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Historic Columbus celebrates the 2022 Preservation Awards

Last week, Historic Columbus held its 56th Annual Meeting and Preservation Awards. Today's History Spotlight showcases all of the preservation work of our award recipients and this year's Sarah Turner Butler Heritage Award winner (HCF's highest honor). The in-person Preservation Awards was held at the National Infantry Museum's World War II Company Street and Historic Columbus is extremely grateful for all their team did to make the evening a huge success. Thank you all so much for your continued interest in these spotlights. Remember, if you have any ideas - we are always grateful for them. Historic preservation only flourishes because of your passion for the history of this town, its stories, and its people. If you have any questions or concerns, never hesitate to contact the HCF Office – 706-322-0756 or


The Sarah Turner Butler Heritage Award is the Historic Columbus Foundation’s highest honor, awarded annually since 1984 to an individual or organization for outstanding contributions to historic preservation in our city and region through demonstrated leadership and commitment to the mission of Historic Columbus. This year's recipient has been involved with Historic Columbus for more than 35 years. She has made outstanding contributions within our community to protect and preserve some of our most treasured places in Columbus. Whether behind the scenes or actively working hands-on for a project, her spirit of service is not only strong, but also ingrained from a long family tradition of giving back to our city. Mary B. Bradley began her involvement under the leadership of founding HCF Executive Director, Janice Biggers. Together, they helped to shape and form Historic Columbus into one of the top preservation organizations in the country at the time. She would serve as president from 1987 – 1989 helping Historic Columbus effectively expand and establish our heritage tourism and heritage education programs through the development of what would be the cornerstone of Historic Columbus’ tourism efforts, Heritage Corner.

Heritage Corner was comprised of a six-structure grouping of historic house museum buildings that helped tell the story of Columbus’ early history, as well as the story of one of our most famous residents, Dr. John S. Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola. In 1989, the ribbon was cut at Heritage Corner with Board Chairman Ed Sprouse, Mayor Jim Jernigan, Board Member Jimmy Yancey, and HCF President Mary Bradley. Heritage Corner would help to educate thousands of adults and children about how our beloved city came to be. And thankfully, her involvement with Historic Columbus did not end there. Her service on Historic Columbus’ 40th Anniversary Committee proved essential to pulling off the organization's largest fundraising event at the time. Raising a significant amount of donations in 2006 that would help Historic Columbus weather the storm of the recession looming on the horizon just two years later.

Today, Mary still serves the organization as a Director Emeritus and fortunately for us, her hands on approach to preservation has not stopped. In 2020, she invested in a vacant and abandoned property at 2807 Bradley Circle located in the heart of The Mill District community. She cleaned up the property and set the stage for HCF to move a shotgun house onto the lot to help rebuild a lost portion of the streetscape. In fact, earlier this month she donated the property to Historic Columbus’ Revolving Fund allowing the organization to complete the rehabilitation of the house with an end goal to sell it to a long-term sympathetic buyer. Thankfully for Columbus, her love has not been singularly focused. Our recipient has been involved in several organizations that have benefited our community in a variety of ways, including her beloved First Presbyterian Church and the Springer Opera House. This year’s Sarah Turner Butler Award winner is a person who exhibits great passion for preservation, for her family, and for her community. We are also extremely grateful she has shared her love of preservation with her daughter, Margaret, who will begin her term as president next year. Mary is an inspiration to us all and undoubtedly, this organization would not be nearly as strong today without her commitment and dedication.


Stephanie and Bruce McPherson are no strangers to historic properties as they live in a home Historic Columbus moved to its present location in the 1993 Parade of Homes. Just a couple houses down, the McPhersons purchased another home, 636 Second Avenue, as an investment and Stephanie performed an extensive renovation, taking on much of the physical labor herself. Updated top to bottom, inside and out, this house now serves to show how historic properties can remain relevant and income producing. Congratulations to the McPherson family on another successful project.

After decades of deferred maintenance, 714 First Avenue has been beautifully renovated to its former glory as one of the premier houses on 1st Avenue. A three-story Victorian that commands attend from the middle of the block is home to Mike and Eliza Morrill, along with their four children. Historic Columbus is grateful to the Morrills for their commitment to preserving this house and for sticking through a long renovation process.

518 First Avenue recently underwent extensive restoration to include a new kitchen, laundry room, and interior finishing. The exterior also received some much-needed repair and repainting. Owner, Melissa Redding, performed much of the work herself and now uses the home as her primary residence. She has done an outstanding job making this property once again a gift to the street.

520 First Avenue is the second home Lucia and Jeff Reed have taken on to fully renovate in the Columbus Historic District. Built in 1885, the home is a great example of a Victorian cottage with a beautiful front porch and unique gingerbread trim work giving it some great detailing. The Reeds have been longtime residents of the district and consistently participate in neighborhood activities through the Historic District Preservation Society. Historic Columbus commends the Reeds, along with Etemadi Construction, on their hard work on this home and for making the district a great place to live.

The historic marble 11th Street YMCA building built in 1909 is extremely unique in its architecture and design. The WC Bradley Co. purchased the building to restore and rehabilitate into office space. Interestingly, replacement marble was sourced from the same quarry the original facade was constructed from over 100 years ago. The project was a state and federal certified rehabilitation, and the building is a beautiful example of how historic buildings, economic development, and adaptive reuse go hand in hand. Historic Columbus is so thankful to the WC Bradley Company for their continued commitment to the preservation of some of our community’s most significant structures.

To many, 201 13th Street is remembered as Regions Bank, a relatively nondescript two-story structure. Owner, Chris Woodruff had a vision for the property well beyond its footprint to include the entire southern end of the block that is still under development. But this building was the first of three to be completed and has resulted in a beautiful adaptive reuse of the structure and a prime location for new commercial investment. Chris has consistently brought high quality developments to Columbus and this property is just the beginning of what he has planned for this block along two of Columbus’ most traveled corridors. Thanks to Chris and his team at the Cotton Companies for their vision and effort in bringing the best to Columbus.

Ken Henson not only renovated six historic properties this past year, but he also had two of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which is no small feat. Mr. Henson performed an extensive renovation of the John P. Illges House (1419 Third Avenue) to include five residential apartments along with a few small office areas. The renovation was a certified state and federal historic renovation that included a new replacement slate roof, significant front porch stabilization, window repair, and major system replacements. Continuing with the theme of improvements to High Uptown, Mr. Henson has also been busy in the block just north of the Rankin House with a new apartment development. Within that new construction are three historic homes (1523, 1531, and 1535 Third Avenue) he fully restored as a part of the development. The three houses serve as a leasing office, an AirBnB, as well as additional apartments. These three homes were also state and federally certified historic rehabilitations, speaking to the attention to detail and quality of workmanship. Beyond the High Uptown district, his preservation efforts have continued throughout Uptown as well. Most notably, he has successfully nominated two buildings to the National Register of Historic Places and completed certified rehabilitations on each. 1147 6th Avenue was originally the primary Columbus Coca Cola bottling plant, it now serves as the corporate headquarters for Salt Life. 1238 2nd Avenue is a mid-century two-story office building that now has residential apartments throughout the building. Mr. Henson is to be commended for his successful efforts with the National Register as well as the renovation work on all of these buildings.

Vacant for nearly 25 years, Historic Columbus purchased 1415 3rd Avenue and performed some basic maintenance and much needed stabilization. Kelly Hicks and Jeff Alfano promptly saw the potential in the property and sought out Historic Columbus in hopes of purchasing and renovating the property as their primary residence after a relocation from New York state. Kelly and Jeff directed a wholesale renovation of the home and are now permanent residents of the High Uptown Historic District. Historic Columbus is very thankful for their investment in the property and this growing neighborhood.

Peeling back the layers of a building facade is both exciting and terrifying not knowing what you will uncover. Thankfully, much of the original facade of the building at 1110 Broadway was still intact and just needed to be uncovered. Now, a vibrant restaurant addition to Uptown, this building will continue to provide a place for years to come adding character to the streetscape. Although Ernie Smallman is no stranger to historic rehabilitation, no project is ever the same. Historic Columbus is grateful for his ongoing efforts to rehabilitate historic buildings in our community.

Bradley Circle has been at the center of much of Historic Columbus’ focus the last few years and in some cases, we have been fortunate enough to have some partners join our effort along the way. One of those is Mary Bradley. Mary saw the need to help clean up some of the property within this community and ultimately purchased 2807 Bradley Circle, allowing Historic Columbus to move a shotgun house on the property with the intent of renovating the structure. That project is now underway but would have never had a chance without Mary’s vision for what it could become.

Martha Paull purchased the home at 2818 1st Avenue and immediately jumped into action. The house was constructed in the early-1900’s and served as housing for the mills located in the immediate area. Martha extensively renovated the property inside and out, with impeccable attention to detail. Historic Columbus is grateful for owners like Martha who understand the importance of preserving historic buildings and take on the hard work of historic renovation. She has truly helped to move the neighborhood in a positive direction.

The City Village neighborhood was primarily developed in the early 1900's as supportive housing for local mill workers. Hofer and Adele Stone saw the potential in the area around Bradley Circle to make an investment and renovate a traditional shotgun style house, 34 29th Street. The whole house was updated and is now a one-bedroom one-bath house with a large kitchen/living/dining area. Historic Columbus is thankful for their investment and is hopeful they will continue forward with their preservation journey with more projects.

The 3200 Block of 2nd Avenue for many people had been long written off as a place with no development potential. Phil and Stuart Webb of Webb Construction saw the high traffic location as an opportunity to become more visible in the Columbus market and set off on a major transformation of the brick building located on the south end of the block. 3200 Second Avenue serves as the corporate headquarters of Webb Construction, previously located in Phenix City. The Webb family has been in the business for more than 50 years and intends to play a major role in in the work taking place within the Mill District and throughout Columbus. Historic Columbus applauds the Webb brothers for their vision and investment in the future of this important corridor for Columbus.

A modest shotgun house located along the entry street to Bradley Circle at 36 29th Street, this home has been beautifully renovated using many reclaimed and salvaged doors, windows, and fixtures. Dina Woodruff is no stranger to large scale preservation projects and always does an amazing job with her renovation efforts. This shotgun home now serves as a beautiful entry feature to the rest of the Bradley Circle community. Historic Columbus is grateful to Dina and her continuing efforts to improve historic properties and do so with excellence.

Moving historic structures and constructing new buildings that appropriately fit within a historic context is no easy task, but uniquely Chuck and Cathy Williams have done both, just not at the same time. Purchasing a long-time vacant lot on the edge of the Columbus Historic District, Chuck and Cathy moved a shotgun house and constructed a new infill home on the lot creating two new residential properties on 7th Street. One serves as their primary residence (314 7th Street), and they were able to quickly sell the other (318 7th Street). Historic Columbus applauds the Williams for their willingness to take on a project of this scale and see it through to completion.

The Columbus Museum recently featured two exhibits highlighting the life and artwork of Columbus-born artist Alma Thomas. An internationally recognized African American contemporary artist, she has works in the White House, the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Columbus Museum among many others. Ms. Thomas and her family spent much of her early life in Columbus and the exhibit featured at the museum highlighted many family artifacts, stories, and family members. In addition, the exhibit featuring her artwork was an outstanding collection that showcased the progression of her work throughout her life. HCF commends The Columbus Museum for their work on these exhibits and their continuing efforts to highlight Columbus history through the fine arts.

Next Week: We will begin a new History Spotlight series. Thank you all again for your continued interest in these emails and for your support of preservation! See you next week!

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