Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Presents Awards
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation presents its annual Connecticut Preservation Awards, recognizing outstanding preservation projects and people who have made significant contributions to the preservation of Connecticut’s historic buildings and places. Among this year’s awards:
Connecticut Preservation Awards
Merit Award for Physical Preservation: Sterling Block and Bishop Arcade, Bridgeport
Urban Green Builders; Cutsogeorge Tooman & Allen Architect; City of Bridgeport
The Sterling Block (1835) and the Bishop Arcade (1889) are a Greek Revival hotel and Victorian shopping arcade individually listed on National Register of Historic Places and also part of downtown National Register district. The arcade is a truly unique building in Connecticut, and one of only a handful of Victorian era shopping arcades in the nation. Preservation and rehabilitation by Urban Green Builders created 23 apartments and 64,000 sq. ft. commercial space. Within the arcade, the original glass-and-iron canopy has been restored, as well as iron columns and balcony and upper-level storefronts. This is one of several downtown projects undertaken by Urban Green Builders, and part of a broader plan for “Re-imagining Downtown Bridgeport” with revitalized retail, commercial and residential development.
Merit Award for Physical Preservation: Innis Arden cottage, Greenwich
Greenwich Point Conservancy, Town of Greenwich, Dodaro Ross Architects, Mark B. Thompson Architects, David Seymour, P.E., Gro Pro Landscape Co., Murphy Brothers Contracting, Lakota Builders & Associates, and H. Camacho Home Improvement
This Arts-and-Crafts style bungalow was built in 1902 on J. Kennedy Tod’s estate on Greenwich Point; a National Register nomination is in process. After the estate became a town park, the Bungalow served as a bathhouse until it became too deteriorated to use. Thanks to sensitive restoration by the Greenwich Point Conservancy, the cottage will now be used by the Bruce Museum and the Greenwich Conservation Commission as an exhibition and environmental center. The restoration of this significant building is an important first step by the town of Greenwich to care for neglected municipally-owned buildings on Greenwich Point through an impressive collaboration with wide group of partners and volunteers.
Merit Award for Physical Preservation: Twitchell house, Oxford
Oxford Historical Society; the Town and people of Oxford
Built in 1755, this house has a long connection with prominent local families and is listed on the State Register of Historic Places. When development threatened the house, the developer was convinced to donate it to the Town. Moved to a new, town-owned site, the house received a new foundation and chimney base, and was restored for the Oxford Historical Society. A multitude of workers donated their labor to the project, including members of building trades, Boy and Girl Scouts, area foundations, many local volunteers. The people of Oxford succeeded where many towns and small nonprofits fail by involving a wide range of people throughout the community. The task of managing so many different groups and individuals alone is a remarkable achievement.
Merit Award for Physical Preservation: Cheney Mill Dye House, Manchester
Manchester Dye House LLC, Crosskey Architects, D’Amato Builders & Advisors
Built in 1914 as the Yarn Dye House for the Cheney Brothers silk mills, this building sat vacant and decaying for decades as other mill buildings around it were converted to offices and dwellings. Finally, a developer converted the building to 57 apartments, repairing the deteriorated roof, cleaning and restoring masonry, and replacing rotted windows with close replicas. The major challenges were cleaning out contaminants and fitting apartments efficiently into the high-ceilinged spaces. Careful design and creative financing that included state and federal historic and low-income tax credits, made it possible. As the final piece in the decades-long revitalization of this National Historic Landmark mill complex, the Dye House illustrates the potential of historic rehabilitation tax credits and other preservation incentives to foster job creation, generate affordable housing, and turn the worst messes into vital community assets.
Merit Award for Physical Preservation: Old Town Hall, Stamford
City of Stamford, Fuller & D’Angelo Architects, Altieri Sebor Wieber, LLC
Stamford’s Old Town Hall is a Beaux-Arts style landmark and symbol of civic pride. Built 1906, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, but all city offices moved out by 1987, and the building sat empty for 20 years. Now it has been restored, following the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, which suggested the Modern design of the new elevator and stair tower. Other challenges included safely restoring asbestos-laden plaster, recreating lost trim and decorative finishes, and removing construction debris from demolished buildings to build a foundation for the addition. The restored building is now home to the Ballet School of Stamford, the Stamford Innovation Center, and small start-up businesses.
Merit Award for Physical Preservation: Eli Whitney Barn, Hamden
Eli Whitney Museum, Charney Architects LLC, Lebanon Country Collection LLC, Regional Water Authority, J. A. Rosa Construction LLC, Brian Casey, Cameron Simpson, Ben Dringoli, Museum carpenters and apprentices, and community volunteers
Built by Eli Whitney in 1816 to serve his Hamden Armory, the Whitney barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been an active part of the Eli Whitney Museum since 1979. For years, the museum had worked on finding ways to use the building more effectively by reconfiguring the ell for accessible bathrooms and new activity spaces. Another goal was to restore the side ell more accurately. Then the snows of 2011 destroyed the ell. With funding in place, the museum moved quickly, repairing structural damage from poor drainage, replacing a failing slate roof, and rebuilding the ell to match an early drawing by Whitney’s nephew. As with any old building, there’s always something else to be done, and the project also included plans for future phases as funding becomes available—a good example of careful foresight.
Merit Award for Preservation Leadership: Massaro farm barn, Woodbridge
Woodbridge Conservation Commission, Town of Woodbridge, Massaro Community Farm, David Moore, Sam Hammer, Ron Zocher, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and community volunteers
After receiving the 57-acre Massaro farm, the Town of Woodbridge was faced with competing proposals for the property: raze the house and barn for a new recreation complex, or reuse the barn and much of the land for a community farm? Thanks to a careful business plan and support from the Conservation Commission and citizens, the community farm was approved. The newly formed Massaro Community Farm immediately set about stabilizing the structure and then restoring it, with a Department of Agriculture grant matched by town and volunteer labor. Now the barn is a functional and symbolic center for the enterprise. The success of the Massaro Community Farm is testimony to how a community can benefit from civic activism and good public policy.
About the Connecticut Trust: The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit statewide membership organization established by special act of the Connecticut General Assembly in 1975. Working with local preservation groups and individuals as well as statewide organizations, the Trust encourages, advocates, and facilitates historic preservation throughout Connecticut.
For more information, contact Christopher Wigren, Deputy Director, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, (203) 562-6312; email email@example.com.