In 2007, RIPS will presented seven Awards for work completed in 2006 or earlier as well as a Special Recognition. Two projects, received Certificates of Recognition.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION AWARDS
First United Methodist Church 1820 5th Avenue The once dusty jewels in six historic stained glass windows on the east side of the church shine brightly again. The sagging windows were removed and taken to Bovard Studios in Fairfield, Iowa, where they were disassembled and cleaned, then releaded. Then they were reinstalled in the church behind a clear protective exterior glazing. The church was built in 1890 and these windows, made in Philadelphia, date from that time. The triptych of 18-foot tall windows with images of Christ’s nativity, ascension, and welcoming of children, was donated as memorials to Eliza and John Spencer, an early Rock Island pioneer who was a founder of this congregation, by their three children. A fourth window of similar size depicting the Good Shepherd was given in memorial to Harriet Sweeney by her husband, Edward D. Sweeney.
Trinity Church, 1816 6th Avenue An extensive exterior restoration was completed, most of it on the original portion of the church building, which was completed in 1869. Wood trim, including dozens of small decorative brackets under the east gable and the curved arch trim around the tower windows, was removed for repair and/or replacement. Old paint was stripped and then the wood was replaced and painted. Window sashes in the tower were also rebuilt to be identical to the originals. This quality restoration involved a great deal of meticulous hand carpentry. To further protect this historic treasure, new sprinkler and fire alarm systems were also installed.
PORCHES Changing over time in both form and function, the porch has found a place in virtually every style of American domestic architecture. Beginning more as a ceremonial portico, a symbol of wealth and welcome, porches grew in size and popularity. In the days before phones, the porch was the setting for the exchange of news and opinions. It was the gathering place for friends and neighbors. It served as the focal point for lavish social functions. But with the coming of the automobile, the suburbs and air conditioning, the importance of the porch began a steep decline. By the 1940s and 50s front porches on new houses were all but gone and historic porches began to be removed rather than maintained. Time outside was more likely spent on a private patio or deck. In the 1970s and 80s with energy costs rising, builders and homeowners realized that a porch shelters windows from direct sunlight and in turn helps cool interiors. Today new construction often gives prominence to the front porch. And the owners of older homes with wonderful grand porches have rediscovered the human and social importance of these long forgotten structures. Maintenance and restoration of these intricate outdoor rooms is often a labor of love. But in the end the homeowner, the neighborhood and the community as a whole is richer for the efforts.
The following four homes received Preservation Awards for house porch restoration.
1. 1038 21st Street, Honorees: Robert & Barb Braun Restoration of the front porch columns and balustrade. The columns, which were partially rotted, were restored. The balustrade was missing and a reproduction was built using a historic photo as well as an existing rear porch as models.
2. 1250 21st Avenue, Honorees: Tim & Kimberly Bolyard The porch on their landmarked Dimick House was completely recreated using vintage photos and shadows on the house as a guide. The porch had been removed decades ago and replaced with an inappropriate two-story structure. The Bolyards removed that several years ago as they undertook exterior restoration of the home. Most of this intricate work was done by Mr. Bolyard himself.
3. 1851 30th Street, Honorees: Pemon & Joyce Tew Removed deteriorated gabled front portico from their Georgian Colonial home and rebuilt and replaced it. The curved ceiling, that follows a rounded transom above the front door, was replicated.
4. 817 17th Street, Honorees: Gregory & Judy Mayer The elegant but aging front porch was restored. Both structural and decorative areas were rebuilt and restored as needed, ensuring that it should stand for another century. A multicolor paint job emphasized all of the ornate exterior decorative detail.
House at 728 15th Street Honoree: Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation and their YouthBuild Subsidiary This new home at 728 15th Street is exceptionally sensitive infill within a historic neighborhood. Surrounded by other 1 ½ and 2 story homes, including previous YouthBuild award winner at 716 15th Street, it looks as if it has always been there. Like its neighbor, it is based on a prize-winning design, by architect Ben Allers, which won the 1995 competition sponsored by the Rock Island Preservation Commission for infill design in the Old Chicago neighborhood. Details were changed to distinguish it from its older neighbor. Students who share work time on YouthBuild with school attendance are learning building trades. Their project manager Al Melody has noted that, “We’re building kids, the house is just a tool.” But this award recognizes that YouthBuild’s houses are commendable, as well.
Individual Award: John Willard, Journalist, Quad City Times Over the past 36 years as a Quad-City Times journalist, John Willard introduced us to the people, places and events of our community. And wherever possible, he included a historical perspective in his writing. The reopening of Hunter’s Club provided an opportunity to write about hamburgers and jazz. But it was also an opportunity to write about the history of the familiar green building that served as a grocery store until the Hunter family opened a tavern there around World War I. An article about the recent interior renovation of Rock Island’s downtown library took us back in time to the turn of the century when local architects Drack & Kerns won the design competition for the building. It pointed out original architectural features such as the Ionic columns framing the entrance and the frieze ringing the top of the building inscribed with the names of literary giants such as Shakespeare and Longfellow. The occasion of a 200th birthday party for poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow provided an opportunity to write about the history and design of Rock Island’s Longfellow Elementary School as well as the history of the KeyStone neighborhood that surrounds it. Earlier this spring John Willard announced his retirement. As a community we will miss his writings connecting our daily lives with our rich past. We are fortunate to have an archive of well-researched articles that will be referenced by historians well into the future.
CERTIFICATES of RECOGNITION
House at 702 21st Street, Honorees: Michael & Marsha Coakley Inappropriate modern shingles were removed from this historic home, now used as an apartment house. When ornate moldings and paneled trim were uncovered, they were restored. Missing and damaged clapboard was replaced extensively with matching new wood. Although a missing tower and enclosed porch keep the home from appearing as it did originally, the restoration efforts of the Coakleys are commendable .
Voss Brothers Lofts 219 21st Street, Honoree: Rock Island Economic Growth Corp. In an example of what is called Adaptive Reuse, the adjoining structures of the former Voss Brothers moving company warehouse were converted into loft-style apartments. The multimillion dollar project created 35 units ranging in size from studio to 3-bedrooms that include every income level. Common areas available to residents include a community room, exercise room, computer room as well as storage facilities. This adaptive reuse ensured that the energy and materials invested in construction decades ago were not sent to a landfill. Moreover this new residential area in eastern downtown can act as a catalyst for development and preservation of nearby historic structures.