2014 Minnesota Preservation Award Winners

Grant County Courthouse

Below are our 2014 Minnesota Preservation Award Winners. These projects and preservation stewards were honored at our 30th annual awards ceremony on September 25th, 2014, held at the elegant Union Depot in St. Paul. Congratulations!

The Donaldson Mansion 

Donaldson Mansion

The Donaldson Mansion on Mount Curve Ave in Minneapolis was completed in 1907 for Lawrence S. Donaldson of the Donaldson Department Store. Built by architectural firm Kees and Colburn, this estate includes the family home and a carriage house constructed in 1916. After the estate was subdivided into separate lots, the current owners reunited the home and carriage house in 2001. During the restoration of the Donaldson Mansion, the owners aimed to bring the home back to its former splendor, incorporating technology and modern standards with the highest level of craftsmanship to preserve and recreate original feature of the home. While many historic homes in the Twin Cities have been updated over the years, very few have matched the care taken in preserving the historical character of this home throughout the renovation process and is a exemplary example of historic home preservation in Minnesota.

Project Participants: Brad Karja Decorating; Century Studios, Enhanced Home Systems; Erik Wyckoff Artworks; Jet Construction; Kramer Gallery; McCarthy Electric; Phones N’ Things; Renaissance Art, Restoration & Architecture. 

Abbott Apartments 

Abbott Apartments

Located in the former historic Abbott Hospital in the Stevens Square neighborhood of Minneapolis, Abbott Apartments is a 123 unit building within walking distance of downtown. Beginning in 1910, the hospital was constructed in five major phases over a span of 47 years. Stylistically the phases are distinct from one another on the exterior, and because of these renovations throughout the years, the building required extensive work to restore original features. The renovation, completed in 2013, utilized state and federal tax credits and prioritized preservation of original building materials. With a significant percentage of the units designated as affordable, the adaptive reuse of Abbott Hospital provides housing in the heart of Minneapolis and is helping to invigorate the neighborhood through community effort and collaboration.

Project Participants: Adsit Architecture and Planning; Frana Construction; Gateway Commons Building Owner, LLC; Hess Roise; Oak Grove Capital; Steen Engineering; Stevens Square Community Organization; Palanisami & Associates, Inc.

Dennis Gimmestad, Career Achievement Award 

Dennis Gimmestad

Dennis Gimmestad has had a long and storied career, always serving historic preservation in our state. He started working for the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in 1977 and was appointed SHPO department head in 1981, where he served for 10 years. Dennis then moved to the position of head of Government Programs and Compliance at SHPO, where he served until 2009 when he left for MnDOT. There, Dennis oversaw Section 106 processes. While Dennis has initiated and adapted to many changes and controversies throughout his career, but what is truly remarkable is the scope of his review and compliance work. In his 19 years as head of Government Programs and Compliance, Dennis reviewed over 80,000 projects, averaging over 4,000 projects per year.  Dennis is also a nationally recognized expert on Section 106, overseeing the process for many complicated and politically charged projects. While he is now recently retired from state employment, all those who know or have worked with Dennis know he will continue to influence historic preservation in Minnesota for years to come.

Grant County Courthouse 

Grant County Courthouse

Grant County Courthouse was constructed in 1906 in Elbow Lake, MN by Charles Bell and Menno Detweiler for a mere $60, 202 dollars. Built in the beaux-arts style, it replaced the original 1897 building built by A.C. Earsley and H.H. Wilson of Alexandria. One of the first uses of cast-in-place concrete within Greater Minnesota, the restoration project was driven by evidence of substantial sagging in many areas of the concrete structure. Keeping in mind the terrazzo flooring, ceiling murals and other unique features of the County Courthouse, all design decisions both constructive and mechanical were influenced by a desire to protect the historic character of the building which continues to serve as the seat of judicial proceedings in Grant County today.

Project Participants: Meyer Borgman Johnson; Michaud Cooley Erickson; Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; ORB Management Corporation; studio e architects. 

Grand Center for Arts and Culture 

Grand Center

The Grand Center for Arts and Culture in New Ulm is located in the historic Grand Hotel, built in 1875. The hotel was a popular hotel throughout the years but when local passenger rail service ended and much of its patronage was lost, the hotel fell into decline. In 2000, fifth generation descendants of the original owner purchased the property. When the first floor was renovated and re-opened as an art center and performance space, the owners realized that public ownership as an arts and cultural center was the best way to preserve the building and create an invaluable asset in the community. A nonprofit board was formed and the organization received its 501(c)3 status in 2011. The Grand Center for Arts and Culture is now a community hub, a home for artists, writers, actors and musicians to showcase their work. The building will be LEED certified and is a success story of economic development in the heart of New Ulm.

Project Participants: Christine Carmichael Concepts; Citizen’s Bank Minnesota; Engan Associates; Grand Center for Arts and Culture; Grand Center Board of Directors; The Grand New Ulm LLC; Heymann Construction; New Ulm Actors Community Theater; New Ulm Area Foundation. 

Great Houses of Summit Avenue and the Hill District

Great Houses of Summit Ave and the Hill District

Great Houses of Summit Avenue and the Hill District provides an intimate tour of 24 historic homes on and around Summit Avenue, including mansions constructed by notable architects: Cass Gilbert; Clarence Johnston; Reed and Stem, Emanuel Masqueray, and others.  Produced, photographed and published by Karen Melvin, the 280- page coffee table book includes stories by four of Minnesota’s best architectural writers, a forward by Garrison Keillor, poem by Patricia Hampl, and more than 400 full-color photographs showcasing the homeowners’ efforts to renovate, restore, and maintain these magnificent homes.  Karen’s book is a lasting testament to the importance of historic preservation, the rewards of stewardship and a celebration of Saint Paul’s architectural heritage.

Project Participants: Bette Hammel; Melinda Nelson; Paul Clifford Larson; Dave Kenney; Garrison Keillor; Narda Lebo; Ellen Green; Ellen Huber; Karen Melvin 

Howe Community School 

Howe Community School

Built in 1927, the Julia Ward Howe Elementary School in the Longfellow Neighborhood of Minneapolis stood unoccupied for 7 years until 2013 when it reopened as Howe Community School. The 2-story brick building was threatened with demolition and was placed on The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s 10 Most Endangered list in 2011. As nearby elementary school enrollment increased, a new life was given to Howe Elementary. The project team transformed the school into a 21st Century learning environment while maintaining the unique characteristics of this historic school. In addition to structural mechanical and classroom improvements, the site includes outdoor classroom spaces and a new playground, all the while reinforcing the building as a strong community oriented asset.

Project Participants: Damon Farber Associates; Elert & Associates; LKPB Engineers; Meyer Borgman Johnson; Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; Pierce Pini & Associates; Robert Rippe & Associates. 

Schmidt Artist Lofts 

Schmidt Artist Lofts

The Schmidt Brewery had been home to the Stahlmann, North Star, Pfeiffer, Jacob Schmidt and Landmark brands from 1855, when it was known as Cave Brewery, before closing its doors in 2002. After a short stint as an ethanol plant, the brewery sat vacant over a ten year period, deteriorating quickly because of its unique configuration and layout.  New additions were added as the brewery business expanded, resulting in a maze of rooms and structural systems which presented difficulties in conceptualizing a new vision for the space; one which maintained the structural, historic and aesthetic integrities.  After five years of planning and design, the brewery’s 16 acres were redeveloped into 350,000 square feet of affordable artist live-work apartments offering fine art, media and exercise studios among other modern amenities.

Project Participants: Alliant Capital; BKV Group; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors; Dominium Development; Loucks Associates; Metropolitan Council; MN DEED; Peer Engineering; Ramsey County; St. Paul PED; US Bank; Weis Builders. 

Amy Spong and Christine Boulware, Extraordinary Stewardship Award for their work as St Paul HPC Staff 

Amy Spong Awards photoChistine Boulware Awards photo


With a combined 25 years of service, Amy Spong and Christine Boulware will be honored for their work toward the advancement of preservation efforts in the City of St. Paul as staff members of the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC). Amy and Christine have continued to be an invaluable resource for historic homeowners, business owners and for the commissioners of the Saint Paul HPC. By working closely with community members and developing partnerships with various stakeholders, Amy and Christine have helped to develop grant applications, contract emergency stabilization on projects, provide recommendations, collaborate to conduct vital Historic Resources Inventories and most recently provided invaluable support during the Green Line Light Rail project. Other notable projects include the designation of the Schmidt Brewery and the Victorian Theatre, as well as campaigns to encourage appropriate improvements to historic building facades in downtown St. Paul. By going above and beyond what is expected, Amy and Christine continue to devote a great deal of time, effort and professionalism into each project that comes their way, creating a culture of preservation that will have a lasting impact in the City of Saint Paul.


Stewart Creek Bridge and Snively Monument 

Stewart Creek Bridge

The Stewart Creek Bridge was constructed in 1891, listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1989, and remains one of the most picturesque examples of stone-arch bridge design within the state of Minnesota.  The Snively Monument was built between 1924 and 1926, in honor of Samuel Snively, Duluth’s mayor and principal organizer of the construction of Seven Bridges Road and the rest of the Skyline Parkway.  After suffering extensive flood damage and deterioration over the years, restoration using local and on-site materials of both historic stone structures was completed in October of last year.  Both the Snively Monument and Stewart Creek Bridge are major contributions to the natural beauty and mood of the historic Skyway Parkway.

Project Participants: City of Duluth; Hovland Concrete and Masonry; LHB Inc; Northland Constructors; Stark Preservation Planning LLC. 

Winona Main Street, Main Street Award 

Winona Main Street

Winona Main Street held a Progressive Dinner in 2013 as a fundraiser and incorporated community businesses along the way.  Each location visited is a historic building and on the local register of historic places. The idea of a Progressive Dinner is to have various parts of a meal at several locations. This Dinner visited the Winona National Bank, Winona County History Center, the Winona Masonic Temple and the Winona Public Library. It was a successful fundraiser for the organization but also an education opportunity for attendees to learn more about Winona Main Street. In addition, the center of attention was the historic Masonic Temple. This unique building is in need of repair and the Dinner provided a chance to bring more awareness to preservation needs in the heart of Winona. Winona Main Street plans to host a dinner again in 2014 based on the success of the Dinner in 2013. Community efforts such as Winona’s dinner encompasses many aspects of the Minnesota Main Street program and is worthy of honor.

Project Participants: City of Winona; Eastwood Bank; Minnesota State College Southeast Technical; Winona Area Chamber of Commerce; Winona County Historical Society; Winona National Bank; Winona Real Estate; Sport & Spine Physical Therapy.

Comments Closed