Preservation Awards Announced for 6 Iowa Communities

    DES MOINES – A historic home in Cedar Falls, a post office in Perry and a church building in Remsen are just a few of the projects that were honored with a Preservation Project of Merit Award from the State Historical Society of Iowa during this year's 2017 Preserve Iowa Summit in Fort Dodge.

    The awards recognize projects that exemplify the best of historic preservation practices, meet the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings and use the State Historic Preservation and Cultural and Entertainment District Tax Credit Program.

    The list of this year's award recipients follows:

    Judith A. McClure Award

    Recognizes outstanding preservation of a residential property.

    Daniel and Margaret Wild House, Cedar Falls

    This Queen Anne style house was built in 1895 and was designed by local architect and builder William A. Robinson. The recent rehabilitation included exterior painting reinstating a period-inspired color scheme. Interior work included rehabilitation of the kitchen which preserved the historic pine cabinets and woodwork. The current owner and person responsible for this latest rehabilitation has lovingly cared for this house and has made an important contribution to its preservation.

    Adrian D. Anderson Award (2015)

    Recognizes outstanding historic preservation of a project having total qualified costs of $500,000 or less.

    La Poste - Perry Post Office

    The U.S. Post Office in Perry, built in 1913, is a beautiful example of Beaux-Arts classicism. The building was used as a post office until the 1960s when it was purchased by the local school district which used it for administrative offices and classrooms. By 2012, the building was vacant, in disrepair and in need of a new use. A group of local women purchased the building and began the process to bring the building back to its original appearance. As La Poste, the building now serves as an events space for weddings, workshops, receptions and other special occasions. In 2016, the building was used for more than 120 events which drew out-of-town visitors to Perry making this building an economic engine and a place of pride for the community.

    Adrian D. Anderson Award (2016)

    Recognizes outstanding historic preservation of a project having total qualified costs of $500,000 or less.

    Blair House, Washington

    Built in 1880 by real estate developer Winfield Smouse, the house is named after the Blair family, a later owner. Locally, it is known as Terrace Hill’s “little sister.” In the 1970s, the house was tagged for demolition but local preservationists worked to save the building. An important example of the French Second Empire architectural style, one of the Blair House’s most important features is its mansard roof. Over the years, the ornamental iron cresting had been removed and the polychrome slate had been replaced with asphalt shingles. This project involved replication of the historic roof with an EcoStar polychrome slate substitute and restoring the iron cresting on the roof. This building is located on Highway 92 at the city’s busiest intersection and across the street from the recently rehabilitated State Theatre. It truly is a Washington landmark.

    Margaret Keyes Award (2015)

    Recognizes outstanding historic preservation of project having total qualified costs of more than $500,000.

    5th Street Lofts (Sieg Iron Company), Davenport

    The Sieg Iron Company began as a wholesale distributor of heavy hardware and parts for wagons and carriages. This 1916 building was constructed to accommodate the growing company and to provide additional warehouse space. Over time, however, windows were boarded up, other windows were secured with security bars, and bad repairs had been made to the masonry. As part of the rehabilitation, exterior masonry was restored, the windows were reopened and the historic entrance was restored. Today, the building has 33 apartments that capitalize on the building’s historic architectural features and materials. This project is the fifth and final piece of a larger plan for the Historic Crescent Warehouse District.

    Margaret Keyes Award (2016)

    Recognizes outstanding historic preservation of project having total qualified costs of more than $500,000.

    St. Mary’s Church, Remsen

    St. Mary’s Church, with its 158-foot tall spire, is an important landmark in the town of Remsen, population 1,600. Since its construction in 1904, time had taken a toll on the building. Crumbling stone, deteriorated mortar and ornamental copper elements at the roof all needed restoration. The roof also needed to be replaced in order to stop water damage on the interior. The roof was restored with black slate and 16 new copper spires and finials were replicated. Stone trim was also replaced where necessary. The copper gutters were also replicated and the masonry was carefully repointed. The rehabilitation has been an inspiration for the congregation and the Bishop who enjoys bringing visitors to the church. This project has also inspired a second phase of work that will entail restoration of the stained glass windows and a new HVAC system for the church.

    William J. Wagner Award

    Recognizes the historic preservation project that best exemplifies use of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation

    American Republic Insurance Company, Des Moines

    The American Republic Insurance Company Building was designed by the internationally renowned architect Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill. When completed in 1965, the building was heralded for its 90-foot clear spans, efficient working environment and dramatic setting for the company’s collection of modern art. While few architectural changes had been made to this building since its construction in 1965, many of the systems were failing and needed to be replaced. The building's original heating system was located at the ceiling and this ductwork also supported the indirect lighting. This heating/lighting system has been faithfully replicated with the addition of a sprinkler system which is not visible from the floor. Finishes including marble, tile, glass partitions and hardware have been restored throughout. The owner of the American Republic Insurance Building has called this project an “invisible rehabilitation” where the intent of the original architect and his client has been honored and respected. The jury agrees and congratulates American Enterprise Group on this extraordinary rehabilitation of this extraordinary building.

    In addition, the nonprofit group Preservation Iowa presented its Preservation At Its Best Awards in nine categories during the Preserve Iowa Summit:

    • Burlington: Commercial Large: Walnut Tire Globe Building,
    • Des Moines; Bent River Brewery. Cedar Rapids: Community Effort: Frankie House.
    • Clinton: Adaptive Use: Roosevelt School Apartments.
    • Des Moines: Commercial Small: Green & Main (H&H Grocery).
    • Des Moines: Multi-Family Residential: Franklin Apartments.
    • Iowa City: Personal Residential: Kaufman House.
    • Newton: Preservationist of the Year: Newton Historic Preservation Commission
    • Osceola: Public Structure: Osceola Burlington Northern Depot.
    • Tabor: Rural Preservation: The Revered John Todd House.
    • Waterloo: Sustainability in Preservation: Wonder Bread Building.
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    The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations. 

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