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2023 Preservation Awards Recap

In the realm of local history and historic preservation, there are unsung heroes who work diligently behind the scenes to ensure that the past is not forgotten. Every year Historic Ithaca presents awards for sensitive restoration and preservation projects within Tompkins County. On September 21, 2023 Historic Ithaca held the annual Preservation Award ceremony at Argos Warehouse.


Nominations were reviewed by a panel of preservation professionals and awards made based on such considerations as the importance of the project to the long-term preservation of the building; adherence to basic preservation principles; and the impact, or potential impact, of the project on the surrounding community.


Without further ado, here is the list of 2023 Preservation Award winners...

John Wertis:

Have you ever attended a "Walk and Talk" event in Trumansburg or Ulysses? If you have, you've probably crossed paths with the amazing John Wertis. He's been a dedicated Town of Ulysses historian, sharing his local research through public presentations and articles. John's passion for celebrating his community is truly commendable.


Carol Kammen:

Let's give a round of applause to Carol Kammen! She served as the Tompkins County Historian for 23 years and has been a force in local history since the 1960s. Carol's work, from starting the monthly meetings for municipal historians to writing about a myriad of subjects, has left an indelible mark on our local history scene.


Trumansburg Plaque Project:

Imagine being able to research the history of your property and proudly display its construction date with a beautiful plaque. Thanks to Peter Cooke, Chris Wolff, and the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts, this dream is a reality. Their initiative not only preserves history but also educates us about the past right before our eyes on our streets.


Ithaca Road Garage:

Old garages can tell fascinating stories too! The Ithaca Road Garage, built after 1919, was in desperate need of some TLC. Owners Diane Lebo Wallace and John Wallace, along with their dedicated team, breathed new life into the garage. It's now a revived historic structure and a functional, modern space.


Laun Barn:

Karen Laun's commitment to preserving a centuries-old barn is a tale of true dedication. With the help of the skilled hands of Seth Brewster and Theodore Bell, this barn now stands tall as a workshop, storage space, and a small museum showcasing the property's rich history.


Exterior on Stewart Avenue:

Ivana Isailovic took on the challenge of restoring a neglected property’s exterior on Stewart Avenue in the East Hill Historic District. Together with Scott Nash of Nash Construction, they gave this old gem a new lease on life, maintaining its historic charm.


Lake Avenue:

Rosetree Properties took on the massive task of revitalizing a 1904 duplex on Lake Avenue. The result? A beautifully refurbished cooperative house, making the past meet the present in style.


Founders Way:

In a city where affordable housing is a challenge, Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services (INHS) stepped in. They transformed the former Immaculate Conception school campus into a mixed-use, mixed-income village. INHS breathed new life into old structures, adding new ones to complement the old, all while respecting the neighborhood's character.


Joseph O. Ciaschi was a life-long Ithacan and visionary who cared deeply about the City. He devoted nearly 50 years of his career to historic preservation projects that saved threatened and underappreciated local, state and national landmarks by transforming them into places of commerce and enjoyment when others could not see it. He started his long list of saves in 1964 by purchasing the Lehigh Valley Railroad Station and adaptively reused the building for the Station Restaurant, receiving the very first Historic Ithaca Preservation Award in 1968. He worked on many adaptive reuse projects and received a Preservation Hero Award from us in 1998. Sadly, he passed away in 2011. In 2012, Historic Ithaca established the Joseph O. Ciaschi Preservation Excellence Award to be given to individuals whose life’s work honors Mr. Ciaschi’s passion for preservation.


Alphonse F. Pieper, the recipient of the Joseph O. Ciaschi Preservation Excellence Award, has a deep family connection to Ithaca's history. His journey from wood products technology to carpentry in Rochester and later civil engineering in Seattle sparked his interest in preservation. In 1994 he arrived in Ithaca to pursue a Master's in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell and contributed to various preservation projects. Alphonse's pivotal role as Director of Preservation Services at Historic Ithaca and his later role as Executive Director significantly impacted the organization. His dedication to original windows, traditional skills, and financial stewardship led to the establishment of the Work Preserve program, making him a respected figure in the preservation community.


What a night it was! Historic Ithaca's annual preservation awards were a resounding success, and it's all thanks to our amazing attendees and award winners. Your passion for preserving our community's heritage is truly inspiring!


We couldn't have done it without the incredible support of our sponsors:


Chemung Canal - Thank you for your generous financial sponsorship. Your commitment to preserving our historic treasures is greatly appreciated!


Argos Warehouse - The venue for the event was nothing short of magical, thanks to Argos Warehouse. Their unique space added a touch of elegance and charm to our celebration. If you haven't visited, be sure to check out the Argos Inn and Bar Argos for more unforgettable experiences.


Ba-Li Cravings - Although not a sponsor, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Tal Cohen and Ba-Li Cravings for the delectable food. Tal's culinary passion is truly an art, and we were lucky to have her creations at our event.


Let's continue working together to preserve our rich heritage and build a brighter future for Ithaca!



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