Keeseville, New York – The AARCH Preservation Awards program annually recognizes exemplary historic preservation work throughout the Adirondack region, including sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, adaptive use, long-term stewardship, and individual achievement by a wide range of individuals and organizations.
We are happy to announce this year's AARCH Preservation Award winners! On Friday, September 22, we will honor the awardees below at our Preservation Awards ceremony. These seven recipients exemplify extraordinary stewardship or restoration of historic properties and individual achievements in preservation throughout the Adirondack region.
The recipients of the 2023 AARCH Preservation Awards are:
The Tahawus Cultural Center, for Ongoing Rehabilitation and Stewardship
Town of Au Sable Forks , Essex County
The Tahawus Masonic Lodge #790 was chartered by the Masons on October 11, 1884. The building was constructed in 1911 and designed by architect C. F. Kingsley of Keeseville, a former resident of Au Sable Forks. It was one of the few buildings to survive the 1925 fire that destroyed most of the town. Over the years, the building has housed various businesses and organizations, such as a laundromat, the Adirondack Record newspaper, and the post office.
In 2009 the building was acquired by Appleby Foundation, Inc. The renamed Tahawus Cultural Center began its transformation into the current space for dance, art, music, and community engagement.
The Bloom Cottage - Nancy and Robert Fierer for Restoration
Hamlet of Loon Lake, Franklin County
The Bloom, built in 1920, is one of 53 original cottages of the historic Loon Lake House and Resort in Franklin County. The Loon Lake House was built on the south and east shores of Loon Lake, about 15 miles northeast of Saranac Lake, by Ferdinand W. Chase and his wife, Mary. Mary Chase leased land to guests who wished to build their own cottages, stipulating that they contained no cooking facilities: guests were required to use the hotel for meals.
The Bloom Cottage had been abandoned for over a decade before the new owners undertook a complete renovation and restoration. The comprehensive renovation included a complete interior restoration, a new kitchen, and replacement of building systems (electricity, water, septic, and roof). Much of the original plasterwork was repaired. Electrical fixtures were either restored or replaced with period lamps. Windows and woodwork were refinished. The original wood floors were refinished as well.
Schroon Lake Community Church for Community Revitalization
Town of Schroon Lake, Essex County
The historic church in the heart of downtown Schroon Lake suffered a catastrophic fire in 2019. The original church, built more than 150 years ago, dominated the heart of downtown Schroon Lake. It was a traditional simple white church with a steeple that played the chimes at noon.
From the ashes the community immediately launched a rebuilding effort with a goal not only to better serve the community needs but to preserve the identity of the downtown historically and culturally. The exterior of the church was designed with respect to the original church but not to replicate the church. White clapboard and the steeple (that still plays the bell chimes) reflect the historic church. Salvaged stained- glass windows from the original church have been installed within the new vestibule. The incorporation of new technologies, community spaces and increased accessibility features allow the church to better serve the community.
Trustees of Hillview Free Library for the Restoration & Stewardship of the Hillview Free Library
Town of Diamond Point, Essex County
The Hillview Free Library was established in 1899 when Jane Keyes Hamilton, a New York City resident and visitor to Diamond Point, decided that the community should have a library. She, along with some like-minded residents, purchased the property and moved a nearby 1860s schoolhouse to the site. The building was refurbished and transformed into a library.
In 1901, the community outgrew the original building. Hamilton's friend, architect J. Dickinson Hunter, designed the stunning stone-arched addition that opens into an oak-lined great room.
Over the years the Board of Trustees has committed itself to maintaining the library's physical structure while also adding modern comforts, in keeping with Hillview's distinctive place in the local community.
Ruth Hart, The Church Garden for Community Revitalization & Stewardship
Village of Lake Placid, Essex County
The Church Garden is a garden around the original foundation of St. Eustace-By-The-Lakes, an Episcopal summer church in Lake Placid in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The church was dismantled and moved to its present location on Main Street in 1927.
In 1972, Dr. George Hart and his wife Ruth purchased the property where the original church stood. In tackling the new property and intending to garden there, Ruth discovered the foundation and continued her plan to maintain it as a garden. It is open to the public for visitation and has hosted weddings, baptisms, and other spiritual events. It is also featured in the Smithsonian Museum’s Garden Club of America collection.
Paul Besignano for the Rehabilitation and Revitalization of War Cannon Spirits.
Town of Crown Point, Essex County
Now a tasting room at War Cannon Spirits, a recent addition to the Crown Point community, the space functioned as a mill when Putnam Creek was dammed and a pond existed behind the site. There were many alterations and additions over the last 200 years, yet the core structure remains one of the oldest of its kind.
War Cannon Spirits acquired the site in 2016. At this point, the building was in dire structural condition due to almost two centuries of heavy use. The owner spent over seven years restoring the 200-year-old mill to a respectful version of its original architectural vernacular. This comprehensive effort included site cleanup, hazmat abatement, demolition, new underground utilities, structural repairs, and full renovation works.
Nils Luderowski, Architect – Posthumous Award for Lifetime Achievement
Nils was a great friend and long-time member of AARCH. Over the years, he served as an AARCH Board and Advisory Council member, going above and beyond to support our special events and fundraisers. His one-of-a-kind Adirondack chairs, designed specifically for our silent auctions, were a favorite. We had the pleasure of featuring his work for our educational tours and showcasing his projects in an AARCH gallery exhibit. In addition, Nils and his wife Muriel hosted a "Big Gratitude" donor event in 2018.
Nils pioneered the New Adirondack Style of architecture, a blend of Shingle, Craftsman, Prairie, and regional expressions, while maintaining an eye for modern living requirements and technology. His structures are all thoughtfully designed to fit their surroundings, as if a part of the natural landscape themselves, without losing the rich texture, color, and form that make his designs distinctive. An artist in every sense of the word, his work went far beyond plans and elevations. From unique light fixtures, furniture, planters, pennants, and stained-glass windows, he meticulously considered every aspect of a building, no matter how small or large.
Nils contributed so much richness to architecture in the Adirondacks and beyond and he will be remembered for his distinctive designs dotting the the region's many lakes, rivers, and mountains.
The 2023 Preservation Awards will be presented on September 22nd at the Hitching Post in Lake Luzerne. To purchase tickets or learn more, please visit our website.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage is the nonprofit, historic preservation organization for the Adirondack Park with an educational mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the region’s architecture and communities.