2012 Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards
Richard T. Jett, retiring Metro Louisville Historic Preservation Officer, was honored for his career of service to Louisville and the Commonwealth as recipient of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award for excellence in preservation, presented during a ceremony May 31 at the Governor's Mansion by the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council. As preservation officer for Metro Louisville, Jett served as lead staff for the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission, demonstrated leadership as an administrator and researcher, and built key alliances and partnerships among diverse groups of constituents.
(In the photo are Lindy Casebier, deputy secretary, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and acting state historic preservation officer; Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Marcheta Sparrow; Mr. Jett; Sally Willis Meigs, daughter of the late Mrs. Willis; Bob Griffith, Kentucky Heritage Council chair; and Steve Collins, chair of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation. All photos by Becky Gorman)
The Memorial Award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth. Other 2012 honorees were:
Preservation Projects - Recognizing outstanding examples of restoration or rehabilitation of historic buildings, or other types of projects that have had a positive impact on Kentucky’s built environment:
- 120, 225 and 227 South Main Street, Harrodsburg, presented to Tim Peters and Lois Mateus Peters, for their commitment to preservation and the exemplary work they have done rehabilitating three buildings within a historic Main Street district in their hometown. Presenting the award were foundation board members Barbara Hulette and Jolene Greenwell.
- Thomas Edison School Apartments, Covington, presented to Holly Wiedemann of AU Associates Inc., for rehabilitation of a 1939 Works Progress Administration school into affordable housing and preserving its original Art Deco charm and historic features both inside and out. Presented by board members Gail Reed and Betty Matthews.
- Whiskey Row Lofts: Trademart Building and Hamilton Brothers Warehouse, Louisville, a rehabilitation project led by Bill Weyland of CITY Properties Group and siblings Valle and Stephen Jones of Whiskey Row Owner LLC, who created a vanguard, mixed-use development that is serving as a model of what similar projects – and other buildings on this block – have the potential to become. Presented by board members Alice Willett Heaton and Ann Early Sutherland.
Service to Preservation - Honoring those who have furthered historic preservation activities or have had a positive impact in their communities, including individuals, organizations, public officials, financial institutions, news media, and/or volunteers:
- The Cropper Family, South Portsmouth, to Nita and her children Dwight, William Jr. and Gail Swick, and their ancestors, who have lived at the Forest Home Farm since the late 1700s, for their diligent commitment to preserving the farm and its many significant architectural and historic resources. Presented by foundation board members Mary Jean Kinsman and William Averell.
- Alberta Moynahan, Danville, assistant director of the McDowell House Museum, for her many roles in three decades of continuing service and for her passion relaying the history of Dr. Ephraim McDowell and his house to thousands of students and visitors. Presented by board members Donna Horn-Taylor and Barbara Hulette.
- “Historic Preservation: Saving Place” video, produced by historic preservation staff of the cities of Bellevue and Covington, for its effectiveness as a teaching tool to educate northern Kentucky residents, business owners and others about the benefits of preservation and carrying this message throughout the state. Accepted by Beth Johnson, Covington preservation and planning specialist, and Jody Robinson, Bellevue assistant city administrator; presenters were Mary Jean Kinsman and Jolene Greenwell.
Ida Lee Willis Memorial Preservation Awards are presented each May, in observance of National Historic Preservation Month, and recognize those who have demonstrated an understanding of and appreciation for the value of preserving and reusing Kentucky’s historic and prehistoric resources, whether through the rehabilitation of an important structure or community resource or through a lifetime commitment to encouraging and promoting historic preservation. The awards are named for the late First Lady Ida Lee Willis.
Widow of former Gov. Simeon Willis, Mrs. Willis was directly responsible for saving the Vest-Lindsey House in Frankfort, home of a long-time early Kentucky Congressman, and this achievement resulted in her being appointed Kentucky’s first state historic preservation officer in 1966. Under her direction, the Kentucky Heritage Commission (today the Kentucky Heritage Council) began in earnest to survey the state, nominate sites to the National Register of Historic Places, award grants and promote preservation statewide.
The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor Mrs. Willis. Today her daughter, Mrs. Sally Willis Meigs, and others serving on the foundation board continue to sponsor these annual awards to honor Mrs. Willis’ legacy and her dedication to preserving historic and archaeological resources throughout the Commonwealth.
||For more information:
Site Development Program Manager
Kentucky Heritage Council
(502) 564-7005, ext. 133
Public Information Officer
Kentucky Heritage Council
(502) 564-7005, ext. 120