Archive for the ‘Preservation’ Category

Preservation isn’t just for grand houses

Friday, October 19th, 2012
The log cabin pictured around 1900-10 from Lakeshore Weekly News
So many times when hearing about historic preservation, people immediately think of some Victorian home or historic commercial building that is in need of saving. Either the home or building has fallen into ruin, seen forclosure, been destroyed by fire, been condemed by a city, etc. If it isn’t saved, it will be lost forever. But people often forget that historic preservation has no face and anything deemed to be significant to a community might be in need of saving.
Case in point, a little log cabin in Wayzata (shown above). Lakeshore Weekly News, a newspaper covering the greater Lake Minnetonka area, wrote an article this month about this 100+ year old cabin on Bushaway Road that’s future is not too certain. Irene Stemmer of the Wayzata Heritage Preservation Board is looking to save the little structure, as the current property owner wants it removed. It’s amazing that the cabin has survived this long and not been destroyed by current or previous owners. Besides its age, another cool fact is that the logs of the cabin are made out of Tamarack trees that once flourished in the area, but now no longer exist.
Either originally a squatter’s cabin or trapper’s cabin, according to the article, the log structure is the “oldest house in Wayzata”, says Stemmer. She is looking to save the cabin, but money for restoration and moving fees are still needed in order to preserve a part of the city’s history.
If you would like to look into helping preserve this historic log cabin, please contact Irene Stemmer of the Wayzata Heritage Preservation Board at

My Feature in the Star Tribune

Friday, September 28th, 2012
302 Fremont Avenue, Anoka
302 Fremont Avenue, Anoka
It’s always nice to get a call to speak about the importance of historic home preservation. It rarely happens to be a feature article in a major local newspaper, so you can imagine my surprise when just that happened. The Star Tribune gave me a call about the Shaw-Hammons House in Anoka, pictured above, whose owner informed them of my historic home specialty in real estate. They wanted to know about concerns in preservation and saving endangered properties from demolition, and I was happy to let them know my thoughts on the matter.

This old Anoka house gets new lease on life, but others slip into history

Article by: Paul Levy , Star Tribune

Built in 1852 and owned by Minnesota’s first senator, the historic house in Anoka was in shambles. Junk cluttered the yard. Wiring had been ripped away. Rooms were coated in dust, gutted and vandalized. Even the bathtub was missing.The home was simultaneously listed on the National Register of Historic Places and Minnesota’s Ten Most Endangered Properties list. But today, after a renovation that took three years and more than $100,000, it is the oldest home in Minnesota on the market. Historic-homes experts call it a “miracle.”

With few preservation programs available, it’s also a rarity. Indifference from city officials, minimal grant aid and foreclosures have placed the futures of some of Minnesota’s most prized historic homes in jeopardy.

“It can take more than a century to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places and only a few minutes for that same house to be bulldozed,” said Realtor Jennifer Kirby, creator of the “Historic Homes of Minnesota” blog. 

Read more from the article…


Historic Preservation Awards

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

This past week I had the honor of sitting on the Jury Panel for the 2010 Minnesota Preservation Awards, my second year doing so. It is not an easy task deciding on who should win an award, but it is exciting and interesting to see the numerous projects all over Minnesota that are striving to preserve our historic heritage. Now in its 26th year, the Preservation Awards honor the top Minnesota preservation projects for various categories, including but not limited to Adaptive Reuse, Restoration, Stewardship, and Community Efforts.

This years event will take place on September 16th, in Winona at the Winona County History Center. If you would like to attend, please visit the Preservation Alliance website for more information.

The Julian Weaver House

Friday, April 16th, 2010
863 Lincoln St, Granite Falls, MN

Saving a historic home is not an easy task, especially when no one wants it. In 2005, the Weaver house was placed on the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota’s 2005 10 Most Endangered List, as the city wanted the home to be moved off the flood plain, and if no site was found, the home would be demolished.

Built in 1878 by Julian A. Weaver, a civil war veteran, this Italianate home is one of the most intact examples of 1870s residential architecture remaining in west-central Minnesota. Seeing as most of the surrounding homes had been demolished over the years, or moved, it was extremely important that this home be saved.

The Granite Falls Historical Society and the City of Granite Falls had looked for three years to find a buyer to no avail. In January 2008, just as the home was slated for demolition, Sarina Otaibi, an undergraduate college student, offered to purchase it and saved it from demolition.The house was moved three blocks away in May of 2008, and Ms. Otaibi spent the next year in renovations, and eventually sold the home to a new owner in December 2009.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota awarded Ms. Otaibi a Minnesota Preservation Emerging Leader award for her efforts in historic preservation.