The Power of Preservation (PoP) Foundation is back for its eighth annual Preservation PROMenade on Thursday, Oct. 24. This year’s theme is Sitcom PROM.
PoP is a nonprofit founded in 2012 by a coalition of passionate individuals who believe in the literal “power” of preservation to enhance our quality of life and economy. While many citizens, business leaders, and elected officials may not self-identify as preservationists, most people value what preservation is about: a sense of place, a sense of community, reinvestment in downtown, adaptive reuse of existing buildings and infrastructure, economic development, protection of neighborhoods, authenticity, walkability, sustainability, and climate action.
Each year, PROM honors people and projects that exemplify the values and mission of PoP with three awards – the Vision Award, the Champion Award, and the Best Preservation Project Award.
This year, PoP will honor U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett with the Vision Award in recognition of his lifelong commitment to historic preservation. He credits the early influence of great teachers and a family project restoring an 1890s home for his love of history – and these values have clearly carried through his career in public service. During his time in the Texas Senate, he authored a bill that enabled cities to provide local tax incentives for designated landmarks and historic districts. He is a longtime member of the House of Representatives Historic Preservation Caucus and counts himself as a devoted advocate for the cause.
Today his district includes four of the five historic Spanish Missions inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. That international recognition, the first in Texas and one of only 24 nationwide, was made possible in many ways by Doggett’s inexhaustible support and advocacy at the national level. “Historic preservation not only adds to the joy of life, of living here,” he said, “but attracts people from all over the world to see not just our World Heritage site but the many other historic attributes.”
Doggett also recognizes the urgent challenge to adapt to a changing earth. “We are part of a climate crisis, and we need to improve energy efficiency in our older buildings to maintain them and to do all we can to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.
PoP proudly commends Doggett as the 2019 Vision Award winner.
Curtis Hunt is a fourth-generation mason, following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His grandfather built the first public library in 1927 and put the fourth story on City Hall; his father worked on all five of the UNESCO World Heritage Missions and started the restoration part of the family business. Hunt has been fortunate enough to restore the work of his father and grandfather as part of his legacy in San Antonio, including masonry work at the Alamo dating to the 1960s.
Hunt was more recently involved with the relocation of the Sullivan Carriage House from the San Antonio Light property to its current home adjacent to the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. His company dismantled, numbered, and photographed each stone to rebuild and restore the structure. His company strives to restore historic buildings in the city using techniques that have been practiced for thousands of years.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to work on those buildings,” said Hunt. “To know that we’re maintaining them and preserving them … it really makes you feel good to know that for generations to come, that they’ll be able to see [those] buildings being taken care of.”
Hunt will retire at the end of this year. In recognition of his dedication to preservation trades and stewardship of historic masonry buildings, he will be honored with the Champion Award.
The history of Plaza de Armas (Military Plaza) as the seat of local government in San Antonio stretches back nearly three centuries. At its center is City Hall, with historic architecture that tells a story of San Antonio deeply rooted in civic pride. Our public buildings represent the shared stories of our past and fosters a vibrant sense of place for San Antonio.
The 2019 Best Preservation Project award will recognize the San Antonio City Hall restoration. The City Council commissioned architect Otto Kramer to design City Hall in 1888. Its original design included corner turrets and a prominent dome topped with an octagonal clock tower. By 1927, a growing city and booming economy led to the addition of a fourth floor. The new design, by local firm Adams & Adams, removed all of the turrets and tower and changed the entrances to conform more closely to the Spanish Colonial Revival style that was widely popular in San Antonio during the 1920s.
City Hall has grown and adapted over time just like our City. Understanding the importance of this legacy, the City is undertaking the much-needed rehabilitation and modernization of City Hall with an emphasis on preserving the unique and historic architecture of the building – including the restoration of the beautiful original wood windows. The exciting expansion of the front entrance to include increased accessibility to City Hall further exemplifies the City’s commitment to sensitive and inclusive design.
At PROM, PoP also has a tradition of asking guests to vote for a “People’s Choice” award given to an outstanding preservation or adaptive reuse project. The 2019 committee has selected six candidates for this year’s People’s Choice award:
- Maverick Whiskey, 115 Broadway, a former bank turned boutique distillery, bar, and restaurant.
- St. John’s Seminary Buildings, 222 E. Mitchell St., 1920s and 30s institutional buildings rehabilitated for housing.
- Fontaine’s at Midtown Station, 906 E. Elmira St., a former service station that now houses a unique southern diner and bar.
- Tru Hotel, 901 E. Houston St., the long-vacant Gillespie Ford Motors showroom repurposed as a boutique hotel.
- Burns Building, 106 Jefferson, a former department store rehabilitated into world-class office space.
- Adapt Architecture Offices, 1826 McCullough Ave., a former service station “Adapt-ed” as a design office.
Historic preservation is economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Proceeds raised by PoP support the hands-on preservation programs of the Office of Historic Preservation, including OHP’s S.T.A.R. project (Students Together Achieving Revitalization), Rehabarama, and the restoration of the historic Kelso House, which serves as a historic preservation learning laboratory for hands-on preservation skills.