On October 23, 2019 at the noon meeting of Rotary, the third annual preservation awards were presented by the Clay County Historic Preservation Commission. Awards were given in three categories: 1. Long-term preservation and conservation of a structure and site; 2. Individual preservation projects (restoring a specific structure or site); and 3. Lifetime Achievement (maintaining the integrity of several structures over time). Below is a summary of the awardees and their extraordinary achievements.
In the first category Gary Marshall received his award for his painstaking restoration of 224 Willow house built in 1907. Gary mentioned that he started the project with the idea of just painting the structure, but soon found out that it needed major renovation. This two year project culminated with a beautifully restored early 20th century building in the University Historic District.
Nate Welch, representing the Vermillion Chamber and Development Corporation (VCDC), received an award for major renovation of the 1884 brick building located at 2 East Main Street. The effort restored the façade of the building close to its original status while maintaining the 1974 Termes Mural on the west side of the structure. The building, known as McVicker Plaza houses the Vermillion Visitors’ Center, the offices of the VCDC, space for community gatherings, and Charlies, a store selling University of South Dakota items.
Jerry and Norma Wilson received a preservation award in recognition of preservation of a historic site, the 1869 Severson homestead, and conservation of land back to its status as a prairie. During the award ceremony, each person discussed the processes involved to restore the structures and land to that prior to settlement in Clay County. Jerry mentioned that most likely the two story 1869 log cabin structure will eventually fall down, but he is prolonging that possibility. In addition, by putting the land the Wilsons own in a Conservation Trust, the work they have done will outlive them.
The final award was given to Karen Muenster, who has demonstrated an extraordinary lifetime of work preserving historic buildings in Vermillion and in Sioux Falls. Highlighted during the presentation were five buildings located in the three historic districts in Vermillion that she renovated. All 4 awardees discussed their drive to preserve sites and the importance of doing so for the economic development, history, and quality of life of Clay County residents.
Below are photographs of the awardees while discussing their preservation efforts.
Preservation awardees, Karen Meunster, Nate Welch, Jerry and Norma Wilson and Gary Marshall.