Awards conferred as part of the Preservation on Main Street Virtual Conference
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation announced its 2020 Florida Preservation Awards on Thursday, July 30, recognizing people, organizations and communities who have worked to protect Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage.
The Florida Preservation Awards were given in conjunction with the Florida Secretary of State Main Street Awards as part of the Florida Preservation on Main Street Conference, a conference co-hosted by the Florida Trust and the Florida Main Street program. Award nominations were made by the public with recipients selected by a jury from around the state representing a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Awards were granted in three categories: Restoration/Rehabilitation, Adaptive Use and Preservation Education/Media. Additionally, the Board of Trustees granted its major award – the Legacy Award.
“Although we are living in unprecedented times, it was important to us to continue our work recognizing excellence in historic preservation in our state,” said Florida Trust Board President Friederike Mittner. “Thank you to our award winners for all they do for preservation in our state.”
The complete list of awards winners and a brief description of each follows.
Robert W. Harper
A fourth generation Floridian, Bob Harper has been a tireless advocate for historic preservation in his native state, using his skills and influence to lobby for and promote historic preservation in north and central Florida. For more than 20 years, he served as executive director for the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine where, under his leadership, over $5 million was raised through grants and donations to further the preservation and restoration of the historic Alcazar Hotel. Strictly adhering to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, many of the projects overseen by Harper, including restoration of the terracotta spires, Grand Ballroom, historic pool and museum lobby, received statewide and national recognition and awards.
Invested in seeing quality preservation work completed, Bob has also served as a consultant for individuals, public museums and historic sites. More recently, Bob lobbied and worked with City of St. Augustine staff to restore historic wrought iron lighting and gates.
RESTORATION / REHABILITATION
Coral Gables Merrick House | City of Coral Gables
Coral Gables Merrick House was completed in 1910. The childhood home of City founder George Merrick was named “Coral Gables” for its coral rock exterior finish and gabled roof. The house and grounds set the stage and architectural precedent for what would eventually become the city named in its honor. The property, acquired by the City, in 1976 operates as a historic house museum.
This project, a comprehensive interior and exterior restoration of the house and detached garage, was completed in late 2017. It included conservation of the exterior coral rock façade, restoration of decorative interior finishes, restoration of original wood windows and doors and bringing the site into ADA compliance. The Coral Gables Merrick House is a significant historic site in the City. The careful restoration accomplished with this project ensures that this living testament to George Merrick will educate visitors for decades to come.
Dixie House | Tall Timbers
The 9,100-acre Dixie Plantation in Jefferson County is located in the heart of the Red Hills region, a distinct American landscape rich in natural and cultural resources. Under the Livingston family, Dixie became a highly regarded wild quail hunting plantation and one of the finest field trial venues in North America. The centerpiece of this grand estate is the 14,200-square-foot Neo- Classical Revival mansion designed in 1936 by John Russell Pope, one of the nation’s most prominent 20th century architects. The Dixie House was his only Florida-constructed design.
Thanks to the financial support of the State of Florida and community donations, Tall Timbers has completed a three-phase restoration and rehabilitation of the historic Dixie House. The restored Dixie House will soon open to host scientific conferences and community events.
Historic Carrabelle City Hall | MLD Architects
The success of this project was made possible through team effort, including the Florida Department of State–Division of Historical Resources, the City of Carrabelle, MLD Architects and Godfrey Builders. Recognized for restoring the City Hall constructed in 1933, this project utilized state of the art preservation and restoration best practices to both preserve and restore historic materials and incorporate sustainable design for accessibility and a modern infrastructure system.
The project promotes the concept that sustainability of a historic site begins with its ability to engage its community. The Historic Carrabelle City Hall is not only significant for its long- standing association with the history of Florida, but also because of its past and future legacy of a commitment to serve, teach, inspire and support both current and future generations.
Memorial Presbyterian Church | Kenneth Smith Architects Inc. and Memorial Presbyterian Church
The Memorial Presbyterian Church is part of a National Register Historic District and in 2012 was recognized by CNN as one of the eight religious wonders to see in the United States. The church was built by Henry Morrison Flagler in 1890 in memory of his daughter, Jennie, who died following childbirth. Flagler donated the church, parsonage and land to the congregation in memory of his daughter. After his death in 1913, Flagler was also interred in the church mausoleum.
The historic church was damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017, and the 127-year old church exterior was deteriorated from age and atmospheric conditions. Church exterior restorations were completed in 2019 at a cost of close to $2 million. The restoration work was funded by church contributions, a $500,000 Division of Historical Resources grant and a Kenan Trust grant. Outstanding church restorations were designed and led by Kenneth Smith Architects and Atlantic Engineering Services and completed by A. D. Davis Construction Corp.
Miami Military Museum and Memorial | R.J. Heisenbottle Architects, PA Miami
Constructed in 1942, the Naval Air Station Richmond Headquarters Building in Miami served as the operational headquarters for the Navy’s blimp patrol operation along the Florida coastline, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean during World War II. Naval Air Station Richmond was one of the largest blimp bases in the world with three massive hangars. Unfortunately, during the 1945 Homestead hurricane, the wood-frame hangars withstood the winds but were destroyed by a fire. Only the administrative headquarters Building 25 remained.
This award is for the Restoration and Rehabilitation of NAS Building 25, now the Miami Military Museum and Memorial. The project’s completion is a testament to the perseverance, commitment and passion of a small group of Miami military veterans led by Anthony D. Atwood, PH.D. CWO3, USN (RET) who saw this project through to completion.
Nehrling Gardens | Austin Historical
Nehrling Gardens is a Florida Heritage Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the historic home and remaining gardens of Dr. Henry Nehrling (1853-1929), the renowned horticulturist, ornithologist, educator and writer who became known as the father of Florida horticulture. The 1880s wood frame vernacular home and remaining gardens are being restored by the non-profit Henry Nehrling Society, with the aid of area businesses, foundations, volunteers and supporters from around the country; as well as a recent Florida Division of Historical Resources grant.
The house is not intended to be a museum but to be actively enjoyed by the community for exhibits, small meetings and classes and as the focal point for the six acres of historic gardens. It provides visitors with an immersive experience as they enjoy the gracious old home where a remarkable Florida pioneer lived and worked.
Barnett Bank | Dasher Hurst Architects Jacksonville
The Barnett National Bank Tower in Jacksonville was constructed in 1926 to house the Barnett banking hall and offices. In the 1990s the building fell into disrepair and was eventually abandoned. SouthEast Group, along with The Molasky Group, pursued historic preservation and adaptive reuse of the building with historic tax xredits and assistance from the City of Jacksonville. Dasher Hurst Architects and KBJ Architects guided the restoration and design while Danis Construction completed the construction of the wonderful renovation.
Restoration of the Tower began in 2017. Brick and precast ornamentation were restored on the exterior and windows reinstalled. The interior restoration and renovation work featured the historic banking hall, plaster ceilings, coffering, columns and brass elevator lobbies. Although the building sat vacant for decades, by the end of 2019 it was beautifully restored. A once dim part of Jacksonville has been re-illuminated with this restoration.
PRESERVATION EDUCATION / MEDIA
Historic Places, Green Spaces, K-12 | Dade Heritage Trust Miami
Acknowledging a need within Miami-Dade County Public Schools to educate students about Miami’s significant historic venues and the principles of historic preservation, in 2017, Dade Heritage Trust created the Historic Places, Green Spaces K-12 Educational Program. The program introduces students and educators to significant historic resources within City of Miami and Miami-Dade County park spaces with field experiences that include tours, exhibits and art-based activities. Specific program objectives are to provide students an opportunity to better understand the history of their community and introduce them to the symbols of that history and the value of preserving those symbols, all while immersing them in nature to wander and explore places otherwise unknown to them. The program builds a sense of civic engagement and community pride in participants – both students and educators.
Funding for the development of the program and the research, curatorial and production work was provided by Miami-based foundations: The Peacock Foundation, The Admire Family Foundation, The Batchelor Foundation and philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell. This funding allows for Dade Heritage Trust to offer this program on a complimentary basis.
About the Florida Trust
The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is the state’s non-profit dedicated to protecting Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage. Founded in 1978, the Florida Trust has collaborated to save irreplaceable Florida treasures like the Historic Florida Capitol and is a statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Learn more at www.FloridaTrust.org and follow on Twitter: @FloridaTrustHP.