Local Preservation Projects to be Honored with Historic Preservation Awards of Merit

The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KHPC) will present its 2017 Awards of Merit on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at 5:30 pm. The awards ceremony will be held at Riverview Launch located at 1523 Riverview Drive (the reception and awards ceremony will take place in the barn). The public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.

For more than two decades the KHPC has presented awards for preservation related projects in the city of Kalamazoo. Awards have been presented to places such as the Lincoln school, Zion Lutheran Church, as well as nearly three dozen single and multiple family homes, rental and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation projects, and new infill houses.

These awards are presented annually in May in local recognition of National Historic Preservation Month. This year’s award recipients have done an outstanding job rehabilitating a historic structure or have actively promoted or contributed to historic preservation in the city of Kalamazoo.

Residential Property Awards

W.G. Bartholomew House at 832 Elmwood: One of the oldest houses in the city, Jean Harden purchased the house at a tax sale auction in August of 2014. The house was originally located on West Main and was moved to the current location in the 1870s. Over three years, the owner has repaired structural issues, updated a bathroom and restored the original windows.

Commercial/Institutional Awards

Grand Trunk Western Depot at 421 & 427 East Michigan, Plazacorp Realty Advisors: This structure was built in 1890 as a one of over a dozen freight sheds located in downtown Kalamazoo (of which only two remain). When Plazacorp Realty Advisors purchased the property in 2014, the building had been vacant for several years. They wanted to pay tribute to the city’s industrial, manufacturing and agricultural past by returning the building to productive use.  The redevelopment was completed in late 2016 and the building houses two restaurants (Hop Cat and Maru) and office space.

City Savings Bank building at 1301 Portage, Kalamazoo County Land Bank: In 1920, the City Savings Bank built its first branch on the corner of Portage Street and Washington Avenue with room for small offices on the second floor used by doctors and dentists. Over the near century in between the building has been used as a drug store, laundromat and insurance agency. In 2013 the building was acquired by the Kalamazoo County Land Bank and with the assistance of a façade grant the exterior of the building was restored. A new restaurant will open in the building in May 2017.

Individual/Institutional Awards

Kalamazoo Public Library, Local History Room website “All About Kalamazoo History”: The Kalamazoo Public Library “All About Kalamazoo History” website is leader in web-based historical information and includes an online index of the Kalamazoo Gazette, hundreds of local photographs from three local institutions and nearly 600 interconnected web pages covering more than 20 categories. Pages about people and places from Kalamazoo’s past are a special delight, including biographies, cemeteries, rural schools, houses/buildings, businesses and institutions, researched and written by members of the Kalamazoo Public Library staff. This website is an invaluable resource for researchers ranging from middle school students competing in History Day to genealogists.

For more information about the Historic Preservation Awards of Merit or award winners, please call Sharon Ferraro, City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Coordinator at 269-337-8804 or email at ferraros@kalamazoocity.org for more information.