Buildings honored with award

From press reports

The Mississippi Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the list of the 2012 Heritage Award winners in Mississippi. This year 21 awards were given to outstanding preservation projects and people involved in preservation around the state at a special Heritage Award Luncheon during the Power of Preservation in Economic Development Conference in Ocean Springs on April 27, 2012. The award winning projects demonstrate excellence in the preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and interpretation of our architectural and cultural heritage. This year the award winning projects ranged from the restorations of railroad depots in Collins, Magnolia and Aberdeen; the restoration of the Hinds County Courthouse in Raymond; rehabilitation of City Halls in Bay St. Louis and Meridian; rehabilitation of houses in Biloxi, Brandon, and Pass Christian; rehabilitation of commercial buildings in Canton, Hattiesburg, and Jackson, to the conversion of a historic high school in Pascagoula into senior housing. In addition special awards were presented to the Student Exchange Tour: Tallahatchie- Neshoba County Civil Rights Tour and Brochure, and the City of Biloxi for their preservation efforts. This year the most prestigious Al and Libby Hollingsworth Award for Lifetime Achievement was given to Sam Kaye of Columbus. These projects and leaders in preservation represent a commitment to the preservation of Mississippi’s history and desire to save and reuse important landmarks of the past. “This year there was a diverse group of dynamic preservation projects worthy of awards,” said David Preziosi, Executive Director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust. “The different projects show that with dedicated owners, organizations, or cities, preservation is a viable and beneficial option for historic properties that may not be in the best condition. We learn from these projects that all you need is a little vision to see beyond the deterioration and neglect to return a historic property into something that is beneficial to the community. These award winning projects show us that preservation is about more than saving buildings. They prove that it’s good for business, it changes lives, and it lays a strong foundation for the future.” This year the Harris Brothers Hardware Building and N.M. Bradford Building in Louisville won a Heritage Award for Merit for Restoration/ Rehabilitation which is given to preservation projects that demonstrate that historic buildings can be reused and their historic charm preserved. In 2010, Mike Forster and his wife Bettye returned home to Louisville to retire after living and traveling around the world. Noticing two needs in Louisville, one to save two historically significant buildings on Main Street, and two a lack of dining options, they decided to tackle both. Built circa 1890 the Harris Brothers Hardware Building was one of the last standing after a devastating fire in 1907 destroyed much of downtown Louisville. Its neighbor, the N.M. Bradford Building was built after the fire. With a group of investors the Forsters’ purchased the two buildings with the plan to convert them into a restaurant and shop. The work to the buildings included restoring the storefronts and original pressed tin ceilings. The interior of the old hardware store was converted into a restaurant and kitchen with a meeting space in the rear part of the building. Not resting on their laurels in their retirement the Forsters’ took on a project to help save two of Louisville’s most historic buildings and provide a place for people to get a great meal in downtown. The Mississippi Heritage Trust is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the prehistoric and historic cultural resources of Mississippi.