hall expanded, Spooner and Camden Halls have been tuckpointed and landscape features such as the windbreaks and elm boulevards restored. In addition, campus history has been incorporated into student coursework, making the plan an integral part of the college’s famed liberal arts education. Owner: University of Minnesota-Morris; Plan authors: Gemini Research, Miller-Dunwiddie Architects, landscape historian Frank Edgerton Martin, landscape architect Michael Schroeder; Other: UMM Plant Services.
Richard Berg, Minneapolis
Career Achievement Award — In modern practice, archaeology has too often been viewed as a regulatory and mechanistic process that studies people as somehow separate from their own history. Fortunately, Richard E. Berg is not of that ilk. In a long and distinguished career, Rich has consistently managed to serve not only regulatory interests but he has worked intensively and productively with Native American groups throughout Minnesota and the Midwest. Over the years, he has quietly and diligently performed exemplary archaeology by unifying field practice with public service. As his career draws to a close, it is therefore appropriate to recognize Rich for his dedication and skill with an award for what is truly a professional lifetime of achievement.