2009 Minnesota Preservation Awards

Milestones are cause for celebration and this year the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is celebrating its own landmark. This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Minnesota Preservation Awards—the Alliance’s annual program that recognizes outstanding projects, groups, and individuals that have made a significant contribution to the extensive list of Minnesota’s preservation accomplishments. From a community pancake breakfast to a multi-million dollar federal rehabilitation project, the 2009 Minnesota Preservation Awards presented on Wednesday, September 16, honored a diversity of preservation successes from across the state.

This year, a total of 43 Award nominations were received, representing everything from small, community-led projects to large-scale, high-profile rehabilitation efforts.  Over the past 25 years, nearly 300 projects across the state have received recognition through the Minnesota Preservation Awards program in the categories of adaptive reuse, addition/expansion, advocacy, archaeology, career achievement, community effort, education/interpretation, emerging leader, restoration/rehabilitation, stewardship, and sustainable design. A new category for preservation planning was also added this year. Awards are presented not on the basis of size or investment, but rather on the merit they provide to their community. To see a comprehensive list of all the past Minnesota Preservation Award winners, click on this link. The list is organized by region to help you find projects in your community.

To view the 2009 Minnesota Preservation Awards Press Release, click on this link. You may send this press release to your local news sources to further coverage of this year’s award winners.

Special thanks to the sponsors of the 25th Anniversary of the Minnesota Preservation Awards goes to:



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The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota is proud to recognize projects across Minnesota that demonstrate the link between revitalized historic properties and healthy, vital communities. The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota congratulates the following 2009 Minnesota Preservation Award winners and commends their work in preserving the historic assets that make our communities unique:

Copy of 01-ART-FRANKLIN-after - websiteFranklin Arts Center, Brainerd
Franklin Arts Center is an innovative adaptive reuse project blending artists’ living and working spaces with arts-related commercial development and community access spaces, all while preserving the historic Franklin Junior High School.

Built in 1932, Franklin Junior High School was decommissioned in 2005, and Artspace, a nonprofit real estate developer based in Minneapolis, acquired it. A two-year collaborative design effort on the parts of Artspace, the school district, the city, local artists, arts organizations, and Miller Dunwiddie Architecture resulted in a unique adaptive reuse of the building and site. The building’s north wing has primarily been developed into a commercial center for artists and arts organizations with retail, office, and studio spaces, while the west wing has 25 artist live/work studios for individuals and families. The school district also leases a portion of the building for school events and community use. This private/public partnership, which used federal historic tax credits, has ensured the longevity of this historic building and developed a highly accessible and dynamic learning community in the Brainerd Lakes area.

The Franklin Arts Center stands as a testament to the possibilities a historic structure can offer and how sensitivity to those possibilities results in meaningful and beautiful spaces for the future. The building opened in late 2008 and is currently filled with art-related businesses, activities, and artist tenants.

Owner: Artspace Brainerd Limited Partnership; Developer: Artspace; Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; Contractor: Langer Construction; Mechanical Engineers: LKPB; Electrical Engineers: LKPB; Structural Engineers: BKBM; Financier: US Bank, First Mortgage, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Country Housing Funds, and Federal Home Loan Bank; Roof Consultant: RoofSpec Inc.; Subcontractors: Holden Electric; Binder Heating & A/C; Onsite Mechanical; RM Mechanical Inc.; Private funding: Blandin Foundation; Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation; Bremer Bank, Brainerd office; Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District; Initiative Foundation; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mardag Foundation; Evelyn & Bill Matthies; Mid Minnesota Credit Union; Otto Bremer Foundation; and Jan & Charlie Sheets.

Full building w trees - websiteCentral Park Condominiums / Red Wing Central High School, Red Wing
The adaptive reuse of the former Red Wing Central High School into the Central Park Condominiums is an inspiring preservation victory and a model for the reuse of other historic schools across Minnesota. Constructed in 1916, the building functioned as a school until 1995 when Goodhue County acquired the property for the construction of a new judicial and law enforcement center. The historic school was slated for demolition to make room for a parking lot.

A 10-year battle ensued to save the building, which is a contributing property within the National Register-listed Red Wing Historic Mall District. The Red Wing Heritage Preservation Commission denied the county’s demolition request, and the building was eventually mothballed leading the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota to include the school on the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2004. That same year, Goodhue County advertised for developers interested in redeveloping the building. Community Strategies was selected for their proposal to restore/rehabilitate the former school building into 21 condominiums. The $7 million plus project involved a unique public/private partnership between Goodhue County, the City of Red Wing, the Red Wing Area Fund, and the developer. The developer was also able to take advantage of a federal tax deduction by donating a façade easement to the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

This creative private/public partnership is a model for other communities struggling to preserve historic school buildings and an example of how a historic building’s reuse can contribute to the economic health of a community’s downtown.

Developer: Community Strategies, LLC; Partners: Goodhue County, Red Wing Area Fund, and City of Red Wing; Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; General Contractor: Red Wing Construction; Interior Designer: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; Structural Engineer: Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Wass Inc.; Lighting Designer: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture and T2 Engineering; Mechanical/Electrical/ Plumbing Design: T2 Engineering; Financier: Associated Bank of Red Wing ; Additional project supporters: Red Wing Area Fund, Red Wing Heritage Preservation Commission, Central Park Condominiums Homeowner’s Association, City of Red Wing, Goodhue County, and Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

Noel Exterior_front - websiteKenwood Queen Anne, David Heide and Michael Crull, Minneapolis
When new owners purchased this stately Queen Anne home located in the historic Kenwood neighborhood, they wanted to preserve the home’s original architecture while also making it more functional for their busy family. Designed by Harry Wild Jones in 1892, the home was converted to a boarding house during World War II, leaving it without a full-scale, workable kitchen. It had also fallen into disrepair—many original details remained but were deteriorated or altered.

David Heide Design Studio was responsible for all aspects of architecture and interior design, completely renovating the original part of the home and creating a four-story addition. The main goals were to maintain the aesthetic integrity of the original house and to incorporate unobtrusive modern amenities. The home’s seamless addition and thoughtful renovation will ensure the life of this stately home for years to come.

Architect: David Heide Design Studio; Contractor: Welsh Forman Associates.

Darlene at Schultz Reunion - WebsiteDarlene Kotelnicki, Litchfield
Darlene Kotelnicki has long been an advocate for preservation. When the Litchfield Opera House was in danger, she urged the city to conduct a formal re-use study. She was so convinced of the building’s importance to the community that she, along with others, founded the Greater Litchfield Opera House Association, Inc., a nonprofit that purchased the Opera House for a single 1900 silver dollar. She is currently the chair of the association.

In the fall of 2007, Darlene was instrumental in forming a committee consisting of the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Litchfield, and business owners to gauge interest in the preservation of the Litchfield Historic Commercial District. A survey was conducted in December 2007, and owners of historic buildings nearly unanimously supported preservation efforts. In 2008, Darlene convinced the City Council to adopt a Historic Preservation Ordinance.

In April 2009, the City of Litchfield attained certified local government (CLG) status. Darlene proceeded to write and obtain grants for both the Opera House and the CLG, and she convinced the City of Litchfield to match an $8,000 grant for completing preservation guidelines and a historical survey. In addition, she coordinated the research and writing of a historical context report on the City of Litchfield. Darlene is attending the Leadership Conference for Preservationist in June.

Without her tireless efforts, the Opera House would have been lost and the future of Litchfield’s historic downtown commercial district would be in question.

exterior-after-1 - websiteGarden of Gethsemane Ministries and Stuart Ackerberg, Minneapolis
Charles Nelson Award for Excellence

On a hill overlooking Cottage Park in north Minneapolis, the Garden of Gethsemane Ministries has first-hand experience with renewal. In 2003, the Garden of Gethsemane Ministries bought a vacant and dilapidated 1908 church. After several years of aggressively searching for financial assistance to renovate the building, the predominantly Liberian community had made little progress toward the building’s rehabilitation.

When developer Stuart Ackerberg, who grew up in the neighborhood, learned about the project, he decided to give back to the community by personally guaranteeing financing of nearly $1 million for the Garden of Gethsemane Ministries—a tight budget for the work the church required. Construction consisted of remediation of mold and asbestos, restoration of interior and exterior woodwork, rebuilding of walls and staircases, installation of an accessible entrance and bathroom, and much more. Workers from various minority groups represented more than half of the workforce on the project.

The story is all the more impressive when the tenuous status of many in Gethsemane’s congregation is considered. As Liberians, many are in the United States on temporary protected status, which allows them to stay only as long as the situation in their home country remains precarious. The church’s restoration is a unique coming together of a congregation, community, for-profit and non-profit developers, and volunteers to revitalize a neighborhood landmark.

Owner: Garden of Gethsemane Ministries; Developer: The Ackerberg Group on behalf of Catalyst Community Partners; Architect of Record: Genesis Architecture; Design Architect: Stuart “SJ” Morgan, A.I.A.; Contractor: Welsh Construction; Structural Engineers: Mattson MacDonald Young; Mechanical Engineers: Modern Heating and Air Conditioning; Lighting Designer: Schuler Shook; Acoustical Consultant: Veneklasen Associates; Legal Representation: Gray Plant Mooty; Financier: Franklin National Bank and The Pohlad Family Foundation.

Swing Bridge Class Picture - Website

Simley High School Advanced Placement History Students—Rock Island Swing Bridge Advocacy Effort, Inver Grove Heights
Among the longest swing span bridges in the world and perhaps the only remaining swing bridge on the Mississippi River, the Rock Island Swing Bridge was designed as a combination railroad-highway bridge with a single track on the upper deck and a roadway on the lower deck. When the bridge was slated for demolition in June 2009 after spanning the Mississippi River since 1895, history students at Simley High School took action.

The students began an aggressive email campaign to Governor Pawlenty asking him to grant a moratorium on the demolition. A few days later, the governor signed a two-year moratorium and granted a $100,000 appropriation from the Minnesota Historical Society. Shortly thereafter, the project also received $1.3 million in federal stimulus money.

The students of Simley High School were instrumental in preserving a unique piece of local history. They held fundraisers, collected oral histories from long-time residents, and connected residents of Inver Grove Heights to the history of their community. The City of Inver Grove Heights is currently developing the remaining bridge span and adjacent riverfront land into a combined interpretive and recreation site that will restore the city’s connection to the river.

02 - Grain Terminal interior (after) - websiteCity House / Saint Paul Municipal Grain Terminal, Saint Paul
Built in the early decades of the twentieth century on the banks of the Mississippi River, the Saint Paul Municipal Grain Terminal has a strong connection to the region’s agricultural heritage and the development of the upper Mississippi River for commercial navigation.

However, as commercial milling on the riverfront waned in recent decades, the Saint Paul Municipal Grain Terminal suffered disrepair.

After years of dedicated investment, the City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation have restored and redeveloped the building into a regional trailhead with interpretive exhibits that tell the stories of community, commerce, and farm cooperatives on the upper Mississippi, and specifically in Saint Paul.

The Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation hired the 106 Group to develop an interpretive plan and research, write, and design interpretive exhibits at the building. A wide range of stakeholders came together to discuss and inform interpretation of the site. In the end, interpretation at the Grain Terminal is enhancing the site’s historical and industrial character and ensuring the building’s significant history is revealed to visitors.

Owner: City of Saint Paul; Developer: Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation; Interpretive Plan and Exhibit Design: 106 Group; Architect: Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd; Steering Committee: Historic Saint Paul; Exhibit Install: Blue Rhino Studio

Weaver House - websiteSarina Otaibi, Weaver House, Granite Falls
In 2005, the historic Julian Weaver House was listed as one of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. In 2008, Sarina Otaibi, an undergraduate college student, saved the house from demolition.

The Granite Falls Historical Society and the City of Granite Falls had looked for three years to find a buyer to no avail. In January 2008, just as the home was slated for demolition, Sarina offered to purchase it. In May 2008, she moved the home out of the floodplain, the original reason for the home’s potential demolition, to a new location about three blocks away in an area of older homes and mature trees. As part of the move, the home’s more recent back addition was removed, which improved its historical integrity.

The project did not end after the house was relocated; Sarina continues to restore the home. During the summer and fall of 2008, plumbing, electric, and heating were installed and a certificate of occupancy was issued. Sarina is removing carpet, stripping wallpaper, refinishing wood floors, and painting plaster walls. She is furnishing the house with period pieces and plans to rent it as a vacation home. Sarina plans to continue exterior restoration by removing vinyl siding, remodeling of the kitchen, and replacing woodwork where some of the baseboards have been removed. Her interest in history and restoration has inspired her to continue her education with a master’s degree in historic preservation at the University of Maryland.

Saint Paul Preservation Plan, Saint Paul
From 2007 to 2008, the City of Saint Paul, the 106 Group, Stark Preservation Planning, and local residents worked together to develop the city’s first historic preservation plan. As one of the earliest settled communities in Minnesota, Saint Paul has a wealth of historic resources ranging from ancient Native American archaeological sites and burial grounds to buildings, structures, and landscapes that illustrate the city’s history. Collectively, these resources define the character of the city, create a strong sense of place, and enhance quality of life for residents.

By adopting the Historic Preservation Plan in 2009, the city established its first long-term vision for preservation. During the planning process a wide range of stakeholders came together to develop a collective preservation vision for the city and to build consensus around priorities and strategies for preserving Saint Paul’s rich heritage. The plan establishes preservation goals and outlines policies that will help the city achieve its preservation goals over the next decade. Further, the plan identifies approaches to integrating historic preservation into broader planning processes, raising public awareness about the history of the city, and creating incentives that make the preservation of historic resources more economically viable.

As a result of the Historic Preservation Plan, the city will preserve more historic resources and use historic preservation as a tool to create a strong, economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable city that is a desirable place to live, work, and recreate for generations to come.

Owner: Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission; Consultants: 106 Group and Stark Preservation Planning, LLC.

Photo 4 - WebsiteEverett and Shannan Hughes, Red Wing
In 2007, Everett and Shannan Hughes were preparing to celebrate the restoration of their historic, Italianate home when disaster struck. A major fire engulfed the home, constructed in 1876, destroying much of the work they had just completed and causing major structural damage. Their home, the historic Joss-Willard House, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and locally designated by the City of Red Wing Heritage Preservation Commission. The damage to the house was so great that the insurance company determined it a complete loss and recommended that the house be demolished.

The Hughes’ commitment to the house, historic district, and community led them to proceed with the rehabilitation/restoration at their own cost. The extensive fire, smoke, and water damage to the roof required a complete reconstruction. Great care was taken to preserve the unique cornice and roof brackets and the eyebrow window hoods. On the exterior, damaged bricks were repaired or replaced. Damage to the interior also required an almost complete reconstruction. Architectural elements that could be salvaged were saved, and lost elements were replicated when possible, using original pieces as examples. The Hughes’ went to great lengths to acquire and mill Butternut to match the original woodwork. The project also included a historically sensitive addition on the rear of the structure.

Everett and Shannan Hughes restored and rehabilitated their historic home not once, but twice. They are a model of perseverance, for the benefit of their historic property and the community, despite major setbacks.

Owner: Everett and Shannan Hughes; Contractor/Designer: Ronel Builders.

12 UM Folwell Hall_After - websiteFolwell Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Folwell Hall, designed by Clarence H. Johnston, Sr., was built in 1907 and is recognized by the University Board of Regents as one of the most historic buildings on the Twin Cities campus. The building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Folwell Hall remains a vital component of the university by housing the largest concentration of classrooms on the East Bank Campus and four foreign language departments.

In 1999, Miller Dunwiddie Architecture was hired to prepare and implement a structural stabilization, exterior renovation, and interior adaptations of Folwell Hall. In 2006, the university was able to secure funding for the exterior restoration. The most complicated portion of the restoration was documenting the condition of nearly 6,000 pieces of terra cotta trim, then the repair or replacement of about 650 terra cotta units, including the 7-foot-high gargoyles located at the four corners of the building.

The exterior renovation was completed in the summer of 2008 and ensures that Folwell Hall continues to contribute to the original look and feel that the university intended around the turn of the century.

Owner: University of Minnesota; Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; Contractor: McGough Construction; Structural Engineer: Meyer Borgman and Johnson; Mechanical / Electrical Engineer: Erickson Ellison Associates; Civil Engineer: Kimley-Horn Associates; Landscape Architect: Damon Farber Associates; Roof Consultant: RoofSpec Inc.

Bridge 1 with VW - websiteSeven Bridges Road, Duluth
Originally built in 1911, six historic stone-arch bridges on Seven Bridges Road in Duluth, were suffering the effects of time, weather, and use. In 1996, LHB was hired by the City of Duluth to assess and rehabilitate or reconstruct the six stone-arch bridges. Extensive research into the history and design of the bridges helped the city to gain approval of the historical aesthetics and geometry of the bridges even though they do not meet current bridge standards.

Four of the historic bridges were reconstructed by using available modern bridge components to achieve the original historical character and to improve durability, life span, and safety. To recreate the bridges’ deteriorated concrete arch, a similarly sized, already approved, pre-cast concrete arch was used. Innovative cast-concrete headwalls, abutments, wing walls, railings, and pilasters were then designed around the approved arch to achieve the historical geometry. Salvaged stones from the original bridges formed the stone veneer.

The two additional bridges were rehabilitated using a similar process to the one used for reconstruction. The roadway surface was removed, all earth was dug out, and concrete repair to the top and underside of the arch was completed. All of the stone masonry joints were repaired and significantly deteriorated walls and railings were disassembled and rebuilt.

New and old engineering techniques preserved the historical integrity and character of the bridges while minimizing environmental impacts to the trout stream and surrounding woods.

Owner: City of Duluth; Architect: LHB, Inc.; Contractor: Northland Constructors; Contractor: Amendola Construction; Contractor: Redstone Construction; Contractor: Harbor City Masonry; Contractor: Jay Brothers Construction; Contractor: Hovland Masonry; Financier: Mn/DOT District #1.

BLDG 53_PAM - websiteFort Snelling Upper Post Stewardship and Stabilization, Hennepin County
The Fort Snelling Upper Post was named a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and has recently been on both the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s and the National Trust’s most endangered lists. Though Hennepin County does not own the Upper Post nor do they have any legal responsibility for it, the county and a core group of supporters have been instrumental in finding the resources necessary to stabilize the buildings.

Hennepin County’s involvement with the Upper Post began in 2006 with a Base Realignment and Closures grant, which helped document the buildings’ conditions. In that year, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) enlisted Sentence to Service (STS), which is a program that provides inmates leaving prison with vocational training. STS crews performed emergency repairs to secure the buildings against weather and vandals. In 2007, Hennepin County and the Minnesota DNR received a National Park Service Save America’s Treasures Grant, which provided funds for STS crews to mothball the buildings. Hennepin County also received a Johanna Favrot Grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to study the Upper Post’s cultural landscape. In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $500,000 to Hennepin County to repair buildings using STS crews. In 2009, Hennepin County initiated a master planning process. Beginning in 2008, Hennepin County also established the Fort Snelling Task Force to secure funding for stabilization and redevelopment efforts.

Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin has provided leadership and policy vision. Patrick Connoy, of Hennepin County’s staff, has secured grants and state bonding and has provided the glue to keep stewardship efforts moving forward.

Owner: State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Lead Stewards: Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin, Patrick Connoy – Hennepin County Senior Administrative Manager, Joe Witt – Hennepin County Sentence to Service Homes; Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture; Financier: State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, Federal Base Realignment and Closures Grant, National Park Service Save America’s Treasures Grant, and National Trust for Historic Preservation Johanna Favrot Fund Grant.

081002-0021a - websiteWarren Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Modernization, Saint Paul
The Warren E. Burger Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, built in 1966 in downtown Saint Paul, is a good example of mid-century design that adds a modernist touch to the city’s business district. After nearly 40 years of wear and tear, evolving building and communications technologies, and changing needs for accessibility and security, the building’s owner, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), decided it was time for a major makeover.

The GSA chose a team headed by Ryan Companies and architects Teng and Associates to undertake the restoration and rehabilitation of the building. The project involved reconfiguring the entrance lobby to incorporate security equipment, improving the exterior plaza and the interior passageways, and updating and reconfiguring the courtrooms to improve access, sightlines, and communications technologies. One major challenge was the restoration of the 16-foot walnut-veneer paneling in the 7th floor courtrooms. Although replacing the paneling would have been cheaper, the team decided on restoration because the paneled courtrooms are an important defining feature of the building. In addition to the restoration work, the project involved the addition of several new courtrooms and judges’ chambers constructed to align with the original building and courtroom designs.

Another important goal of the project was to make the courthouse a “green building” by making improvements in energy performance, lighting and temperature controls, indoor air quality, erosion control, and other environmental systems. As a result, the project has won a Green Building of America Award and expects to achieve a LEED Silver certificate rating.

Owner: U.S. General Services Administration; User Representative for Courts: Senior Judge Richard H. Kyle; Design Architect / Architect of Record: Teng + Associates; U.S. Courts Circuit Architects: Richard Gilyard, AIA, Russell Lewis, AIA; Contractor: Ryan Companies US, Inc.; Structural Design: Teng + Associates; MEP Engineers: Michaud Cooley Erickson; LEED Consultant: EcoDeep; Acoustics: Kvernstoen, Ronnholm + Associates; Custom Millwork Contractor: Ray Greco, FAIA.

M Swenson - websiteMark Swenson, Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Minneapolis
To ensure the successful preservation of cultural landmarks through their revitalization, Mark Swenson, FAIA, has forged collaborations with city business leaders, politicians and planners, preservationists, developers, and other architectural firms. His design savvy, sensitivity to preservation, and financial acumen have branded Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Inc. (ESG) as the region’s primary source for innovative, collaborative solutions for private sector historical preservation and adaptive re-use projects.

Swenson has led the ESG team in giving empty or underutilized historic buildings new life through their adaptive re-use into economically viable, 21st-century uses. Decades of professional experience in hotel design and mixed-use development enable Swenson to quickly assess historic buildings and their cultural and economic potential. Building on his reputation as one of the country’s leading hotel design authorities, Swenson has fostered a national practice in hotel design that includes 50 completed hotel developments in 35 cities in 13 states, while moving into the civic realm of urban renewal through the adaptive re-use of historic buildings. Each of the projects below is on the National Register:

• Milwaukee Road Depot (Minneapolis, Minnesota; completed 2001 with Shea Architects)
• Midtown Exchange (Minneapolis, Minnesota; completed 2006 with three other architects)
• The Westin Minneapolis (Minneapolis, Minnesota; completed 2007)
• W Minneapolis – The Foshay (Minneapolis, Minnesota; completed 2008)

The W Minneapolis won the Charles Nelson Award for Excellence in 2008, and was one of only three projects in the country to win a Platinum Level Reconstruction Award in 2009 from Building Design + Construction magazine.