October 22, 2014 | Elizabeth McGuire
West Chester, PA – The West Chester Downtown Foundation and the West Chester Historic Preservation Awards Committee honored five individuals and projects that made an outstanding contribution to the historic preservation of West Chester. With the support of the West Chester Business Improvement District and generous sponsors, the West Chester Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony took place on October 21, 2014 at the Chester County Historical Society.
According to the mission of the program, “The purpose of the West Chester Historic Preservation Awards program is to raise awareness and appreciation of West Chester Borough’s historic character and to encourage the preservation of the Borough’s historic integrity.”
The West Chester Historic Preservation Program has three award categories:
- Bricks and Mortar Preservation Award | Awarded to recognize construction projects of exceptional quality that have a positive impact on the preservation of West Chester’s historic fabric.
- Preservation Service Award | Awarded to individuals and organizations in recognition of projects that promote a better understanding of the history of West Chester and the need to preserve the physical evidence of that history.
- West Chester Preservation Legacy Award | Awarded to an individual or organization in recognition of outstanding contributions to the better understanding of West Chester’s history and the preservation of the Borough’s historic fabric.
The West Chester Historic Preservation Awards is a Program of the West Chester Downtown Foundation (WCDF), a non-profit organization that promotes community interest in the vitality, culture & livability of Downtown West Chester through education, historic preservation, and collaboration.
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The following individuals and projects were honored:
Jane E. Dorchester receives Special Recognition Award
Jane E. Dorchester, Jane E. Dorchester Architectural Historian, recognized for her committed efforts to establish the West Chester Historic Preservation Awards Program.
At the request of the West Chester Downtown Foundation, Jane took on the challenge of developing an annual historic preservation awards program for West Chester. The goal of the awards was to promote the understanding and appreciation of historic preservation in West Chester through public education. Jane recruited an awards committee and guided the group through a two-year process to create the program from scratch. The high quality of recipients that have been recognized over the past four years is a testament to the strength of the preservation community in West Chester. Jane is a leader in that community. The committee recognizes Jane for her selfless dedication to establishing the West Chester Historic Preservation Awards Program.
PRESERVATION SERVICE AWARD
>> “A Walk Though History” School Group Walking Tour — Honored as an educational project that promotes a better understanding of the history of the Borough of West Chester and the need to preserve the physical evidence of that history. The tour, developed and conducted by the Chester County Historical Society for students in the 3rd – 12th grades, helps educate children (and others who participate) about the historic architecture and sites found throughout West Chester. The tour is an excellent example of how we can carry our mission forward by instilling the love of, and need for, historical preservation in the next generation.
BRICKS and MORTER AWARDS
>> Chester County Courthouse (High & Market Streets) — This project is significant because this effort to rehabilitate and restore the primary symbol of the Borough of West Chester to active and useful service is an exceptional example of the renovation project that is sensitive, not only to West Chester’s historic fabric, but also to the architectural nature of the building itself. In addition to restoring this centerpiece symbol — now in active use by District Court 15-1-04 — the rehabilitation and restoration uncovered hidden door frames and the architectural details, allowing visitors to now see the Courthouse as it could have looked in 1847, with vaulted ceilings, marble stairs and walls and trim painted in historic colors.
The project also included the sensitive design and construction of a new wheelchair accessible exterior ramp. The design effectively minimizes the ramp’s impact on this significant Thomas U. Walter building.
>> James and Margaret Hudgings Twin House (409-411 W. Union St.) — James and Margaret Hudgings were honored for the careful maintenance of their home and, particularly, the construction and design decisions that resulted in the replacement of the original slate roof and a new standing seam copper front porch roof. This project is a fine example of how homeowners can show their respect for the historic character of a building, and the streetscape in which the house stands, by incorporating good preservation practices.
>> First Presbyterian Church (130 W. Miner St.) — Originally completed in 1834, the church was designed by famed architect Thomas Ul Walter, and has been an integral part of the West Miner streetscape ever since. At the time of its original construction, the church elders made provisions for the future construction of a cupola, but could not afford it at that time. Walter left specifications for a 73 foot tall cupola. Recently the church received a generous financial gift that allowed the church to finally erect the cupola. The belated execution of this original intention is an example of how new construction can be completed with great respect to the historic fabric of the original building and the historic character of the streetscape.
>> See Historic Preservation Awards & Recognitions 2013
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The WCDF gratefully acknowledges the support of its generous sponsors and supporting partners.
The West Chester Business Improvement District
A. Roy Smith
Allen and Sarah Burke
David B. Reinfeld
Anonymous Friend of the WCDF
- Fulton Bank
- Jane E. Dorchester, Architectural Historian
- Matthew Holliday
- Jane Chalfant / Kiki Boutique
- Jim Jones
- Period Architecture
- Phil Yocum Architect
- RKM Advisors, Inc.
- Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc.
- West Chester, LLC
- Commissioner Kathi Cozzone
- Judith Fitzpatrick
- Fred Gusz
- Walter Hipple
- Elizabeth McGuire
- Penwick Design
- Ray Ott & Associates, Inc.
- Swope Lees Commercial Real Estate, LLC
- Chester County Historical Society
- Timlyn Vaughan Photography
- Visual Expansion Gallery