Skip to Content

Preservation Awards

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.

44th Annual Preservation Awards

May 9, 2019

The Metropolitan Historical Commission celebrated National Preservation Month by presenting Preservation Awards to twelve properties and recognizing two properties with honorable mentions at the 44th Annual Preservation Awards program on Thursday, May 9, 2019. The event took place in the Nashville Public Library Conference Center; Mayor David Briley assisted with the awards presentation. After the awards ceremony, Historic Nashville, Inc., the Metro Historical Commission Foundation, and the Historical Commission hosted a reception honoring all participants at Dream Nashville | Printer’s Alley hotel, 210 Fourth Avenue North.

Over thirty properties were nominated this year in the categories of Monuments and Memorials, Residential, Commercial, Educational and Institutional, and Infill architecture. Judges for the 2019 Preservation Awards were Jane-Coleman Cottone, Certified Local Government Coordinator at the Tennessee Historical Commission, Leigh Fitts, architect with Hastings Architecture and member of the Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission, and Dr. Learotha Williams, Jr., associate professor of African American and Public History at Tennessee State University. The judges visited the nominated properties and selected the following winners:

Residential:

  • The judges recognized 1405 Linden Avenue with an award for a rehabilitation project that carefully restored interior finishes, including stained millwork and several original fireplaces, and replaced an earlier addition to the home with a carefully designed new addition for the striking foursquare.
  • The judges awarded the project at 1707 Blair Boulevard for the renovation and new addition converting the impressive foursquare into four condominiums. Work addressed structural and maintenance issues, requiring repairs to crumbling brick and stone details and rotting woodwork, such as trim and soffits. The contemporary addition, which includes an exterior staircase, private porches, and roof decks, integrates well with the historic home.
  • The award-winning project at 1607 18th Avenue South involved interior renovations, exterior repairs and updates, and a new porch addition to this striking stone Colonial Revival residence. Historic Nashville, Inc., holds the preservation easement for this historic property, the long-time home of notable Nashvillian Betty Nixon.
  • The homeowners of 414 North 16th Street went to great lengths to find dedicated craftsmen and to source historically accurate methods and materials for the meticulous rehabilitation of their home. The project also included a modest addition. The judges were pleased to see the home’s brick left unpainted.

Infill:

  • The judges recognized 1400 Ordway Place for design details that were influenced by nearby historic homes but made modern and interesting.
  • The award-winning design for 1702 Sweetbriar Avenue is a modern interpretation of a historic foursquare. The design sets itself apart from similar homes in the neighborhood through material choices, such as the various cut Indiana limestone details. Defying current trends, the natural red brick was left unpainted, which hints to its contemporary construction and allows its color to truly shine.
  • The judges awarded the new house and garage at 422 North 16th Street for a contemporary design that meets the historic context of Lockeland Springs-East End. Scale and massing help fit the new side-gabled house into the neighborhood, while the mixture of materials and the streamlined contemporary design set it apart and keep it fresh and interesting. The siting and orientation of the garage maximize outdoor space between it and the main house.
  • The distinctive design of 204 Elmington Avenue has a lot of personality and was well executed. While the limestone water table, mitered artisan siding, rafter tails, and rain chains hint to the historic context, details like the decorative projections in the gable fields and the prominent limestone chimney, which is balanced by the front dormer and the battered limestone column, make for a new home that distinguishes itself from others, but fits in nicely with its neighbors.

Commercial:

  • The judges awarded Stocking 51 at 5016 Centennial Boulevard, a multi-phase project involving the adaptive reuse of the former Belle Meade Hosiery Mill. The project transformed the disused industrial property into an exciting mixed-use development featuring restaurants, retail, creative office spaces, and more, while retaining as many original materials and details as possible. The three-story infill piece of the project complements the original building.
  • Designed by Bruce Crabtree for Fidelity Federal Savings Bank in 1969, the 12-story tower at 401 Union Street served as a bank and offices until 2008. It’s now home to the award-winning Fairlane Hotel. The design and development team retained many original materials and design details, such as the original double-height lobby, existing travertine cladding, oak paneling, interior storefront, and elevator doors, and used appropriate replacement materials when necessary.
  • The award-winning rehabilitation of Woolworth on 5th at 225 Fifth Avenue North helped preserve the history of this building in the Fifth Avenue National Register Historic District, a significant place in Nashville’s Civil Rights Movement. The former F.W. Woolworth five-and-dime store, with its segregated lunch counters, was home to some of the first landmark sit-ins in the 1960s. The restaurant and event spaces, including the mezzanine and basement, feature many original details, including gilded handrails, wall accents, and hand-laid tile. Elements that could not be preserved were carefully recreated to match the original.

Monuments and Memorials:

The Gower Cemetery was established on April 16, 1816 with the burial of Obedience Blakely Gower, mother of Revered William Gower, on the Gower family farm. The restoration of the Gower Cemetery on Gower Road involved clearing trees and overgrowth, correctly identifying and marking the boundaries, and repairing grave markers. The award-winning project led to the location of over 115 burials, including Gower family members and six enslaved Gower/Woodward African Americans. The restoration was funded by family and friends from across the country. The fund-raising was so impactful, it inspired the creation of the Davidson County Cemetery Maintenance Project, a pilot program which enables descendants and friends to financially support the ongoing care of historic family cemeteries.

The judges recognized the following properties with honorable mentions:

  • The judges recognized 2701 Woodlawn Drive with an honorable mention in the Residential category for the rehabilitation of this 1938 bungalow. Prior to the project, the house was greatly deteriorated and near collapse with a severe slope across the floor. The thoughtful design and appropriate scale of the addition takes into account the change in grade across the property. The judges also admired the new detached outbuilding.
  • In the Commercial category, the judges recognized Clementine at 4710 Charlotte Avenue with an honorable mention. The project involved adapting the former West Nashville United Methodist Church into a vibrant event space. With a sanctuary dating from 1889 and multiple additions over the years, the property needed all new systems. The project also uncovered several old window openings and doorways, which had been obscured by various additions, and included the complete restoration of the 1905 George Kilgen & Sons pipe organ.

The Metropolitan Historical Commission presented the Achievement Award to Ann Toplovich, longtime executive director of the Tennessee Historical Society, for her dedication to the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of Tennessee history. The Commission also presented the Achievement Award to Judy and Steve Turner, local philanthropists and urban pioneers, for their dedication to urban revitalization and commitment to the preservation and promotion of Nashville’s historic and cultural resources. The Commission honored Nashville Public Television’s Tennessee Crossroads with its Commissioners' Award for dedication to celebrating and telling the stories of the people and places that make Tennessee unique.

Preservation Awards Program (printed handout)

The Historical Commission holds the Preservation Awards program annually to celebrate National Preservation Month, which is observed nationally each year in May. Sponsored annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, This Place Matters is a national campaign that honors the country’s diverse and irreplaceable heritage and encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities.

For more information about the Preservation Awards program and this year’s winners, please call the Metropolitan Historical Commission at 615-862-7970 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.

awards plaques scattered across a tabletop

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.

Mayor Karl Dean and Ann Roberts

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 45th Annual Preservation Awards program are due Friday, March 6, 2020. Please email Scarlett.Miles@nashville.gov for details.

For more information about the Preservation Awards program, please call the Metropolitan Historical Commission at 615-862-7970 or email scarlett.miles@nashville.gov.

Preservation Awards Photo Galleries

44th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

1702 Sweetbriar Avenue
Historic Preservation Awards, May 9, 2019

43rd Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

2315 Vaulx Lane
Historic Preservation Awards, May 21, 2018

42nd Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

Lillian Trio: 1113, 1115, 1201 Lillian Street
Historic Preservation Awards, May 10, 2017

41st Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

1518 Long Avenue
Historic Preservation Awards, May 4, 2016

40th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

Vanderbilt University's Alumni Hall
Historic Preservation Awards, May 19, 2015

39th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

513 Fatherland Street
Historic Preservation Awards, May 28, 2014

38th Annual Historic Preservation Awards Photo Gallery

The Bridge Building-west elevation
Historic Preservation Awards, May 29, 2013