Linda Bruckheimer honored for outstanding dedication to historic preservation in Kentucky

Linda Bruckheimer was honored with the Memorial Award for outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth.
Linda Bruckheimer was honored with the Memorial Award for outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 31, 2017) – The Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office and Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation yesterday hosted the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards. Linda Bruckheimer was honored with the Memorial Award for outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth, the highest honor bestowed during the annual event.

Presented each May during National Historic Preservation Month, the awards recognize excellence in the preservation of historic buildings and cultural resources through investment, advocacy, volunteerism, building partnerships, public involvement, lifelong commitment or significant achievement. They are named for the first executive director of the state historic preservation office, and this year’s awards were presented with special thanks to Nana Lampton.

Bruckheimer was recognized for more than two decades of preservation philanthropy, investment and advocacy at the local, state and national level.

“Linda remains fiercely loyal to her Kentucky heritage and continues to dedicate her considerable talents to preserving and protecting the endangered central Kentucky landscapes that she so loves,” said Steve Collins, foundation chairman, in presenting the engraved silver cup. “Whatever Linda undertakes, the theme of appreciating and preserving those places that identify our shared past underscores all of her work.”

In Bloomfield, her projects include rehabilitation of an 1820 Greek Revival home and farm, and eight downtown buildings, bringing new businesses and visitors to the community. She has also been an active member of the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, through which she and her husband established the Linda and Jerry Bruckheimer Fund for Kentucky, which supports the preservation of historic buildings, communities and landscapes throughout the Commonwealth.

“It is an unbelievable honor to receive this prestigious award,” Bruckheimer said during her acceptance, recounting her journey to purchasing a historic Kentucky farm and subsequent preservation advocacy.

“As everyone here knows, there’s still an endless stream of work to be done, something that takes passion and vigilance, and people who believe you can and must fight city hall. Although we all have our pet projects, we are bound by a common purpose, one that is plain as day. If we continue to abuse our historic treasures, then there’s only a matter of time before Kentucky loses all the qualities that make it unique.”

Preservation Project Awards went to:

• Hellman Creative Center, Covington, formerly Hellmann Lumber & Manufacturing Company, a 13,800-square-foot lumber mill constructed between 1886-1894, adapted by the Center for Great Neighborhoods into a creative placemaking hub with flexible community space, artist studios, and their new offices

• Paducah Coca-Cola Bottling Plant, the city’s finest example of Art Deco architecture, long vacant and deteriorating before Ed and Meagan Musselman purchased it for redevelopment, preserving many original features, bringing in new businesses and jobs, and showcasing local art and artists

• Rabbit Hash General Store, a local landmark in continuous operation since 1831, a white-frame building nearly lost to fire but meticulously restored by Rabbit Hash Historical Society and other supporters who preserved and utilized as much remaining historic fabric as possible in the rebuilding

• Robneel Building, Paris, a Main Street commercial and residential structure dating to 1908, carefully rehabilitated by owners Darrell and Debbie Poynter and their son, Chris, who preserved many original features and also allowed former owners, the local Odd Fellows Lodge, to continue meeting on the property

Service to Preservation Awards went to:

• Eric and Ellen Gregory of Midway, for their hands-on rehabilitation of multiple family homes, notably The Bell House in Metcalfe County; for engaging their children to help with these projects; and for utilizing and promoting the use of historic rehabilitation tax credits

• Martin Luther King and William Wells Brown Neighborhood Associations for “Gathering Our History: An East End Preservation Project,” for documenting Lexington’s East End neighborhood, capturing its stories, and creating an event to publicly celebrate the community’s rich cultural heritage, historic architecture and long-time residents

• The University of Kentucky Historic Preservation Symposium, an annual conference that premiered in 2005 to introduce students and others to innovative work shaping the boundaries of historic preservation practice by bringing together a range of speakers to discuss current topics in an accessible format

Grassroots Preservation Awards were presented to:

• Dr. Andy Paul Keaton of Red Bush in Johnson County, for his considerable time and investment in restoring the Lloyd Hamilton Mott House, a vernacular frame structure dating to 1890 and remarkable for its all-wood construction, and for inventing creative solutions to overcome unique challenges

• Mt. Washington Youth Chamber of Preservationists (Youth COPs) for “A Milestone at the Crossroads,” a community-wide collaborative led by five Bullitt East high school students to preserve and re-display a limestone mile marker from the 1830s Louisville-Bardstown Turnpike along with an interpretive marker

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