5 honored for preservation efforts in Clark County

Published 8:24 am Saturday, May 27, 2017

For the second straight year, those maintaining, restoring and preserving the history of Winchester and Clark County were honored for their efforts.

Following a nomination process earlier this year, the Winchester Historic Preservation Commission and Winchester-Clark County Heritage Commission joined to hand out five awards Thursday to those who completed significant projects in the previous 18 months, HPC chairman J.R. Wilhite said.

The commission members who reviewed nominations considered two main criteria, Wilhite said: Does the work help maintain the historic character and is the project something you’d want to show someone as an example of a finished project?

Email newsletter signup

One of the award winners was the Winchester Arts Council, which recently completed an interior renovation of the Leeds Center for the Arts, which hosted the awards ceremony. The theater went dark for about four months while plaster was restored, bathrooms were re-plumbed and everything was painted to bring the 91-year-old theater back to its former glory.

“It began 30 years ago with those who decided this old theater was worth saving,” Council President Tracey Miller said. “It’s been a wild four months. Here’s to 92 more years of this theater being an integral part of our community.” 

Two champion awards were presented this year, one to Lara Early Thornberry who bought and renovated several downtown properties, and Edward and Vanessa Ziembroski, who own the Winchester Opera House and restored the old Baptist Church and parsonage at 36 and 40 E. Lexington Ave.

“It’s important to recognize tradition in your community,” Vanessa Ziembroski said. “It’s important to remember heritage.”

Stonemason Stuart Joynt won the craftsperson award for his work rebuilding walls and resetting markers at several historic cemeteries in Clark County as well as his work rebuilding stone walls throughout the county.

“It’s very rewarding when you’re done,” Joynt said of the work. It’s nice to know other people appreciate that as well.”

The site rehabilitation award was presented to John Hodgkin who sponsored the restoration of the Thomas Goff Cemetery including removing trees, resetting markers and rebuilding the walls around the cemetery.

Wilhite said there are already several sites which could be considered for the 2018 awards. 

“I’ve been assured by the cemetery board folks there are more (projects) on line,” Wilhite said. “You can walk down Main Street and see what’s happening.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

email author More by Fred