21 Mar

Preserving the past: Winners of PACA’s 2019 Heritage Awards



From the bright lights of downtown to a small-town bungalow, the Preservation and Conservation Association’s Heritage Awards shed light on those who have saved a piece of architectural history. PACA’s BARB GARVEY told staff writer Paul Wood about this year’s eight honorees.

“I love how all of these projects see the potential in the features, the buildings, the remnants of our past and make something beautiful out of them — something which saves them for all of us,” she said.

Here’s a look at the eight award-winners:

The Park Theatre opened in 1913. It became the Art Theater in 1958. The marquee, installed in 1950, had deteriorated over the years. This resulted in missing, damaged or inoperable neon and incandescent lamps. Two stainless-steel panels were damaged after being hit by a truck. Crowd funding and the City of Champaign’s Storefront Improvement Program helped pay for the more than $19,000 project. With American Dowell as contractor, the work included replacing the damaged stainless steel, replacing inoperable light sockets and replacing incandescent and neon lights with LED.

Like many homes built between 1870 and 1930, Betty Lake’s home had a failing, leaded glass window. The window has two rows of diamond between which are set elongated hexagons. Before the window was restored, it had broken and cracked glass and bulging panes. Sheila Lehman at Nonpareil Glass added new leading; pane cement was installed and double vertical stiffeners were set in place for extra strength.

Monarch Brewing has a columned façade, emblazoned with a new marquee sporting its namesake. Matt Miller bought the former church in 2016. Miller scraped and painted the entire neo-classical façade. Other changes were the lifting and leveling of the floor in the main area of the nave of the church. Miller and crew pulled up every piece of hardwood from a slanted floor. He removed the old floor joists and reinstalled the original hardwood.

In 2014, the University of Illinois wanted to preserve the historic fabric of the Chemistry Annex building (dedicated in 1931) while providing modern amenities and new, state-of-the-art facilities. The architectural firm Bailey Edwards stabilized the historic exterior of the building; restoration of cast-in-place concrete with cast-in ornamentation was particularly challenging. The terrazzo of the central staircase is characteristic of Art Moderne style with both soft curves and diamond pattern executed in intense greens, reds, yellows and black.

Jeff and Minerva Partenheimer purchased the bungalow and surrounding property. The house was moved and a new foundation was dug and built. The house was stripped down to the bare bones. A stoop and a dormer were added, and the house received a new roof. Exterior doors, siding, trim and porches were replaced. These were restored and reinstalled. The original floors were refinished. Trim and interior doors were salvaged, stripped and refinished.

Amy Podlasek owns one of the eight bungalows between Elm and Springfield. They were built in 1925/26, and originally called West Elm Court, constructed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style of hollow clay tile with stucco cladding. In 2004, Buena Vista Court was put on the National Register of Historic Places. Time and the elements caused degradation of the stucco sills. New Prairie Construction repaired the tops of the parapet walls to prevent further water infiltration. Billbrix Masonry replaced failed areas of stucco.

The owners revitalized and renovated Pour Brothers. Built in 1919 as a car dealership, it had large plate-glass windows on the first floor to showcase more than 30 cars that the Overland-Rickard Motor Car Company sold from this building. Pour Brothers took care to reproduce those windows with the same aesthetic. One of the discoveries the Pour Brothers made happened when construction crews were trenching below the floor. A Fecker’s beer bottle was found. Fecker’s was a Danville brewery that did not survive Prohibition.

Joseph Royer designed this sorority in 1928 with northern French models in mind. The features include rustic stone work and the rotunda, which echoes a Norman castle keep. The steep roofs and dormers also look characteristically French. The building was abandoned in 2010. Owner Pierre Moulin bought it in 2017. It was transformed into an apartment building with modern appliances and amenities, though some retain the original hardwood floors.