The 2023 National Preservation Awards are being presented this week at PastForward 2023 in Washington, D.C. The awards honor inspirational projects, individuals, and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in the field of preservation. This year's list is exceptional, featuring citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation.
Let's celebrate these remarkable winners!
Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award
The Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award is the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s highest recognition. Named for one of the National Trust's founding trustees, the award honors superlative achievement in the preservation and interpretation of our historic, architectural, or maritime heritage.
J. Myrick Howard | Raleigh, North Carolina
An extraordinary thought leader, practitioner, and mentor, J. Myrick Howard has saved hundreds of historic places and advanced model public policies and incentives in North Carolina for more than four decades. Under his leadership at Preservation North Carolina, Howard’s advocacy for revolving funds has resulted in the preservation of nearly 900 properties in 80 counties, leveraging over $750 million in private investment. His book Buying Time for Heritage: How to Save an Endangered Historic Property, is the go-to resource on the subject and a textbook for preservation programs across the nation.
The President’s Award
The President’s Award for National Leadership in Historic Preservation recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated exceptional contributions to the field of preservation.
The award, which is selected at the discretion of the President of the National Trust, has been given three times prior to this year: in 2015 to the Greenwich Post Office project, in 2016 to Judge Ed Emmett for his work related to the Astrodome, and in 2019 to NASA for their restoration of Johnson Space Center Apollo Mission Control Room.
Angel Delgadillo | Seligman, Arizona
Angel Delgadillo grew up on Route 66, where he opened a barbershop and souvenir shop. When the Interstate was opened in 1985, Delgadillo experienced firsthand the devastating impact of the decommissioning of Route 66 as a U.S. highway. After several years of laying the groundwork, Delgadillo’s tenacious advocacy and community engagement played a pivotal role in the preservation and celebration of historic Route 66.
Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards, the nation’s most coveted and prestigious awards, are bestowed on historic preservation efforts that demonstrate excellence in execution and a positive impact on the vitality of their towns and cities. Read more about this year’s Driehaus awardees in the fall issue of Preservation magazine.
TEP Center | New Orleans, Louisana
The McDonogh No.19 Public School was one of two schools first desegregated in New Orleans and across the Deep South. Leona Tate, one of the “McDonogh Three” who attended the formerly white-only school on November 14, 1960, now co-owns the renamed Tate, Etienne & Prevost Center. McDonogh was redeveloped into an adaptive reuse space that includes an interpretive center dedicated to teaching New Orleans’ history of school desegregation and the broader Civil Rights Movement, an anti-racism educational and training space, and 25 affordable apartments for senior households.
OSF HealthCare Ministry | Peoria, Ilinois
Passion, technology, and preservation expertise fueled the remarkable exterior and interior preservation of a dilapidated 7-floor, 3-sublevel 1905 department store in historic downtown Peoria. The building carries a longer history in the development of social services and healthcare to the community since the 1876 founding of the Sisters of the Order of St. Francis (OSF). Believing strongly in the continued investment of their community, the Sisters chose to renovate the long-neglected downtown icon instead of building new. This mixed-use project included the historic-tax-credit-supported rehabilitation of 275,000 SF of space into a modern hub that has brought in over 500 employees and millions of dollars to downtown Peoria.
Historic Houses of Worship and Disaster Aftermath, a Toolkit to Increase Resilience | San Antonio, Texas
In the aftermath of hurricanes and other disasters, communities often recover with help from neighborhood houses of worship. But many historic houses of worship, especially those that serve historically excluded and under-resourced communities, are at greater risk during major weather events. In response, the University of Texas at San Antonio collaborated with three universities to develop the highly accessible Toolkit to Increase Resilience. Considering every individual building, landscape, and cultural heritage component, the toolkit empowers faith-based groups to strengthen their buildings from future climate impacts.
Emerging Leaders in Historic Preservation Award
The Emerging Leaders in Historic Preservation Award recognizes emerging preservation leaders who demonstrate innovative thinking and achievement in advancing historic preservation in their local, state, or national communities.
Dr. Joy Banner, Co-Founder, The Descendants Project | St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana
Dr. Joy Banner has led groundbreaking work in historic preservation through the innovative use of history, archaeology, community, and descendant engagement to fight environmental racism, unemployment, and poverty. Under her leadership as co-director of The Descendants Project, she has successfully prevented the construction of a grain elevator over residential land and sacred burial grounds.
The National Trust/Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation
This award, presented in partnership with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, honors a project or program in which a federal agency and one or more non-federal partners, including tribes, have together achieved an exemplary preservation outcome.
The Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project | Ashland, Oregon
The Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project is a grassroots federal, state, and local partnership initiated in underserved rural communities in southern and eastern Oregon. This trailblazing project is embedded in local communities but includes an exceptional public education component that reaches a state-wide audience and beyond. The research generated through public archaeology projects is helping to update and recenter the history of the Chinese diaspora in Oregon.
Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence
The Trustees' Award for Organizational Excellence recognizes a nonprofit organization, large or small, that has demonstrated sustained and superlative achievement in historic preservation.
Waterfront Historic Area League | New Bedford, Massachusetts
Established in 1962, the Waterfront Historic Area League’s (WHALE) tireless commitment to preservation has had a transformative impact on New Bedford. Since 2015, it remains the first and only organization in the country to be both a Historic Preservation Nonprofit and a Community Development Corporation. WHALE’s historic restorations continue to adapt historic buildings for uses that create a thriving urban center, make neighborhoods strong, and bring economic gains to the city.
Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship
The Trustees Emeritus Award for Historic Site Stewardship recognizes success and innovation in historic preservation, management, and programming at historic sites.
Colectivo El Ancón de Loíza | San Juan, Puerto Rico
At the historic entrance of the Municipality on the banks of the Rio Grande de Loíza, Colectivo El Ancón de Loíza offers a variety of tools for community empowerment and development through art, education, economic growth, and leadership opportunities. By honoring its history, Colectivo El Ancón de Loíza proudly highlights their Afro Caribbean roots and recognizes their significant contribution to Puerto Rican culture.
Alabama Historical Commission| Mobile, Alabama
Over an intense five-year period, the Alabama Historical Commission led a highly successful response to the surprise discovery of the wreck of the schooner Clotilda, the last known vessel belonging to Alabama shipbuilder Timothy Meaher who brought captives from Africa to the United States to be forcibly enslaved. Their collaboration with private, state, federal, and not-for-profit entities, as well as direct descendants of the Clotilda in Africatown, serves as a model in historic preservation and community engagement.
John H. Chafee Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy
The John H. Chafee Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy recognizes an individual or group of individuals who have done outstanding work in preservation advocacy.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell | 7th District, Alabama
Congresswoman Terri Sewell has been a leader in advancing preservation policy through her long-standing advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels. A champion for the African American Civil Rights Grant Program and the Historic Tax Credit, Congresswoman Sewell has provided critical support for the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act and the creation of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument.
In 2024, we’ll be sharing more stories about these sites, people, and organizations and their incredible work in the field of historic preservation.
Know a project, individual, or organization that deserves recognition? Be sure to submit a nomination for the 2024 National Preservation Awards.