History awards given

Published 12:07 am Friday, December 5, 2008

NATCHEZ — The heart of historic preservation lies in those who take the time to carry it out.

Historic Natchez Foundation Director of Programs Mimi Miller said it’s the foundation’s solid tradition of awarding preservation stalwarts for their efforts.

“It’s a small acknowledgement for a lot of work,” she said.

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And at the HNF annual meeting, a small group of people were recognized for transforming historic buildings into modern-day glory.

The Thursday night event was housed in the remodeled City Bank and Trust Building, a development called the Franklin Venture.

“This building was in terrible shape,” Miller said. “Some of you have no idea.”

But through the work of father and son John and Ben Peterson and also Eric Williams, the building was restored to its original look on the inside and has been developed into a spa and soon-to-be condominiums.

“It looks exactly the way it did when the bank closed,” Miller said.

And for that reason, the trio received a preservation award.

Gary and Carolyn Guido were also given an award for their restoration of the Molasses Flats building on Main Street.

“It’s a wonderful addition to the end of Main Street and something to really celebrate,” Miller said.

Herbie Holmes was recognized with an award for his work on the Gastrell block on Main Street.

Louise Peabody’s restoration of the building on Commerce Street into Intimate Home was given a nod with an award.

“The windows in Louise’s store were filled with plywood for at least 60 years,” Miller said.

Two buildings on the corner of Main and Commerce streets were restored by Darby and Dennis Miller, and they also received an award.

The King’s Daughters Home on Cemetery Road received a restoration award as the crowd gasped at before and after pictures that flashed on screen.

The Memorial Park Fountain was dedicated in 1890 and was formerly in poor shape until Kathie Blankenstein took charge of its restoration.

Knocking on doors and pounding the pavement, Blankenstein was able to raise more than $40,000 to get it back to its original state. For her efforts, she was given an award.

And finally, a history award was presented to First Presbyterian Church pastor John Larson for the displayed depiction of the church’s 200-year-old history.