The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission (KPHC) will present its 2019 Awards of Merit on Wednesday, May 29, at 5:30 pm. The awards ceremony will be held at the Ladies' Library Association building at 333 S Park Street. The public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.
For more than two decades the KHPC has presented awards for preservation projects in the city of Kalamazoo. Awards have recognized institutions such as the Woodward School, books such as Kalamazoo: Lost and Found, and nearly three dozen projects including many types of housing rehabilitation projects, new infill housing, and commercial redevelopment.
These awards are given annually in May in local recognition of National Historic Preservation Month. The awards recognize individuals or institutions that have done an outstanding job of rehabilitating a historic structure or have actively promoted or contributed to historic preservation in the city of Kalamazoo.
This year’s four award winners include:
George and Emma Steers House at 318 Woodward: On August 28 of 2014, this seven-unit rental house suffered a devastating fire, with three-quarters of the roof burned off and fire and water damage throughout. The landlord chose to sell the house to another landlord. Over the following two years, Jim Pejka restored the house, starting by re-using the original salvaged trim materials to repair the roof. Once the roof was complete work began in earnest- drying the house out, removing damaged and moldy material, and planning the new configuration into an eight-unit apartment building with updated electrical, egress, fire suppression, heating, and cooling. With approval from the Historic District Commission, the non-historic second floor of a small north porch was removed along with a damaged and unneeded chimney. The wing walls on the front steps were also repaired among many more updates and repairs. Mr. Pejka has set a high bar for rehabilitating a historic home.
William and Maria DeYoe House (built 1853-1854): Originally built for William and Maria DeYoe, an attorney and postmaster in Kalamazoo’s early years, this home is one of the finest examples of the Gothic Revival style in the city. The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo purchased this house in 2001, using it for several years as a guest house or for young men with a calling to the priesthood. Starting in 2015, the Diocese determined to make upgrades and long neglected repairs, and under the guidance of Monsignor Michael Osborne, a true update and rehabilitation started with a thorough assessment. Monsignor referred to a historic photo that showed the earliest recorded paint colors were much lighter than the current ones. Along with repairing and replicating missing and damaged pendils and other trim, the original color scheme was restored, the triple spear point windows in the 3rd floor were restored, bricks were repointed as needed, and gutters were repaired and re-attached. The home’s details, such as a built-in garbage bin on the west side porch, were all repaired and made operable. Other interior work brought the home into the 21st century without sacrificing any period details. This rehabilitation is an excellent example of modernizing an important historic home while respecting its evolution over time.
Riley and Tolle Service Station at 1104 Portage: In late 2016, Allbox Properties and Grant Fletcher purchased former service station on the corner of Portage and Lake Streets. The bay garage doors were updated with frosted glass, the glazed brick at the base of the walls was exposed and cleaned, and the building was freshly painted with a light blue color scheme to complement the brick base. These investments in this 2,190 square-foot building have not only returned the luster to its exterior, but they have ensured that the southwest corner of Postage and Lake Street will maintain an anchor structure as the surrounding neighborhood continues to evolve and prosper.
Upjohn Institute: Since shortly before W. E. Upjohn’s death in 1932, the Upjohn Institute has been an important part of Kalamazoo. The Institute has also been an excellent steward of Kalamazoo’s historic properties dating back to 1965 when it finished its newer building. The Colonial Revival Boudeman House at 515 West South was purchased from Donna Boudeman and features massive two-story columns and a fine symmetry throughout. The institute has consistently made needed repairs, faithfully preserving the house. In the fall of 2018, the Institute purchased the Carder-Van Deusen House at 527 West South and has just received approval from the Historic District Commission to turn the garage into a small guest cottage and repurpose the home as office and meeting space.
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