German Village celebrated on May 14 our Caretakers of a Legacy Awards, noting four more leaders in our local preservation efforts.
The Caretakers of a Legacy awards program was established to honor people, projects, and organizations that contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the historic fabric of German Village. The event belongs to the German Village Commission, our partner in preservation in the neighborhood.
Caretakers of a Legacy is, in fact, a trademarked phrase of the German Village Society, making the award event one of our most mission-centric nights for German Village Society’s historic preservation and education efforts.
The Preservation Award was bestowed on Mary and Jeff Jablonski at 874 City Park.
Mary and Jeff Jablonski purchased their German Village home in December of 2013, and soon realized their home required a new roof. Though slate roofs can last upwards of fifty years and many homes in German Village are on only their second roof, many are falling into disrepair due to age and in some cases, years of neglect. Rarely does a month pass when the German Village Commission does not hear a request to remove a deteriorated slate roof and replace it with asphalt shingles. As with any other demolition in our historic district, removal of a slate roof requires a high threshold of proof that the roof is truly beyond repair. As we often remind people, demolition is the only thing we govern that is irreversible. Sadly, it is rare that we see the level of commitment exhibited by the Jablonski’s. Rather than asphalt shingles, they chose to preserve the architectural integrity of their home and our neighborhood by installing a new slate roof.
Thanks to Mary and Jeff and their dedication to design authenticity, 874 City Park Avenue continues to be an architectural jewel of German Village. Slate roofs are one of German Village’s most iconic architectural features and efforts made to maintain slate or restore slate roofs are to be applauded.
Built in the late 1800s, this Dutch Double is an example of early Germanic inspired architecture in the historic district. It is a simple structure and replacing a poorly built earlier addition was going to require a light touch. The owners’ desire to bring the outside in and vice-versa has resulted in an addition and site plan that exemplifies the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards that an addition should be respectful to the original structure, but clearly of its time.
The deft hand of the designers and homeowners can be seen in three features that make this addition compatible with its surroundings yet contemporary in its function and form:
A glass wall folds opens at the rear of the addition to allow connection to the new outdoor living space; a glazed awning provides protection over a portion of the outdoor space without a solid mass overshadowing it, and; mostly unseen by the public, the addition has a “living roof” – a first for German Village. This last feature greatly reduces rainwater runoff, while acting to stabilize indoor temperatures.
The additional living space is only enhanced by the rebuilt garden wall. Rebuilding and lowering portions of the leaning brick wall both improve the aesthetics of the property and helps to significantly reduce the apparent mass of the addition.
213 East Beck is an example of a thoughtful renovation and we look forward to touring it during this year’s Haus und Garten tour.
The 900 square foot structure at 644 South Pearl Street had been home to the Zwelling Printing Company for over sixty years. It later served as offices for Benelava Stores, and F5 Design/Architecture. In 2011, Mindy moved her salon from Stewart Avenue, not only changing its location, but also its name from Head of the Park to Salon 644. Mindy not only improved the exterior of the structure with fresh paint, and modifications to fit her business, but by creating a lovely garden in the rear, which is tended by both staff and clients, with excess produce being donated to various causes.
Mindy Coffey has made Salon 644 more than just a business; she has created a community resource which exemplifies the cooperative spirit upon which this neighborhood was founded.
Each year, the Society bestows one award during the event – the President’s Award. It’s meant to be someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the historic, architectural, or aesthetic character of German Village and to the community’s way of life.
Ann Lee Lilly is the 2014 President’s Award recipient. Ann is a well-known, beloved member of our community and she has been a historic preservation activist for at least 40 years – an impressive record of passionate engagement as both a volunteer and a leader, both formally and informally.
Ann has devoted a major part of her life to German Village and to our collective efforts to retain our historic properties and our neighborhood’s historic integrity. As both a mindful property owner and as a member of the Commission for 14 years, Ann has been masterful in balancing often competing views and desires in the revitalization and preservation of historic German Village.
Importantly, Ann’s tenure spanned the formative years when German Village experienced more development than the community had seen in many, many years. There were NO written guidelines at the time to assist either property owners or Commissioners. (Ann later served on the task force that wrote the first guidelines.) Courtesy and clear communication became hallmarks of Commission hearings with Ann’s leadership. A fellow commissioner remembers Ann’s approach and leadership as “a firm grip in a velvet glove”.
Both on and off the Commission, Ann has been an effective, informal advocate and leader for historic preservation. For this dedication, all of us who love German Village and, surely those who forever come afterward, owe a big THANK YOU to you for all she has done, and continues to do, for the good of German Village.