2015 Minnesota Preservation Award Winners

Below are our 2015 Minnesota Preservation Award Winners. These individuals and projects were honored at our 31st annual awards ceremony on October 8th, 2015, held at the beautiful St. Paul Athletic Club. Congratulations!

President’s Award

John Herman – A central figure in Minnesota real estate development for over 25 years, John has been instrumental in the development of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s most effective real estate tool, the investment partnership.

Executive Director’s Award

Carolyn Sundquist – The heart and soul of the preservation movement in Duluth and Minnesota, Carolyn has been striving to demonstrate the value of historic places such as the Duluth Armory and Granitoid streets to people living and working in her community.

Honor Awards

Henderson School


From its opening in 1900 as the only public school in the city of Henderson, the Henderson School quickly became an important community center, educating not only the town’s youth, but also bringing together families throughout the community to join together in concerts, sporting events, adult education, and witnessing generations grow up and old.  After the school closed in 1992, several unsuccessful attempts at redevelopment failed, leaving the building empty, gutted, and eventually slated for demolition.  However, a committed group of residents determined to save the community building, formed the 1900 Henderson School Restoration Group, which eventually was able to rehabilitate the building, preserving its original beauty—and purpose.  In the fall of 2014, the Henderson school reopened to its new tenants, the students of the Minnesota New Country School, to once again fill the building with the sounds of children learning, playing, and growing up and old.

Project Contributors: 1900 Henderson School Restoration Group, I & S Group, Hoisington Preservation Consultants, Fedstar Financial, and Home Federal Savings Bank

Mayowood Mansion


The Mayowood Mansion was designed and built in 1910 by Dr. Charles Horace Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic. In 1965, the Mayo family donated the property to the History Center of Olmsted County, who operated it for nearly 50 years along with the help of the Friends of Mayowood Residence and Historic Sites, who worked to connect people to the history of the mansion and the Mayowood Historic District.  Significant infrastructure challenges, including the settlement of the northwest corner of the mansion, became too difficult for the History Center to manage. In 2013 Mayo Clinic acquired the property, undertaking efforts to stabilize, restore and update the mansion, including stabilizing the foundation, raising the porch to its original position, restoring the windows and bringing the interior and exterior finishes back to their historic condition.  In partnership with Mayo Clinic, the History Center of Olmsted County has retained 120 days per year for public programming and access to continue connecting people to this unique historic place.  .

Project Contributors: Mayo Clinic, Structural Design Group, Olmsted Country History Center, and HGA Architects and Engineers

Pioneer Endicott


Since 1890, the Pioneer Endicott has been home to a variety of uses from law firms, restaurants, horse stalls and the offices of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The news ownership group consisting of Rich Pakonen and Clint Blaiser had a vision for adaptive reuse of the building. They wanted to turn an abandoned set of buildings and give it new life as housing to increase the vitality of St. Paul’s, downtown community. The stewardship involved by the owners will enable the community it has built within the walls to thrive as the owners have committed to being in the building for the long hall, and to be part of the management to watch the building grow and prosper.

Project Contributors: Pioneer Endicott, McDonald and Mack, Crowe Construction Management, Heritage Preservation, Advanced Masonry Restoration, Inc., and Landscape Research, LLC


Last Call for the Mitchell Yards

Last Call

The Mitchell Yards was constructed in 1906 as a rail station just a few miles northeast of Hibbing, MN that served a vital role as a staging grounds during World War I and II, moving iron ore off the Iron Range to the battle lines. Mitchell Yards closed in the 1960s after steel production slowed and the rail center quickly deteriorated. Around 2006, current owner David Aho took it upon himself to purchase the property and has dedicated his time, money and sweat towards cleaning up and preserving the last remaining structure in the Yards, the Mitchell Engine House and Machine Shop.  Last Call for the Mitchell Yards is a documentary film by WDSE (PBS North) and producer Karen Sunderman, who has artfully woven together photography, poetry, and music to tell the story of the Mitchell Yards and the narrative of the people that have brought the site to life throughout the years. The documentary uniquely connects people to this historic place through art, media and storytelling and highlights both the history of the site and the efforts to preserve this special place.

Project Contributors: WDSE, Mitchell Yards, MN Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, Dan Turner – photography, Sheila Packa – poetry, Paul Seeba/Charlie Parr – music, Karen Sunderman – producer, Steve Ash – director, and Lance Haavisto – photographer

Impact Awards

Fort Snelling


This project is helping to return one of the most important historic sites in our state’s history to a viable and honorable re-use, providing housing for homeless veterans. This initial phase is reviving this historic site to an exciting community for military personnel that have sacrificed so much for our country and leading to additional development at Fort Snelling’s Upper Post that will further revive these long abandoned structures.

Project Contributors: Sand Companies, Miller Dunwiddie Architecture, and Commonbond Communities


Rayette Lofts


The Rayette Lofts has seen many uses, from dry goods sales, to development of the famous “Aqua Net” hairspray, to a parking garage. The building was  most recently acquired by Sherman Associates, who saw the potential of this historic building and converted the underutilized structure into apartments. November 2014 saw the opening of 88 loft apartments, with first-floor commercial space currently in use by a local restaurant.

Project Contributors: Sherman Associates, Kaas Wilson Architects, Anderson Companies, Hess, Roise and Company, and National Window Associates


Roosevelt Bridge


The Roosevelt Bridge is significant for its unique combination of concrete arches with a masonry substructure. The aesthetics of the Roosevelt Bridge reflect the skills, artistry, and construction methods of the multiple tradesmen involved with the project. The bridge is also significant for its association with the Civil Works Administration (CWA), a New Deal agency of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. This project shows how passionate individuals, communities, and organizations can come together to restore a historic structure.

Project Contributors: LHB, Corp, Mead & Hunt, MnDOT CRU, MnDOT State Aid Office, Mower County, and Global Specialty

Soo Line Building City Apartments


Once the tallest building in downtown Minneapolis, the Soo Line was later converted into office space, chopping the building into small offices, dropping the ceilings, and covering the beautiful marble floors with carpeting. Village Green and BKV Group restored the Soo Line to its elegance and grandeur while giving the building a modern update and converting its use to residential apartments. This project also received the National Association of Home Builder’s Green Building Standard designation.  The central location of this grand historic building in Minneapolis’s downtown corridor and its reuse as apartments ensures the community

Project Contributors: Village Green, BKV Group, Frana Companies, and US Bank