The 2019 National Preservation Awards

By Forum Online posted 10-11-2019 08:00


The 2019 National Preservation Awards are being presented this week at PastForward 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The awards honor inspirational projects, individuals, and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in the field of preservation. 

Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award

The Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s highest national recognition. Named for one of the National Trust’s founding trustees, the award is made with the greatest care and only when there is indisputable evidence of superlative achievement in the preservation and interpretation of our historic, architectural and maritime heritage. 

Ruth J. Abram | New Lebanon, New York/Denver, Colorado

Credit: Photo courtesy of International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

A lifelong advocate for social progress, Ruth Abram started her career advocating for women’s and civil rights in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Abram began to examine the history of immigration and its relevance to modern issues, and she and her friend, Anita Jacobsen, founded the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The revolutionary museum preserves and interprets a pair of 19th century tenement buildings that offer an authentic look at tenement life from the 1840s through the 1930s. Using these buildings as a tool for addressing contemporary issues, the museum tells the uniquely American stories of immigrants, migrants, refugees, and working-class peoples in the context of the places they lived.

In 1999, Abram’s work in bridging history and activism became transnational when she organized, along with eight other leaders from around the world, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Now encompassing sites in nearly 70 countries, the group leads the only global movement dedicated to spaces that remember and preserve even the most traumatic memories, while encouraging their visitors to make connections between the past and related contemporary human rights issues.

After her retirement from both organizations, Abram moved to New Lebanon, New York. In 2014, she founded Behold! New Lebanon, a living museum of contemporary, rural American life that focused on cultural tourism.

Abram’s paradigm-shifting leadership has directly inspired countless organizations and institutions to radically expand cultural and interpretative concepts at historic sites around the world. 

Read Ruth Abram's speech from PastForward 2019.

Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards, the nation’s most coveted and prestigious, are bestowed on historic preservation efforts that demonstrate excellence in execution and a positive impact on the vitality of their towns and cities. Read more about this year’s Driehaus awardees in the fall issue of Preservation magazine and the distinguished jury of thought leaders who selected them.

Longfellow Bridge | Boston, Massachusetts

Photo credit: Ian MacLellan

Primary Recipient: Rosales + Partners

Co-recipients: Boston Landmarks Commission; Cambridge Historical Commission; Copley Wolff Design Group; F. E. Ciccone & Company; Jacobs Engineering; Massachusetts Department of Transportation; Massachusetts Historical Commission; MK&A; Preservation Technology Associates; Regina Villa Associates, Inc.; STV Incorporated; Tetra Tech, Inc.; and White/Skanska/Consigli, JV

The Longfellow Bridge was completed in 1907 and is considered the most important historic bridge in the City of Boston due to its prominent location over the Charles River and outstanding architectural qualities. Originally called the Cambridge Bridge, it was renamed the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Bridge in 1924 to honor the distinguished poet.

The multimodal bridge carries trains for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, motor vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. On an average day, the bridge handles 28,000 motor vehicles and close to 100,000 transit riders, making it the busiest multimodal link between the cities of Boston and Cambridge. With advice and oversight from six federal, state and local historic agencies, the bridge was restored using the highest rehabilitation and restoration standards. The extensive restoration project preserved the bridge’s distinct architectural character, while addressing structural and code deficiencies. To improve safety and functionality, new lighting systems were installed, sidewalks were widened, and dedicated bike lanes were constructed.

Unity Temple | Oak Park, Illinois

Photo credit: Tom Rossiter

Primary Recipient: Harboe Architects

Co-recipients: Alphawood Foundation; Architectural Consulting Engineers; Berglund Construction; Building Conservation Associates; Charter Sills, lighting consultant; CTL Group; CYLA Design; Julie Sloan, stained glass consultant; Project Management Advisors; Unity Temple Restoration Foundation; Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation; and UTP, LLC

Built in 1908 and home of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oak Park, Illinois, Unity Temple is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most celebrated buildings. Wright, who was raised in a Unitarian family, envisioned a radically designed religious space with a monochromatic poured-in-place concrete exterior and a light-filled interior. This National Historic Landmark and UNESCO Heritage Site is widely regarded as one of the first works of modern architecture.

After decades of deterioration and deferred maintenance, the building was named to both Landmark Illinois’ and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s endangered lists. Funding from the Alphawood Foundation, coupled with the congregation’s grassroots fundraising efforts, ensured the sensitive restoration of almost every feature of the building. The recent $25 million restoration returns this internationally significant work of architecture to its original appearance and gives new life to a building that both continues to serve its original purpose as a house of worship and has become a tourist destination for Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts from all over the world.

South Street Landing | Providence, Rhode Island


Photo credit: Robert Benson Photography

Primary Recipient: CV Properties

Co-recipients: Brown University; Gilbane Building Co; MacRostie Historic Advisors; Rhode Island College; State of Rhode Island; Tsoi Kobus Architects; University of Rhode Island; Wexford Science and Technology

The construction of South Street Landing, a former electrical power plant that serviced a large portion of the City of Providence, started in 1912 and continued in phases through 1952. The plant was eventually decommissioned in 1995 and remained shuttered for 17 years. In 2013, Boston-based developers, CV Properties, started working with Brown University, Rhode Island College, and the University of Rhode Island to develop a shared vision for the future of the plant. Completed in 2017, with the help of federal and state tax credits and local incentives, the property was transformed into more than 305,000 square feet of adapted shared space. Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island joined together to create a state-of-the-art nursing education center, which includes technologically advanced simulation and training systems, complete with lifelike, robotic mannequins. The remaining space is used by Brown University for administrative offices. The renewed use of the structure has spurred additional investment, giving rise to an emerging innovation and design district that has supported the economic revival of the surrounding waterfront area. 

American Express Aspire Award

The American Express Aspire Award recognizes emerging preservation leaders who demonstrate innovative thinking and achievement in advancing historic preservation in their local, state or national communities.

Tyrell Anderson | Gary, Indiana

Credit: Tyrell Anderson

Tyrell Anderson is integral to the revitalization of Gary, Indiana. As a U.S. Steel Production Coordinator, Anderson understands the industrial impact on the built environment in America’s Rust Belt, especially in cities like Gary. In 2013, Anderson used his passion for urban exploration to catalyze a preservation movement in his community by founding the 501(c)(3) non-profit, the Decay Devils. Under his leadership, the Decay Devils has propelled preservation forward with an artistic lens, innovative programming, and practical sensibilities.

Most notably the Decay Devils has brought new life to Gary’s Union Station. Through thoughtful planning, Anderson has been able to procure a variety of grants and private funding to systematically activate the vacant Union Terminal. The inspiring Union Station Revival Project engages volunteers with site clean-ups, beautification projects, and music and game nights.

President’s Award for National Leadership in Historic Preservation

This year’s President’s Award for National Leadership in Historic Preservation recognizes a place of national importance and pride to the American people.

Apollo Mission Control Center | Houston, Texas

Credit: Photo courtesy of NASA

Primary Recipient: NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Co-recipients: Audio Visual Guys; Ayuda Companies; Basic Builders; Carma, LLC; Cosmosphere; GRAVitate, LLC; Source Historical Services; Stern and Bucek Architects; Steven L. Pine; Textile Preservation Services of Texas

In July of this year, NASA’s Johnson Space Center completed a $5 million restoration that returned the Apollo Mission Control Center in Houston, Texas, to its former mid-century glory—just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The mission control room is where NASA’s flight control team made history planning, training, and executing numerous internationally significant space missions.  

After the room was decommissioned in 1992, years of deterioration caused the National Park Service to list it as “threatened.” Because NASA is not able to accept earmarked public donations, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation assisted the management of funds raised through Kickstarter by Space Center Houston. These crowdsourced funds served as a partial match to a $3.5 million grant from the City of Webster in Texas.

If it weren’t for this unique funding model, made possible under a provision of the National Historic Preservation Act, the preservation of Apollo Mission Control Room may not have been achieved. The public can now experience free tours of the control center, in which every feature has been restored or replicated—down to the wallpaper, ceiling tiles, coffee cups and ashtrays.

Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence

The Trustees' Award for Organizational Excellence recognizes a nonprofit organization, large or small, that has demonstrated sustained and superlative achievement in historic preservation. 

Historic Denver, Inc. | Denver, Colorado

Photo credit: Rebecca Ann Photography

For nearly five decades, Historic Denver, Inc. has been the leading preservation organization in the City of Denver. The organization was founded in 1970 as part of a significant public effort to save the home of Titanic survivor, Margaret “Molly” Brown. The organization acquired and restored the property, and today the Molly Brown House Museum serves 55,000 visitors each year through tours, educational programs, outreach, and exhibits.

Working closely with the public and local officials to address the challenges of a developing city, Historic Denver has been the driving force behind many vital preservation wins throughout the city. The economic success following the designation of the Lower Downtown Historic District, has become a catalyst for numerous additional residential and commercial districts in the area. Recently, the organization has worked to enhance Colorado’s state tax credit and continues to lead efforts to protect Larimer Square, Denver’s first historic district.

Historic Denver is known to many as a resource for the community. Through technical assistance, funding, and educational tools, they empower the public to advocate for Denver’s historic identity.

Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship

The Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship recognizes success and innovation in historic preservation, management, and programming at historic sites.

Taliesin Preservation | Spring Green, Wisconsin

Credit: Photo courtesy of Taliesin Preservation

Taliesin Preservation was founded in 1993 with the mission of preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, studio, school, farm, and 800-acre estate, Taliesin, located near Spring Green, Wisconsin. The group achieves this by conducting educational and cultural programming, as well as providing preservation resources, funding, and specialized preservation staffing.

The National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site, owned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, is comprised of various structures that were built between 1896 and 1953, representing nearly every decade of Wright’s career. For the past 25 years, Taliesin Preservation has overseen the preservation, programming and tour program at Taliesin and has contributed over $10 million to preservation projects across the site. In addition to preserving the buildings, the group preserves the agricultural fields and natural areas at the estate.

Taliesin Preservation’s ability to balance historic landscapes, history, preservation, and community engagement ensures that the site is sustainable and will continue to be preserved and interpreted in the years to come. 

John H. Chafee Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy

The John H. Chafee Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy recognizes an individual or group of individuals who have done outstanding work in preservation advocacy.

Senator Lamar Alexander |Tennessee

Photo courtesy of Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Alexander’s leadership on park and public land issues has had an enduring impact on historic resources in Tennessee and the nation. A strong advocate to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, he also works to tackle the maintenance backlog of our national parks. He also sponsored legislation that celebrates African-American heritage, including the African American Civil Rights Network and the Julius Rosenwald and Rosenwald Schools Study Act. 

Senator Tom Udall | New Mexico


Photo courtesy of Senator Tom Udall

As a leader on both the Interior Appropriations subcommittee and the Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Udall has demonstrated great support on many park and public lands issues. He has championed efforts to protect the landscape around Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the defense of designated monuments, including Bears Ears National Monument. His leadership has had a lasting impact on historic resources in New Mexico and the nation.

Congratulations to all! 

In early 2020 we’ll be sharing more stories about these sites, people, and organizations and their incredible work in the field of historic preservation.

Know a project, individual, or organization that deserves recognition? Be sure to submit a nomination for the 2020 National Preservation Awards. Sign up for updates.