2002 Minnesota Preservation Awards

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Each year, the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota bestows preservation awards to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations, and projects that exemplify the Alliance’s mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting Minnesota’s historic resources. The 2002 awards were presented on November 9, 2002 during the organization’s annual meeting at the Redeemer Missionary Baptist Church (itself a 2001 award winner for its fine restoration of the Purcell and Feick church).

Preservationist of the Year:

Mark G. Yudof

Lifetime Achievement Award:

Richard T. Murphy, Sr.

Anoka County History Center & Library

Ground was broken for a new Anoka County Library in 1965. Designed by the architectural firm of Griswold and Rauma, the building is an exceptional example of mid-century Modernism in the northern Metropolitan area. In 2000, the Library moved to a new structure, and the vacated building was leased to the Anoka County Historical Society by the City for one dollar. The building was redesigned to accommodate the collections and programs of the Historical Society under the direction of architect Jeff Oertel who managed to respect Griswold and Rauma’s open plan while providing for storage and exhibit space. Great care was taken to reuse as much as possible of the original library shelving for artifact storage, as well as many original chairs and tables. The Historical Society received assistance from the City of Anoka, Anoka County, and over 100 volunteers who helped move the collections.

Grain Belt Brewhouse Renovation

Restoration/Adaptive Reuse – From the time it was constructed in 1891, until the present day, the Grain Belt Brewhouse has been a treasured landmark for northeast Minneapolis, providing an awe-inspiring connection to the city’s industrial past along the Mississippi riverfront. Its recent restoration took the concerted effort of private and public entities, including the Ryan Companies, RSP Architects, the Minneapolis Community Development Corporation, and the unyielding commitment of the community. Preserving the remarkable architectural features of this structure, which had stood empty for 26 years, while converting it to contemporary use posed formidable challenges. This respectful renovation has renewed interest and confidence in northeast Minneapolis. Plans are already proceeding to convert the former Gast Haus into a library, and local non-profits are exploring ways to convert the adjacent warehouse into artist lofts. RSP Architects not only designed the renovation, but also moved its offices into the finished building.

Walnut Street Bridge
City of Mazeppa

Restoration Award – The walking bridge of Mazeppa dates back to 1904 when it was purchased from the W. S. Hewitt Co., for $3,775. The only other large scale bridge from this company that is known to exist is a 228 foot steel arch span bridge over the Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis. The Mazeppa bridge was not only an important crossing for the community, but also a vital link to the main road from Lake City to Rochester. The bridge served vehicle traffic from 1904 until 1922, when a new bridge was built. At this time, the old bridge was restricted to pedestrian traffic. In 1995, the bridge was closed following a county and state inspection. The Mazeppa Area Jaycees paid for a study to see if the bridge could be salvaged. Additional grants were received for the restoration work, from the State and DNR and the restoration of this landmark was completed in 2002.

Old Trondheim Norwegian Church

Restoration Award – The original Trondhjem Norwegian Church at Lonsdale, MN, was built in 1878, but the existing structure dates to 1899, when the nave was enlarged while keeping the old 1878 altar. The structure is a replica of a Norwegian stave church, with walls and ceilings adorned with stenciled decorative motifs executed in tempra. Recent restoration efforts removed inappropriate layers of paint, wall paper, paneling and tin ceilings. Large areas of damaged plaster, due mostly to infiltrating water, were re-plastered and the original murals were restored to their original appearance. The church is owned by the Trondhjem Community Preservation Society, Inc. Restoration work was directed by Dan Tarnoveanu.

Minneapolis City Council Chambers

Restoration Award – The original Minneapolis City Council Chamber, designed John Bradstreet, was completed in 1902. Bradstreet’s original design included a 72-foot vaulted Gothic ceiling painted blue with gold stars and eight chandeliers in the Rococo style. The Chamber was modified several times, including the installation of a mezzanine floor in 1923, and a 1955 modernization which covered the walls with dark wood paneling and added a false ceiling. In 2000, the City approved funding to restore the Chamber back to its 1923 appearance. Extensive research and physical investigation was undertaken. With the removal of the false ceiling and wood paneling, evidence of the 1923 ceiling, plaster moldings, and pilaster capitals were found with large sections of egg-and-dart motifs. The location of chandeliers and sconces were also discovered. Moldings were repaired where possible, and reproductions were made from molds of the original plaster. The room was painted after extensive paint analysis, and wall stencils were reproduced. Reproductions of two 1905 murals were installed, as well as accurate reproduction light fixtures and other decorative elements. Finally, a modern audio-visual component was installed while maintaining the historic appearance of the Chamber.

Milwaukee Depot

Adaptive Reuse – Among the most significant historical structures in Minneapolis is the century-old Milwaukee Road Depot at Third and Washington Avenue South. Since the last train left the Depot in 1971, the structure remained largely unused. It has recently been restored by CSM Corporation to its original beauty, and expanded into a complex that connects two hotels, an indoor water park, a restaurant and banquet facility, and a year-round enclosed ice-skating rink. A permanent interpretive center displaying Depot memorabilia and pictures has been located within the lobby of one of the hotels.

Grimm Farmhouse Restoration
Carver County

Restoration Award – While living in this 1875 house, Wendelin Grimm introduced “everlasting clover” to Minnesota, through the practice of using seeds brought from Germany. The significant role of the house in the development of our agricultural heritage is the basis of it being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is of the style and construction type known as the “Chaska Brick Farmhouse”. There are approximately 75 still remaining in Carver County. The Grimm Farmhouse is a classic example of this style, consisting of a two-story house core with a kitchen wing. The building had been unoccupied for several years due to significant structural deterioration. The building was stabilized and restored in several phases, and is now open as a house museum with tours about the man who revolutionized early Minnesota farming. The restoration consultants for the project were Miller Dunwiddie Architects.

St. Hubert House
Old Frontenac

Bed & Breakfast Award – St. Hubert House in Old Frontenac, where its six acres overlook Lake Pepin, is an architectural and historic gem. Now that it is a bed & breakfast, all Minnesotans may have the privilege of staying there and enjoying its newly restored character and heritage. It has the honor of being the first recipient of the Preservation Alliance’s new award recognizing historic Bed & Breakfast Inns in Minnesota. The Alliance initiated this award to recognize and promote “best practices” in the complex adaptation of historic buildings to the modern needs of a bed & breakfast inn, while retaining the structure’s historic character and appearance. St. Hubert House was built between 1855 and 1857 and is the oldest building nominated for a 2002 award. It is Minnesota’s only surviving example of the “French-American galleried style,” according to Roger Kennedy in Minnesota Houses: An Architectural & Historical View. The selection committee concluded that the adaptation demonstrates exemplary skill in incorporating modern conveniences while maintaining the house’s historic character. Original building details and furnishings were well-maintained and restored or, where necessary, original items were replicated with great care. Historic window sashes were restored, not replaced. As the nomination states, St. Hubert House demonstrates that you don’t have to compromise historic preservation in order to meet modern consumer demand. The recently completed restoration was made more difficult by a fire in 1998, shortly before the work was to begin. The project benefited from architectural plans drawn during a 1934 Historic American Buildings Survey of the house, which were located in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since the 1930s. The bed & breakfast adaptation followed the Secretary of the Interior’s “Standards for Rehabilitation” as a project officially certified by the National Park Service and the State Historic Preservation Office of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Lakeville Area Arts Center

Adaptive Reuse – In 1998, All Saints Catholic parish relocated from its downtown Lakeville site, which it had occupied since 1932, to larger facilities elsewhere in town. The vacated campus included an empty one-acre lot and five buildings. The City of Lakeville and the Downtown Lakeville Business Association initiated an effort to preserve the campus, focusing on the former church, which had become an important symbol in the community. Architectural services were donated for a re- use study and a detailed feasibility study undertaken. The recommendation came back to reuse the hall for a community arts center. An eight-member Art Center Advisory Board was created to oversee fundraising and programming plans. The City purchased the property in 1999 for $1.9 million and residents donated more than $150,000. After three years of planning and building, the newly-renovated Lakeville Area Arts Center opened in the former church, featuring an auditorium and performance space, as well as gallery and meeting rooms.

St. Paul Central Library
St. Paul

Restoration Award – At the recent opening of the Central Library, St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly noted, “This restored building is itself a work of art and a celebration of culture and learning, and its resources.” The renovation of the 85-year-old library building began three and a half years ago and required that the library be closed to the public for the past two years. It was supported by $15.9 million in public and private funding, including $5.8 million raised by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. This renovation was the first large-scale work done on the building since its construction in 1917. Many of the unique architectural features of the building were restored, such as hand painted ceilings, carved Mankato stone walls and compressed cork floors, while the building was also retrofitted to deliver 21st century computerized information services. One of St. Paul’s most historic structures, Central Library remains the largest facility in the St. Paul system and houses approximately 350,000 books. The architects for the project were Meyer, Scherer, & Rockcastle.

Newhouse 1897 Building
Pine Island

Restoration Award – The Newhouse Building is a commercial building on Pine Island’s Main Street dating back to 1897. Over the years, it had been “modernized”, and recently sat vacant while re-use proposals faltered. Sally and Vince Fangman purchased the building last year and proceeded with restoring the building to its original appearance. Inappropriate trim was removed, and the building was tuckpointed. Thermal paned arched glass windows were installed on the storefront, and a new entrance was fabricated similar to the original. The Fangman family personally designed the interior spaces, where they have now their surveying business. The second floor was totally remodeled into two apartments. This restoration project was nominated by the newly-created Pine Island Heritage Preservation Commission, which had not even had an opportunity to develop design guidelines when work started on the Newhouse Building. This project now serves as the model for restoration in this historic town.

Lake Harriet Restroom

Restoration Award – The historic men’s and women’s toilet buildings at Lake Harriet were designed by Harry “Wild” Jones and built in 1892. The buildings were left open to the elements and began to fall into disrepair. An ad-hoc neighborhood citizen group, which came to be known as “Spiff the Biff”, formed in June 1995, in order to assist the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Department in stabilizing and restoring the structures. Several thousand dollars were raised and the buildings were sealed. The committee was quite adept at raising awareness for the project and before long many volunteers were enlisted, and considerable funds were raised. The exterior of the women’s restroom was restored in the summer of 1999, after approximately $115,000 had been raised. Park Board maintenance staff restored the exterior of the men’s restroom during the summer of 2000. Site work, exterior painting, and construction of the interior of the women’s building were done during the spring and summer of 2002. The design features seven water closets and two lavatories in the women’s restroom, as well as two accessible “family”-style restrooms. The ornate fireplace room remains as the vestibule to the women’s restroom. Amid red balloons and red geraniums, the historic restrooms were dedicated in July 2002, as Mayor Rybak joined members of the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company in song.

Como Park Streetcar Passenger Depot
St. Paul

Restoration Award – The Como Park Streetcar Station was constructed in 1905 as part of an agreement between the City of St. Paul and the railway company to accommodate the streetcar alignment through Como Park. The railway company electrified the park and built the station and adjacent pedestrian bridge for park visitors. The rugged stone station with its clear span truss roof provided one large waiting room with a corner fireplace. In 1919 the streetcar station was altered to serve as the offices of the park police, and later housed the city’s forestry department. This adaptive re-use and restoration, led by the architectural firm of Hokansen/Lunning/Wende, was made possible through an ISTEA grant. The Station now provides an exhibit/meeting space, offices for park employees, and new restrooms. The renovation returned the ceiling to its original height. The exterior stonework was cleaned and restored, and new windows installed in keeping with the original design. The landscape plan was designed by landscape architects of the Parks Department, and recalls the original purpose of the station by providing a terrace where trains once stopped, so that visitors approach the building as it was originally viewed. An interior exhibit revealing the history and development of the park and streetcar system was researched by the 106 Group, and designed by architects Hokanson/Lunning/Wende.