For over forty years, the Metropolitan Historical Commission has recognized outstanding efforts to preserve Nashville’s historic architecture with its annual Preservation Awards program. For a list and map of previous award winners, from 1973 to the present, please visit the Preservation Awards dataset on Metro Nashville's Open Data Portal.
43rd Annual Preservation Awards
The Metropolitan Historical Commission celebrated National Preservation Month by presenting Preservation Awards to fifteen properties and recognizing five properties with honorable mentions at the 43rd Annual Preservation Awards program on Monday, May 21, 2018. The event took place in the Nashville Public Library Conference Center; Mayor David Briley assisted with the awards presentation. After the awards ceremony, the Metro Historical Commission Foundation, Historic Nashville, Inc., and the Historical Commission hosted a reception honoring all participants at the Noelle hotel, 200 Fourth Avenue North.
Nearly forty properties were nominated this year in the categories of Monuments and Memorials and Residential, Commercial, Educational and Institutional, and Infill architecture. Judges for the 2018 Preservation Awards were Jenn Harrman, Board President for Historic Nashville, Inc., Cyril Stewart, architect and member of the Historic Zoning Commission, and Renee Tavares, former preservation planner with the Southwest Tennessee Development District. The judges visited the nominated properties and selected the following winners:
The judges recognized 1817 Fourth Avenue North with an award. This rehabilitation project in Salemtown included a carefully designed new addition. Although it adds significant square footage, the addition is modest and does not overwhelm the original home.
The award-winning rehabilitation of 751 Benton Avenue included restoration of windows and flooring and updates to all systems. The team removed an older rear addition and replaced it with a larger addition. A new side addition defines outdoor living spaces and reflects the pyramidal roof form found on the historic home.
The judges awarded the Gill Residence at 1208 Russell Street for the extensive rehabilitation of a residence that had suffered dramatic changes over the years, including the removal of decorative features inside and out, the addition of aluminum siding, reduced window openings, and lowered ceilings. The project restored window openings and ceiling heights and revealed original pieces of millwork that had been used as filler. The team used the found pieces to replicate missing trim and other decorative details.
The award-winning project at 143 Windsor Drive restored the exterior of the original home and installed a new cedar shake roof throughout. The judges admired the fenestration and design details of the new addition and detached garage. These elements, along with the patio and pool, form exciting and dynamic interior-exterior living spaces and help distinguish the new from the old.
The judges recognized Lucinda’s House at Historic Idlewild, 712 Neely’s Bend Road, with an award for rehabilitation of the former servants’ quarters that involved replacing the roof, shoring up the foundation, refurbishing the stone chimney, and replacing the board and batten siding and repurposing it for the interior. The judges were impressed by the amount of work invested in such a small, but important, structure.
The exterior of the Stark-Grisham House at 804 Canton Pass suffered from deferred maintenance and installation of vinyl and metal siding over the gable fields and all of the wood trim. The award-winning rehabilitation involved removing these materials and repairing and restoring what was uncovered in the process, from original windows to attic vents. The homeowner completed most of the painstaking work himself, with the hope of inspiring other DIY weekend-warriors to restore their own ranch houses.
Educational and Institutional
The judges recognized the Buchanan-Harding House, located at 3130 McGavock Pike, with a Preservation Award. The project was completed in two phases over several years. Previously known as the "1802 House," the Buchanan-Harding House is the oldest structure on the Two Rivers Mansion property. It now features a new shake roof, fresh repointing, and restored woodwork. Inside the house, the plaster walls and all interior woodwork were repaired, sanded, primed, and painted. A corner cabinet was recreated to match an existing corner cabinet, and floorboards, baseboards, and hearth bricks were repaired. As recommended by the Two Rivers Mansion Master Plan, the house now displays furnishings that better tell its early 19th-century story.
The judges recognized the duplex at 1218 & 1220 Lillian Street, the first on this thoroughfare of award-winning infill projects, with an award for a design that has a modest street presence. The judges admired how the property reads as a single-family residence without an obvious division between the two units.
The Jenkins, at the corner of Belmont and Blair Boulevards, offers multi-family housing in a three-story building along the intersection and a two-story building tucked within the development along the alley. The team clearly took great care in connecting the project with the historic neighborhood. The development anchors this prominent corner without overwhelming it. The award-winning design is simple and restrained, but well-detailed with high-quality materials.
The award-winning Brown Residence at 3726 Richland Avenue involved the rebuilding of a historic house that was structurally unsound, along with a new addition and garage. The judges admired the team's meticulous attention to detail and great care in rebuilding the house with the original stone. The new addition, which is tucked behind the one-story house, is modern and dynamic.
Monuments and Memorials
Dedicated in April 1932, the Percy Warner Memorial Sandstone Entrance features Sewanee sandstone and stone eagles. After 86 years of welcoming visitors to Percy Warner Park, the gates were suffering from exposure to harsh conditions and general wear and tear. The rehabilitation involved cleaning of stone substrates, removing and repointing the mortar joints, and treatment of spalling sandstone, including replacement with matching limestone where needed. The team also cut nearby tree limbs to allow clearance around the structure.
The earliest identified grave stone indicates that the Henry Compton, Sr., Cemetery was active by 1838. The first phase of the project involved repairing, cleaning, and stabilizing the grave markers, which were in need of repair due to canting, severe fragmenting, and delamination due to natural weathering. The second phase addressed the dry-stacked dressed limestone block fence, which features curved corners and a step stile. The team removed vines, trees, and scrub brush from the fence and rebuilt the collapsed areas.
The award-winning adaptive reuse of The Geist Forge Building at 311 Jefferson Street returned a once-endangered building to a safe and stable condition. For over 100 years, the building housed the Geist family's blacksmith shop and ornamental ironwork and lawnmower repair businesses. Mothballed in 2006, the building sat vacant for almost ten years before rehabilitation began. From new roofing to aligned floors, efforts to adapt the building for restaurant use were extensive. The judges were glad to see this National Register-listed building back in business.
The Marr and Holman-designed Noel Hotel opened at 200 Fourth Avenue North in 1930. The building served as a hotel for over 40 years before it was converted into an office building with a ground-floor bank. Completed in late 2017, this award-winning renovation returned the building to its original use; the Noelle hotel now features an 11-story steel and glass addition with guest rooms and a rooftop bar completed above the original ballroom. The double-height lobby remains intact with terrazzo floors, pink marble stairs, marble columns, and plaster and brass decorative details.
The Layman Drug Company at 1128 Third Avenue South served as a drug store until the 1990s when it was converted to a private residence. The award-winning project involved rebuilding the Third Avenue façade that was structurally unsound due to water damage. The wall was restructured, woodwork elements were rebuilt, window spaces were reopened, and custom tiles were created to match the original ceramic tiles found below the windows. The interior now features a state-of-the-art audio and video recording studio. The judges admired the team's painstaking efforts to restore the integrity of the building and to celebrate the building's history inside and out.
The judges recognized the following properties with Honorable Mentions:
The judges recognized 2308 Belmont Boulevard with an honorable mention in the Residential category. The project involved returning the bungalow to a single-family residence. The judges admired the detailed rehabilitation of the exterior of the original structure and the design and materials used for the new rear addition and garage.
The judges also recognized 714 Russell Street with an honorable mention in the Residential category. The interior renovations of the 1876 Dutch Renaissance Revival home reopened some previously enclosed masonry openings, updated all systems, and converted the attic to a full third floor. Many brick, stone, and wood details were restored, including original curved glass windows that were returned to working order.
The Pennington Residence at 202 Craighead Avenue received an honorable mention in the Residential category for extensive rehabilitation prompted by significant damage from water, termites, and years of neglect. Once the house was stabilized and made structurally sound, the team renovated the house and completed a modest 350 s.f. rear addition.
In the Infill category, the judges recognized the Jones Residence at 2315 Vaulx Lane with an honorable mention. Previously home to a 1950s cinderblock church, the triangular lot’s buildable area was small due to multiple easements. The team successfully met the site’s multiple challenges, including the awkward topography, with a design that is modest and fits nicely into the neighborhood.
In the Commercial category, the judges recognized Rudy Title East at 608 Shelby Avenue with an honorable mention. The innovative project converted a modest church building into offices and six residential rental units. Although the project presented many challenges due to deferred maintenance, significant water intrusion, failed systems, and more, the team saw the building’s potential and took on a tremendous amount of work to make the building viable again. The judges admired the team’s tenacity and creativity.
The Metropolitan Historical Commission presented the Achievement Award to Lorenzo Washington of Jefferson Street Sound for his dedication to the documentation, preservation, and promotion of Jefferson Street’s musical heritage. The Commission honored the Friends of Fort Negley with its Commissioners' Award for dedication to the preservation, protection, and promotion of Fort Negley Park. In addition, the Commission presented the Fletch Coke Award to Jean Roseman for her commitment to educating the public about the history of Nashville’s Jewish community through research, writing, and speaking engagements.
The Preservation Awards program is held in celebration of National Preservation Month, which is observed nationally each year in May. This year’s theme is “This Place Matters.” Sponsored annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the purpose of Preservation Month is to celebrate the country’s diverse and irreplaceable heritage.
For more information about the Preservation Awards program and this year’s winners, please call the Historical Commission at 862-7970 or email Scarlett.Miles@Nashville.Gov.
History Of the Preservation Awards Program
The Metropolitan Historical Commission’s Preservation Awards program began in 1973 as an Architectural Awards program. Miss Margaret Lindsley Warden, a charter member and former chair of the MHC, had the idea to create an incentive for people to preserve historic buildings. She had observed how successful prizes were in horse shows and had heard of similar awards programs for preservation of buildings in other cities.
In 1973, the purpose was stated as: 1) To stimulate interest in the owners of pertinent buildings to preserve and restore them with authenticity, and 2) To spread information, i.e., to educate the community, on the merits (architectural and historical) and contemporary uses of distinguished buildings of the past.
The awards were originally aimed at residences, but the categories have increased as the need arose. In 1973 the categories included dwellings, offices, and historic districts. In 1997 those properties were expanded to six categories: residences (both single and multi-family structures), commercial buildings, religious properties, educational and institutional buildings, engineering and industrial structures, and infill construction.
Since 1973, over 400 awards have gone to a broad range of historic structures – dwellings, churches, commercial and industrial buildings, schools, even to bridges and new developments. Nominated by the public, they are honored for their sensitivity to the original architecture and the surrounding environment, creativity in adaptation for contemporary use, architectural merit and/or historic interest, long-term maintenance, adherence to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, and pioneering spirit. The public awards ceremony coincides with National Preservation Month, which is celebrated every year in May.
Today, in addition to recognizing various preservation projects, the Commission recognizes individuals and groups with a select number of special awards, including the Achievement and Commissioners’ Awards.
The Achievement Award is given to an individual in recognition of his/her extraordinary leadership in preserving Nashville’s history -- either through research and writing history or through advocacy and raising public awareness of history and preservation. The Commissioners' Award recognizes a group, program, or project that enhances Nashville’s history and historic resources. It is designed to honor projects that do not fit within the traditional preservation award categories. Achievement and Commissioners’ Awards are selected by the Historical Commission. In 2016, the Commission introduced the Fletch Coke Award, named in honor of Fletch Coke and her extraordinary efforts to preserve the history and historic landmarks of Nashville and Davidson County. Recipients are selected for their tenacity, curious spirit, and excellence in historical research, writing, and promotion of Nashville's local history and historic places.
In the early years, the Commission held a separate event to recognize various individuals, groups, and projects that were involved in the preservation of the built environment and the promotion of our local history. Eventually, the two awards programs were combined. In recent years, the name of the new program changed to “Preservation Awards” to acknowledge the diversity of individuals, groups, and types of projects receiving awards.
Participation In the Preservation Awards Program
Nominations for the 44th Annual Preservation Awards program are due Friday, March 8, 2019. Submit digital images of the property via CD, flash drive, or Dropbox to Scarlett.Miles@Nashville.gov (you may include a digital copy of the nomination form along with your photos).
For more information about the Preservation Awards program, please call the Metropolitan Historical Commission at 615-862-7970 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.