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Historic Columbus celebrates the 2021 Preservation Awards

Hello everyone! Before we get started - congratulations to the National Infantry Museum's World War II Company Street for winning the third round of the Public Participation Grant!! The WW II Company Street is a macro exhibit at the museum that consists of authentic Series 700 buildings built in the early 1940s as the country mobilized for war. The 100,000 grant will fund repairing all of the roofs on the buildings. A total of 3,859 votes were cast with 61.9% of those votes going to the World War II Company Street. One of the main goals of the grant program itself is to get the public talking about preservation projects happening in our community – and our finalists did a great job at getting the word out. Each of the finalists have such worthy projects and they provided the public with a great illustration of the variety of historic resources that our community has to offer and why they are worthy of preservation.

For this week's Preservation Spotlight, we are celebrating the recipients of this year's Preservation Awards. A total of thirteen awards were given this year to eight individuals and two organizations for their investment in preservation. Next week, I am going to embark on a three-week History Spotlight series on the history of the railroad in Columbus. We will talk rail lines, buildings, and individuals. I'm looking forward to learning about it all and I hope you are too! Thank you all for your love of our history, our places, and our people. You make preservation happen. Elizabeth B. Walden Executive Director


First up is the Springer Opera House. One of three National Historic Landmarks in Columbus, the Springer Opera House is at the top tier of significant historic properties located in our city. The Springer is no newcomer to ongoing maintenance. Most recently, the historic wood windows have been painstakingly restored over the last 12 months by Brian Luedtke and the Springer staff. The preservation of these windows and the entire theater help to tell the story of our community and the commitment to historic preservation in our town.

Next are a group of three commercial properties located at 1220, 1234 and 1238 2nd Avenue. Relatively new to the preservation scene in Columbus, Ken Henson just can’t seem to get enough of historic buildings these days. His acquisition and rehab of three properties in the 1200 Block of 2nd Avenue has not gone unnoticed. The buildings include a mix of apartments and professional office spaces that bring a renewed vibrancy to this block of 2nd Avenue. Coupled up with the ongoing renovation of the Ralston Towers, these buildings are again a gift to the street and a hopeful addition to the National Register of Historic Places.

Our next three awards are all located in the original city historic district – and have been incredible transformations. 721 1st Avenue, formerly used as a law office, this newly rehabilitated historic structure in the Columbus Historic District has once again become a home for a new loving family to the neighborhood. Renovated in part by the owners themselves, the Hollifields now have a clear understanding of the challenges and rewards of fixing up an old house. It is our hope that it becomes an ideal place for them to live and raise a family.

Renee Roth continues to impress all of us at Historic Columbus with her ability to take on some of the most challenging properties in town. Her renovation of the house at 10 W. 6th Street is nothing short of incredible. Now her primary residence, the house in many people’s opinion was too far gone to be saved. Renee brought it back to life and helped to retain the historic fabric of the Columbus Historic District which continues to see unprecedented investment and vibrancy. Historic Columbus is grateful for your love of historic houses and your willingness to invest the time and energy into bringing them back to their original splendor.

And lastly in the original city is 4 W. 6th Street, located right next door. The home was used as a business for many years, and the new owners recently completed a top to bottom renovation of the property. New roofing, siding, back porch, and extensive masonry fencing among a variety of other improvements have made this home a showstopper. Historic Columbus is thankful for the Cluverias family for their investment in this historic property.

Moving to Waverly Terrace is 2901 11th Avenue. Originally built in 1913, this home was one of the most prominent homes built in the neighborhood. Over the past few years, the house has seen continued improvements and is now proving to be an anchor for continued investment and positive movement for the neighborhood. Driving through Waverly Terrace you can clearly see where owners are making significant strides in maintaining and developing this great historic neighborhood.

Located in the Weracoba/St. Elmo Historic District, these two houses at 1440 17th Avenue (left) and 1540 17th Avenue (right) have recently received major renovations. Both selling in record time, these two historic properties define some of the best aspects about living in historic neighborhoods: walkable streets, nearby parks and restaurants, mature trees, and comfortable front porches. Al Gula has been a part of many historic rehabilitation projects over the last few years and these homes may be some of his best work to date. Historic Columbus appreciates his eye for quality work and ability to see the potential in historic structures.

At the edge of Midtown is the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Outdoor Learning Trail. The addition of this trail is just one step to helping tell the full story of our community’s history. Spanning 2.2 miles in length, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Outdoor Learning Trail features 11 historic markers which tells the story of struggles and contributions made by the Black community in Columbus, Georgia. The physical improvements that came with the trail are already creating new areas of economic development. This new investment coupled with a lesson in our shared community history is a sure combination for success. Historic Columbus is grateful to Turn Around Columbus for creating this outdoor museum.

Our last two awards belong to two of The Mill District neighborhoods - City Village and North Highland. One of Historic Columbus’ most tenured Board Members, Jack Jenkins felt the need to start a movement with his renovation of 32 29th Street, a shotgun house in the Bradley Circle community of City Village. He quickly recruited friends, enemies, and contractors to all follow suit and begin a pattern of strategic private investment that has impacted nearly 20 properties in the immediate area. Beyond the beautiful renovation of this home, Historic Columbus is forever grateful for all the contributions to historic preservation Jack has made over the years. And we are looking forward to a few more to come…

And last, but certainly not least is the work happening in North Highland by NeighborWorks – specifically for their work at 3517 & 3613 4th Avenue. Developing fit and affordable housing is challenging by itself, but doing that successfully with historic properties, federal funding compliance and the complexity of building nearly 20 new homes all at the same time to most would be impossible. Neighborworks Columbus never backed down from their desire to deliver quality and affordable homes to residents in the North Highland neighborhood. The two houses at 3527 and 3613 4th Avenue were two historic rehabilitation efforts championed by Neighborworks. They help to tie the new in with the old. Cathy and her team at Neighborworks Columbus have done an outstanding job once again helping people achieve home ownership and in some cases in a historic home.

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