MUSCATINE — The month of May is National Historical Preservation Month and the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission is teaming up with the Muscatine Art Center to shine a spotlight on local preservation efforts.
On May 15 from 3-5 p.m., the Art Center will host the Historic Preservation Awards. After the awards are presented, there will be a reception with light refreshments and a screening of historic properties in Muscatine.
Fred Galoso, one of this year’s nominees, recently became a member of the commission. Galoso recused himself from voting and nominee consideration regarding the awards.
“(The commission) has been giving these awards out for a number of years,” Fred said, “We had a little bit of a pause with the pandemic, but we’re back in terms of recognizing the efforts that local residents are doing to help preserve these historic and important properties."
The Commercial Rehabilitation Award will be given to Brad and Rachel Roeth for their work on the Hershey Avenue Fire Company building. Fred said he considered their work as an example of dramatic transformation.
“(The Hershey Avenue) building was a very neglected property, and Brad and Rachel have not only preserved it, but I think what’s really great is that they’ve put that property back to work again, and made it a productive property,” Fred said.
The Resident Rehabilitation Award will be presented to Fred, as well as Kayla Galoso, for their work on the Rothschild-Cohn House. The Galosos are the latest owners of this 140-year-old home, but as far as Fred is concerned, they are stewards of the house.
“We became the owners of this house in the summer of 2017… and the previous owners have each done their own contribution to maintain and enhance the house and preserve it, so we’re really just the latest,” he said.
Much of the interior of the home was renovated by previous owners, which allowed Fred and Kayla to focus on the exterior structure including masonry, metal- and woodwork, the roof, chimney and windows.
“Really we’re just getting it weather-tight and making sure all of those maintenance items are taken care of, and as we speak we’re doing the last phase of the exterior restoration here,” Fred said.
Finally, the Stewardship Award will be presented to Brad Bark, as well as Scott and Ann Lesnet. According to Fred, the Stewardship Award recognizes the work done on a series of different projects for historic preservation.
“The Lesnet's latest property on Mississippi Drive is just their latest example of taking a property that has been kind of in stasis or neglected for a bit, and bringing it back carefully into its original glory,” he said.
This award ceremony comes two months after the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission opened up nominations for these awards. Each nomination included the property owner’s name and address, and a description of the type of preservation work completed and before and after photos of the property..
The commission wanted to focus the awards on keeping the historic integrity and the preservation of unique features and architecture.
“I think these awards just really highlight the important work that individuals are taking upon themselves to preserve a little bit of Muscatine’s history,” Fred said, “There’s certainly a community of preservationists. Between the city and county preservation commission and the friends groups, we all kind of help each other out, and it’s definitely a community effort.”