Awards Laud Historic Preservation Projects

Seven historic preservation projects will be honored by the Fresno City Council next week as outstanding examples of local restoration and rehabilitation efforts. Six of the projects are located in the downtown area, reflecting continued investment in the City’s central core.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin will present the 2010 Historic Preservation Awards on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in City Council chambers. The awards recognize individuals or groups who have demonstrated excellence in the restoration of an historic building or leadership in preservation planning or neighborhood revitalization.

Three projects are being honored in the category “Outstanding Rehabilitation of a Residential Property.” These include:

• The restoration of a home at 1338 N Street, which was built in 1886 and is one of the oldest homes in downtown Fresno. (Owner James Done);

• The restoration of the 1903 George and Adelphia Rowell home located in the Jefferson Neighborhood (Housing Authorities of the City and County of Fresno and Felix Haro Construction);

• The restoration of two of Fresno’s earliest working class cottages located at 164 N. Echo in the Lowell Neighborhood. The homes will be rented to low-income families with the proviso that their historic character is protected (City of Fresno Housing Division, Marko Solutions and Johnson Architecture).

Two projects will be recognized for outstanding “Rehabilitation of a Non-Residential Property.” These include:

• The restoration of the 1923 San Joaquin Light and Power Company Building located at 1401 Fulton Street (Tutelian & Company);

• The façade restoration of the 1922 Kress Building on Fresno’s Fulton Mall (Owner Dr. Robert Gurfield, GP Architecture, Inc. and Legacy Construction).

Two “adaptive reuse” projects are also being recognized:

• The conversion of a 1913 4-plex into new office space. The rehabilitated unit in the former “Cutting Flats” at San Pablo and E. Divisadero matched the windows, siding and distinctive two-story porch of the property’s original architecture (Owners Robert Gray Williams and Susan Medina, architect Tony Gonzalez and RJ Miller Construction);

• The conversion of the Joseph Maracci Residence (1916) in the Tower district into office space (Owner Bob Boro, Soenke Construction, Redcon Construction, and Michael Weil Design).

The Mayor’s Historic Preservation Awards also honor individuals and groups for their contributions to history, architectural research and community service. David Rodriguez, a passionate advocate and historian for the Pinedale community, will receive recognition for his many years of volunteer service. Jack Krog and Eldon Morris will also be honored for the pivotal role they played in attaining landmark status for the former Frank Chance Field on the southwest corner of E. Ventura and Cedar in southeast Fresno.

A new category was established this year to honor an individual or group who has made significant contributions to historic preservation activities over the past few years. The “Horizon Award” will be presented to Kiel Famellos-Schmidt for his development of the ARC Hop evening forums and online blog..

Finally, the year’s “Russell and Pat Fey Memorial Preservationist of the Year” award will be given to Sharon Hiigel, Curator for the Fresno Historical Society. Hiigel began work at the Historical Society in 1968 as a teen volunteer and continued her association as a college intern. She joined the Historical Society staff in 1977 and has served as Curator for the past 10 years. Hiigel has been a longstanding contributor to the preservation community through writing, editing, teaching and research. The award is named for Russell and Pat Fey (both deceased), long-time advocates on behalf of Fresno history and architecture.

Award nominations were submitted by the public and City of Fresno staff to a committee consisting of Karana Hattersley-Drayton - Historic Preservation Project Manager, Dr. Don Simmons - Chair, City of Fresno Historic Preservation Commission and local architect Scott Vincent. The committee’s recommendations were then forwarded for approval to John Dugan AICP - Director of the City’s Development and Resource Management Department and Mayor Ashley Swearengin.

For more information, contact Karana Hattersley-Drayton, Historic Preservation Project Manager, at 621-8520.