Below are the winners of our 2015 Awards for Excellence. Feel free to congratulate them on a job well done.
Medallion Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
Save our Stage, Brown Grand Opera House, Concordia (Cloud County)
Multi-year projects are nothing new in the world of historic preservation, but occasionally a project comes along that spans from years into decades, with incredible results. The Brown Grand Opera House was built in 1905-1907 by “Colonel” Napoleon Bonaparte Brown, a colorful local businessman who had arrived in Concordia in 1876 from Missouri with his bride Katherine and a rumored suitcase full of money. Brown’s generosity for the community was believed to have been spurred by the construction of rival opera houses in nearby Beloit and Lincoln. Construction of the theater was overseen by his son, Earl Van Dom Brown. At a total cost of $40,000, the theater, built of local limestone and bricks, held its grand opening on September 17, 1907. Only four years after the opening, both Colonel Brown and his son Earl were dead, leading to a long list of other owners and uses, its final use being as a movie theater until the last showing in 1974. A year earlier, in 1973, the theater was listed on the National Register, and in 1975 it passed into the ownership of the City of Concordia, its restoration being selected as a community Bicentennial Project. Phase I of the project, consisting of an exterior restoration, began in 1976, including a new roof and the restoration of the façade back to its original appearance. Phase II followed, with a complete interior restoration including plaster repair, gold leaf stenciling, and the reproduction of the original painted “Napoleon” curtain that had been water damaged in a tornado. The most recent project, in 2014, included a structural upgrade of the stage, along with backstage facility improvements. The final result after over 30 years of community effort is a fully modern theater, appearing just as it did on opening night in 1907.
State historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.
The project team included: The City of Concordia, Abram Concrete, Alsop Sand Company Inc., Brown Enviro-heating & Plumbing, Campbell & Johnson Engineers, Central Kansas Electric, Dudley Williams and Associates P.A., Gopher Stage Rigging, Heartland Scenic, J.R. Robl Grantwriting, Kansas Coring & Cutting LLC, Martin Eby Construction, Peltiers Foundry & Machine, Pryor Automatic Fire Sprinkler Inc., R & L Fire & Security Specialists LLC, Service Master of NCK, Tom’s Music House, Duclos Foundation, Kansas State Historical Society, Cloud County Convention & Tourism, Community Foundation for Cloud County, and the Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism.
Save our Stage, Brown Grand Opera House, Concordia, Team: Chris Johnston, KPA, Senator Elaine Bowers, Larry Uri, Monte Wentz, Marlesa Roney, Everett Miller, Susie Haver, Susan Sutton, Mark McAfee, Paul Rimovsky, Bob Drake.
Medallion Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
Dillon House Restoration, Dillon House, Topeka (Shawnee County)
“None come too early, none stay too late,” Hiram Price Dillon inscribed on the entry hall fireplace mantel of his 1913 home at 9th and Harrison Streets in Topeka. He had swapped his existing home and an undisclosed amount of cash for the location. After the swap, Dillon worked to design and build a new home on the property which afforded his family a great view of the recently completed Kansas Statehouse to the east. In addition, the larger home allowed Dillon and his wife, Susie, to host parties and gatherings. The home showcased their extensive art and antique collections acquired on their many trips to Europe. The family owned the home until 1941, when the contents were auctioned and the building was acquired by the American Home Life Insurance Company, which converted it to their headquarters offices. The First Presbyterian Church was the next to acquire the house, using it as a community house for a time before planning to demolish it as part of a church expansion in 1989. Historic Topeka facilitated a conversation between First Presbyterian and the State of Kansas which resulted in a property swap to rescue the building in 1997. For a decade following the swap, the ﬁrst ﬂoor of the Dillon House was used for meetings, gatherings, and events. In 2012, the house again faced the possibility of demolition, and in 2013 the house was purchased by Pioneer Group in a State auction, with the intent of creating an office for Pioneer Group and its companies, as well as opening the house to the public as an event space. Exterior work included reconstruction of the original pergola porch on the east of the house, masonry repointing and cleaning, clay tile roof repair, new gutters and downspouts, new replica windows, existing window repair, and trim repair and painting. Interior work included full mechanical and electrical upgrades, extensive plaster repair, structural reinforcement, a new elevator shaft, and recreations of original finishes. After surviving the threat of demolition twice, this piece of Topeka’s history has been restored to its former glory.Federal historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.
The project team included: Pioneer Group Inc.; Historic Preservation Partners, Treanor Architects; Bartlett & West Inc, Lattimer Sommers & Associates, Professional Engineering Consultants, Woltkamp Construction Company, and Spencer Preservation.
Dillon House Restoration, Shawnee, Team: Mark Burenheide, KPA, Vance Kelley, Ian Pitts, Senator Laura Kelly, Ross Freeman, Shawn McGarity, Brenda Spencer, Rick Kready
Medallion Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
Lyons House Project, Dr. E. A. Lyons House, Norton (Norton County)
The Dr. E.A. Lyons House, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, was built by Lyons in 1888 as his home, including the office for his dental practice. Lyons had arrived in Kansas in 1871 as a homesteader, and arrived in Norton by covered wagon in 1885. A prominent civic leader, he helped build and manage the Opera House, and was involved with the Masonic Lodge. The house, one of the first brick homes in the city, has two front doors, one for the residence and one for the business. Around 1915, Lyons added a bathroom and screened-in porch on the northwest side of the first floor, and also added a basement to replace the old cellar. These changes allowed another bedroom to be added on the second floor. A second-floor bathroom was added in the 1940s. Prior to the rehabilitation, the house had fallen into disrepair. Work performed included restoration of the front doors, repair or replacement of porch pillars, creation of replica wagon wheel porch trim, removal and relaying of brick, and tuckpointing. Windows were removed, repaired, and reinstalled, and storm windows were added for functionality. Interior walls were re-plastered, while the first floor woodwork was stripped, repainted, and reinstalled. An ADA compliant entry ramp was installed via the addition of a second porch to the southwest side of the building, with trim replicating that of the original front porch. The home can now serve a renewed life as offices, just as it did for Dr. E. A. Lyons beginning nearly 130 years ago.
A 2010 Heritage Trust Fund grant, as well as financing from the Norton County Community Foundation and an FHL Bank 2013 Jobs Grant, were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.
The project team included: Norton County Community Foundation, Schamber Historic Preservation, Norton Correctional Facility, Garrett’s Heating, Plumbing & Electric, Prestige Drywall, Luther Construction, Scott Evans Construction, Mid-Continental Restoration, 4-D Construction, Mike Gnad Masonry Construction, Don’s Floor Covering, A Place for Everything, Skrdlant Welding, Cornerstone Building & Design, Roger Goltl Plastering, D and B Machine Works, and Roy Construction.
Lyons House Project, Norton, Team: Representative Travis Couture-Lovelady, Scott Sproul, Lisa Brooksher, KPA, Norman Nelson, Colette Miller, Gloria Nelson, Len Schamber, Tara Vance, Linus Schamber.
Preservation Merit Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
Marshall Theatre Historical Rehabilitation, Marshall Theatre, Manhattan (Riley County)
Having served multiple purposes over the years, a building can often find itself in need of an overhaul. The Marshall Theatre in Manhattan was no different. Built in 1909 and designed by architect Carl Boller, a well-known Midwestern theater designer, the two-story brick building containing an 1100 seat theater was regarded as one of the top theaters in the region. Sold to the Dickinson movie theater chain in 1921, the building passed to JC Penney’s in 1960. When JC Penney’s left the building in 1987, it then served as a Dollar General, City Farmers market, a church, a salon, and several offices before the recent rehabilitation. Work performed included removal of the tile and stucco from the original exterior brick, tuckpointing of the brick, and removal and rework of all exterior doors and windows to closely match the original, historic openings. Inside, the entire mechanical and electrical systems were replaced to meet code, all while tenants still occupied the building. The tenant spaces were completed with modern finishes and construction to meet the tenant needs. However, on the 2nd floor a quarter of the original wood flooring was rejuvenated to provide a floor finish for two tenants. A new ADA compliant entrance required the addition of new supporting walls and footings in the basement. After extensive upgrades, the Marshall Theatre is able to continue serving as an important part of Manhattan’s downtown district.
The project team included: Icon Investments, Bowman Bowman Novick, LST Consultants, and Ron Fowles Construction.
Marshall Theater, Riley, Team: Tim Bruce, Adam Crowl, Mel Borst, KPA, Representative Sydney Carlin, Brent Bowman, Ward Morgan, Brenda Morgan.
Merit Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
Stone House at Prairiewood, Samuel Kimble Farmstead, Manhattan (Riley County)
The simple Kansas farmstead is a common sight across the state, and the Samuel Kimble Farmstead in Manhattan is an example typical to the Flint Hills. Samuel Kimble was an early pioneer in the Manhattan area, having moved from Ohio in 1857 to work as a carpenter and stonemason at Ft. Riley. In 1860, he moved his family from Ohio and began building the stone house and farm buildings on the farmstead west of Manhattan in 1860. The two story limestone house was constructed 1860-61, nestled against the hillside such that the hill helped to keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. A two-story gabled addition also of stone was added to the west side of the original house in the1880s. In later years, the Kimble house fell into disrepair when the descendants who owned the farmstead moved from the area in the 1940s. The house was abandoned and left vacant for over 20 years. In the 1970s when Robert and Joan Page purchased the property, neighboring farmers were using the house to store hay and for sheltering piglets. The Pages cleaned up the house and did some rehabilitation work in order to make a comfortable home for their family. Mr. Page had been using one of the barns as a studio until a fire in 1990 destroyed it, leaving only the limestone shell. As part of the rehabilitation, the 1970s interior finishes and appliances were replaced with historically appropriate fixtures, including a freestanding hutch with sink for the kitchen cabinets and a custom-built refrigerator designed to look like an ice box. Non-historic carpet flooring was replaced with reclaimed wood, and the original second floor wood flooring was retained. As originally the house would not have had electric lighting, that which was installed was designed to be discreet, and in more visible locations period-appropriate fixtures were selected. Outside, the buried spring that originally ran through the front yard was uncovered, thousands of square feet of hand-stacked native stone retaining walls on the site were restored, and the shell of the burned barn was turned into an outdoor patio space.
The project team included: Go Katz Properties LLC, and Capstone 3D Development Group.
Stone House at Prairiewood, Samuel Kimble Farmstead, Team: Becky Katzenmeier, Jenny Danenbury, KPA.
Medallion Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
St. Thomas Historic Residences, Thomas County Hospital, Colby (Thomas County)
The WPA expanded services to rural communities throughout America in the projects it built, and the St. Thomas Hospital in Colby is an example of one of those projects. Built in 1941, the hospital was constructed of local brick salvaged from the old high school that originally stood on the site. The 3‐story hospital had a hipped red clay tile roof and 6/1 double‐hung wood windows. The raised central entrance was modern in design with ashlar stone with brick banding contrasting with the Georgian Revival‐style building. An addition was built in 1948 that included emergency facilities and a polio ward. A two-story chapel was also included as part of the expansion. The chapel helped blend the modern style of the addition into the original building by incorporating a clay tile roof. The hospital closed in the 1970s, leaving the building subject to the usual forces of historically insensitive remodeling and eventual abandonment. SWD Architects developed an adaptive design for 30 new affordable apartments that maintains the historically significant areas within the original building. The adaptive reuse design preserves the original circulation path and historic details throughout the building while also incorporating a large portion of the original layout in the new apartment floor plan.
Federal and state historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.
The project team included: Cohen Esery Affordable Partners LLC, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, Stark Wilson Duncan Architects Inc., Travois Design & Construction Services LLC, Bob D. Campbell & Company Inc, Hoss & Brown Engineers Inc, Construction Technologies LLC, Spencer Preservation, R4 Capital LLC, City of Colby, and PreservingUS, Inc.
St. Thomas Historic Residences, Thomas County Hospital Team: David Brown, Casey Steiner, Kathy Herzog, KPA, Tim Wilson, Mayor Gary Adrian, Tim Quigley, Brenda Spencer, Brian Hall, Angela Morehead.
Honor Award for Excellence in Preservation
Turnhalle Preservation, Lawrence Turnhalle, Lawrence (Douglas County)
Historic preservation projects are often buildings that once served as centers for their communities. Turnhalle in Lawrence is a special example of one such building, serving as the center of the local German community, the largest immigrant group to populate Lawrence in the 19th century. Standing in frontier contrast to the more elaborate Turnhalles that still stand in major metropolitan areas, the rusticated stone structure in Lawrence was built in 1869, eight years after statehood and only six years after Quantrill’s Raid destroyed most of the city’s downtown. Failing significantly when purchased by the Lawrence Preservation Alliance (LPA), in September 2012, LPA planned and secured funding for a major stabilization project. LPA recognized that a revived Turnhalle would serve as a key element in remembering the powerful stories of immigration in our rich cultural past, not just for Lawrence and Douglas County, but for the Midwest and the entire country as well. Work performed included commissioning of a Historic Structure Report, clearing the building of years of accumulated junk, structural repairs to beams and trusses, repairs to parapet walls, a new roof, stone foundation repairs, replacement of door sills, siding, eaves and soffits. Decorative brackets were repaired and reinstalled; new half round gutters and fluted downspouts installed. A building that was failing from neglect and infiltration of water was stabilized, made water tight and sold to a new owner. A Historic Preservation Covenant running with the land was put in place to ensure it, and with it the German heritage of Lawrence, will be protected into the future.
State historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation, as well as grants from the National & Cultural Heritage Program, Douglas County Board of Commissioners, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Douglas County Community Foundation, and the Sherry Miller Charitable Trust.
The project team included: Lawrence Preservation Alliance, Dunfield Design, openhanddesign, Bartlett & West Engineers, Trettel design + build, and Treanor Architects.
Honor Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation
Wiley Plaza Rehabilitation, Wiley Building, Hutchinson (Reno County)
In 1912, dry goods merchant Vernon Wiley announced plans to build an 8-story concrete and steel skyscraper that would be twice as tall as any other building in downtown Hutchinson at the time. Searching for $350,000 in funding, Wiley traveled to New York with building plans in hand. After multiple rejections, he successfully piqued the interest of Chase Manhattan Bank. Local lore tells that the president of Chase Manhattan said, “If you have nerve enough to build an eight story skyscraper out in the middle of the prairie, we ought to have the nerve to lend you the money.” After being built utilizing the newest in electric power tools and a 24-hour construction schedule, 10,000 people flocked to the grand opening. Wiley’s new store occupied the first four floors, with a tea room on the mezzanine. Over 90 office suites occupied the remainder of the building. With the closing of the Wiley store in 1990, the building sat vacant until the present rehabilitation of the first floor for commercial tenant space, and floors 2-9 for housing. Exterior work included replacement of non-historic windows with new thermal one-over-one sash windows to reflect the original glazing pattern and profile, replacement of non-historic storefronts with historically appropriate aluminum storefronts, and restoration of terra-cotta. Although many of the character-defining features on the building’s interior had been compromised in past remodeling projects, those features that remained, including the open character of the first-floor commercial spaces, historic circulation patterns and historic corridor finishes, including terrazzo floors on the upper levels, were preserved.
Federal historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.
The project team included: Wiley Plaza LLC, WDM Architects, MKEC Engineering Consultants Inc, Key Construction, Davis Preservation, First National Bank of Hutchinson, WNC & Associates, Inc, Historic Preservation Partners, Inc., Manske & Associates, LLC, and the City of Hutchinson.
Wiley Plaza Rehabilitation, Wiley Building, Hutchinson, Team: Chris Johnston, KPA, Gregory Hand, Jay Manske, Wes Darnell, Rick Kready.
Honor Award for Excellence in Restoration
W. R. Gray Studio Restoration, W. R. Gray Studio, St. John (Stafford County)
A highly unique building type, the W. R. Gray photography studio in St. John was built in 1900, and was the first structure in the state of Kansas built specifically as a photo studio. Containing both the studio storefront at the street and the residence at the rear, the wood framed building served continuously as a photography studio for 76 years. A unique large sloping window in the middle of the building allows plenty of natural light into the studio space. Gray specialized in glass-plate photography, and worked in the studio from 1905-1947. Gray’s daughter Jessie worked with him, and continued using the building as a photo studio until 1981. After being neglected for several years, water damage from a failed roof had destroyed 320 square feet of the original dark room area, leaving a hole in the roof and the floor. The purpose of the project was to repair the roof, stabilize the structure and repair the exterior envelope of the building. Work performed on the exterior included a new roof, painting and repair of the original wood siding, and restoration of exterior window sashes and doors. Inside, the dark room area was demolished and rebuilt, while the front wall was left in place and repaired. Outside, trees growing too close to the house were removed and a parking lot was added to provide better drainage away from the house to the street. Thanks to this work, this unique building will continue to stand on the Main Street of St. John.
The project team included: Gray Photo Studio, the Gray Photo Studio Restoration Board, Sutherland Builders Inc, William Morris Associates Architects, Mike Saylor, Mark Batchman Construction, Smiley Concrete, and Davis Electrical Inc.
W. R. Gray Studio Restoration, W. R. Gray Studio, St. John, Team: Barbara Poresky, KPA, Tim Sutherland, Brennan Aleman, Randall Tucker