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Kentucky Heritage Council
33rd Annual Ida Lee Willis Memorial Preservation Awards, 13th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition ceremony planned Tuesday in Frankfort

Press Release Date:  Monday, May 23, 2011  
Revision Date:  Monday, May 23, 2011 
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

WHAT:  Presentation of the 33rd Annual Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards, sponsored by the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation and presented in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, and student winners in the 13th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition, sponsored by Preservation Kentucky, Inc. and the Kentucky Heritage Council.

WHEN: 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, Kentucky Governor’s Executive Mansion, Frankfort

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 Ida Lee Willis, appointed first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now the Kentucky Heritage Council) in 1966.

The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth.  The 2011 recipient is
Robert M. “Bob” Polsgrove of Frankfort, retired president of the Kentucky Trust for Historic Preservation, who is being honored for his life’s work in preservation, grassroots advocacy efforts and leadership of the Kentucky Trust, which commits funds and uses hands-on approaches to save Kentucky's endangered buildings and sites.
Preservation Project Awards recognize 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.  2011 winners are:

  • Eastside Revitalization Project, Covington, spearheaded by The Model Group, in recognition of its partnership with the city to take on a major revitalization effort of more than 70 abandoned and neglected buildings and rehabilitating nearly 40 of these to date, with the goal of transforming vacant historic buildings into updated, affordable housing while preserving their historic fabric.
  • Louisville Water Company Pump Station 1 and owner Louisville Water Company, for its commitment to complete a full exterior restoration of the Greek Revival-style pump station utilizing historic drawings and original materials and methods, with the goal to minimize maintenance, stay true to the historic nature of the building and extend the life of this iconic structure.
  • West-Metcalfe House, Mill Springs Battlefield, Wayne County, and the Mill Springs Battlefield Association, in recognition of its commitment to preserve and painstakingly restore the first brick house in the Wayne County region, which tells the story of local families and served as a Civil War hospital but which in recent years had literally begun crumbling from decades of decay and neglect.

Service to Preservation Awards honor 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.  2011 winners are:

  • The Landmark Association of Bowling Green and Warren County, for 35 years of dedication to preserving the historic fabric of the community of Bowling Green and all of Warren County, through diverse efforts including advocacy, education, fundraising, cultural heritage interpretation and hands-on training.
  • Lynda Closson, Stanford, for her many years of leadership and commitment to preserving and rehabilitating historic Duncan Tavern and other community preservation projects.
  • Donna Horn-Taylor, Laurel County; and Julie Nelson Harris, editor, Tara Kaprowy and Nita Johnson, reporters, London Sentinel Echo, in recognition of their efforts to save and preserve the historic Pennington House in downtown London – despite its eventual demolition – and in the process raising awareness and educating the community about why the preservation of historic buildings is important to quality of life, community pride and economic development.

For more information about recipients or projects, contact Diane Comer, 502-564-7005, ext. 120 or email

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Preservation in Your Community: From Endangered to Enlivened was the theme of the 13th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition, through which students were asked to take at least three photos and write an essay demonstrating an example of preservation in their city, town, neighborhood or rural area, highlighting a historic building or site that was previously endangered by demolition, an act of nature or neglect and how that threat was resolved.  Factors such as the importance of the building or site to the community's sense of place and history, as well as the steps the owner/community had to take to preserve the building or site, were to be considered in the essay.

Students were also required to submit a copy of their essay to at least one local decision-maker, such as a mayor or judge-executive, with a goal to stimulate young peoples’ interest in historic preservation and provide an opportunity for them to interact with local leaders regarding its importance to their community.

This year, presentation of the student photo-essay awards is sponsored in part by Community Trust Bank.  13th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition award winners are:

High School Division (Grades 9-12)
First Place: Andrew Segal, 11th Grade
DuPont Manual High School, Louisville
Title: Helping Everybody by Helping Yourself

Middle School Division (Grades 6-8)
First Place: Mason Miller, 6th grade
Harlan Independent Schools
Title: Putney Ranger Station

Elementary School Division (Grades 1-5)
First Place: Drayden Zaring, 5th grade
Holy Trinity School, Prospect
Title: The Henry Clay Hotel

For more information or a copy of these essays, contact Rachel Kennedy, Preservation Kentucky executive director, at 502-871-4570 or email

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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 5/23/2011