2008 Awards

In 2008, RIPS recognized, eight projects for work completed in 2007 or earlier.  These include four Awards for extensive restoration and renovation, two Certificates of Recognition for completion of smaller projects, and two Special Achievements, one for group advocacy, the second for maintaining parts of Rock Island’s historic industrial landscape in a new park.    Most of these projects are truly a “Gift to the Street.”  Every passerby can enjoy the results of the renovation projects.  One Special Achievement has given new stability to a threatened institution in an historic neighborhood.  The second Special Achievement honors the newest park that provides an educational opportunity to view parts of a once contaminated historic landscape in an ecologically friendly manner…



All four of the awards below were given to the owners of homes which have been completely restored and renovated, both inside and out.  Without exception, these homes were in deteriorated or seriously remuddled condition.

Cozad House,  1607 20th Street,   Honorees:  Mike Hammer and Jean Dasso       Although occupied for most of its life, this historic home, a significant structure in the Highland Park Historic District had suffered a great deal of deferred maintenance when it was purchased by Mike Hammer and Jean Dasso.  Rotting built-in gutters created holes in eaves which allowed wildlife free access.  Windows with intricate muntin tracery had deteriorated so that the glass had fallen.  No modernization or updating of mechanicals had occurred in decades. That all changed in a very short time, when the home was completely restored, both inside and out, retaining all the period architecture, yet ensuring it will be stable and sturdy for decades to come.

Sweeney House, 816 20th Street,  Honorees: Bryan Pattschull & David Cordes        This brick home was built and owned by the members of the family of Edward D. Sweeney for nearly a century.  During that ownership, the second floor was converted to apartments.  From the 1970s until a few years ago, the house was used as offices for Catholic Social Services.  Under that ownership, it was designated a Rock Island Landmark.  The current owners have completely restored the home as a single family residence.   Original window sashes were repaired and protected with new appropriately shaped storm windows.  The house was repainted, retaining the painted “drapery” effect that is original to the window tops. A rear porch, which had been enclosed for decades, was reopened.  Finally, an appropriately sized and shaped new garage was erected in the spot where old fire maps show an original barn.  The original brick driveway running along the side of the house, which was nearly impassible because of heaved bricks, was lifted and relaid to its original smoothness.

Welch House, 817 23rd Street, Honorees: Jeff & Martha Dismer    Originally built as a single family home, this was converted to eight units in the 1940s, with the owner living in a downstairs apartment.  When the Dismers purchased the home, there were many kitchenettes and multiple baths, some of them shared, as well as non-original partitions.  The woodwork was painted throughout.  After interior renovations recreated the original floor plan and uncovered original features and modern update to mechanical systems were made, work began on restoration of the exterior.  Windows, clapboard and shingle siding, and porch railings were extensively repaired and rebuilt.  The final touch was a Victorian style paint color in deep tones.    The massive iron fence, which has surrounded the house since the 1920s, was disassembled for repair and then reinstalled.

Knox House, 734 22nd Street,  Honorees: Al & Margaret Melody      Vacant intermittently for the past few decades, this home was in critical condition when purchased by the Melodys.  Although it had a nearly new wood shingle roof, the basement of the house was partially open to the elements and part of the back of the house had been removed.  At one point, the stucco interior was in danger of being covered with vinyl siding.  Working to preserve the original architectural style and to preserve the original architectural elements, the home has been restored to better than new condition.  Stucco was repaired where needed and repainted.  The missing basement wall was rebuilt and now supports a new room addition on the first floor.   A reconstructed original driveway leads to a new garage.


 Van Galder House, 1010 20th Street, Porch Reconstruction, Honoree:  Enyo Dewith        Porches are an area of necessary high maintenance, yet they are one of the most important elements of a house.  This porch, over a century old was deteriorated.  The owner ensured that it was reconstructed using the original components when possible with the addition of new wood that replicates the old.

  Wilmerton House, 1604 22nd Street, Window & Screen replacement, Honorees:  Peter & Terri Cone       An open sun porch, which may have been enclosed at one time, was retrofitted with custom wood windows and screens that permit its use as a three-season room.  Since the home is part of the Highland Park Historic District, the Cones’ proposed work was reviewed by the Rock Island Preservation Commission.


Friends of Longfellow School & Keystone Neighborhood Association for Advocacy to save Longfellow School, Contact:  Terry Stimpson        When the Keystone Neighborhood Association learned that their school was likely to be closed, they mounted a campaign, through the Friends of Longfellow School, to save their neighborhood school.  With a multiphased effort, that involved bringing proponents of historic schools to speak, to fund raising with a Trivia Night, the group continually publicized and reinforced the positive qualities and the need for their neighborhood school.  Successful in their endeavor, the group is an inspiration to everyone who tackles the seemingly impossible.   Longfellow School survived and is being expanded to serve the neighborhood even better.

City of Rock Island for saving remnants of a contaminated but historic industrial landscape in an environmentally friendly manner at Sylvan Slough Natural Area Contact:  Mayor & City Manager Office    A former industrial site that was slated to be open space on the Sylvan Slough side of the riverfront still held the ruins of several industrial buildings on land contaminated with industrial waste.  Decontamination of the earth by natural means was a start. A careful deconstruction of the unusable buildings created an industrial “sculpture” garden, enhanced by native plantings and a commendable water retention system.  This newest park, that could simply have been only a large lawn, thus pays homage to our industrial riverfront of the past while making a place of delight today.