2009 Awards

Recognition in 2009 for work completed in 2008 or earlier includes Four Preservation Awards for home projects, one for adaptive reuse of an historic building, and an Individual Award for recognize a person for years of advocacy in support of preservation of historic buildings.  Finally, a Certificate of Recognition for an appropriate functional addition to a landmark building was given.



Case-Mitchell House at 720 20th Street, Honorees:  Mark & Deb Holmes

The wrecking ball was in sight when Mark and Deb Holmes decided to take on the restoration of a home that was little more than a shell – but a very historic one – nearly twenty years ago.   The former mansion had been converted to multiple apartments for forty years and was then effectively abandoned for another decade.  Acting as their own general contractors and doing most of the work themselves, the Holmes family tackled the significant structural and mechanical items first, with the intent of making the home habitable.  Amazingly, the brick walls were still solid and square, and the delightful belvedere on the rooftop was intact, though in disrepair.  From little more than an exterior shell, the home has been rebuilt to its early appearance. Interior woodwork was reproduced based on a few pieces that remained.  The front porch, which had been missing for decades, was reproduced based on a turn-of-the century

photo.   An appropriate earth toned paint scheme provided a final transformation to the once white elephant.  A new garage is reminiscent of the size and scale of the original carriage house.  RIPS also recognizes the Holmes family for their willingness to open their home for public view during their years of construction.


House at 834 23rd Street,  Honorees: Martin & Kathy Matherly

Porches are one of the most important features of a historic home, yet one of the most vulnerable to deterioration.  The large wraparound porch at the Matherlys’ home was in such bad condition that partial demolition was necessary, with only the roof framing remaining.  The porch was then rebuilt to replicate the original but with new materials replacing the rotted and deteriorated structural underpinnings and flooring.  New, half-height columns atop pedestals that support the roof have the same appearance as the originals.

 House at 2208 7th Avenue, Honoree: Dr. Francy Ricketts

This historic house, now used as an office and residence, was restored several years ago.  In the intervening years, a problem developed on the front porch.  The bases of the tall ornate columns had deteriorated to the extent that the columns gradually sank downward.  This was most apparent in the balustrade, which developed a humpback appearance.  Their craftsman carpenter, Phil Douglas, was able to repair the porch thanks to modern materials.  First some needed structural work was completed, and areas of the porch flooring were replaced.  Then the six original columns were removed, one at a time, for restoration.  The bottoms of the round sections were repaired with a modern epoxy filler, designed for use with wood.  Longitudinal cracks in the columns were also filled.  Then they were set on a new vented base and more vents were added at the top to allow air circulation and prevent future rot.   Finally the balustrade sections were straightened and returned to their proper place.


House at 815 23rd Street, Honorees: Karolyn Williams 

Several years ago, this home saw dozens of workers releasing the historic clapboard siding from its cage of asphalt fake brick during a Broadway Great Unveiling. When the imitation brick was added, probably in the 1940s, the porch columns and balustrades were removed and a room was added to the front of the house.   The addition did not have clapboard siding, only rough lumber sheathing.    There were many needed repairs to the clapboard all over the house, as well as new clapboard needed where none was present.  The porch was reconstructed using vintage materials.  Finally a tastefully elegant new paint scheme completed this extensive unveiling and restoration.


 Evald Hall, 3601 7th Avenue, Honoree:  Augustana College  

When a historic building is modified for a use other than that originally intended, it is known as “Adaptive Reuse.” This former dormitory building, originally known simply as the Women’s Building, served Augustana College as a women’s dormitory until 1960.  At that time, it was converted to a men’s dormitory and the name was changed to Erland Carlsson Hall.  The adaptive reuse began in 2007 with construction that changed the function as well as the name of the building.  Now named for Emmy Carlsson Evald, the daughter of Erland, it houses the academic departments of Accounting, Business, Economics, Education and Psychology, as well as the offices of Augustana’s Center for Vocational Reflection and the Office of International Studies.  Because modifications to the building were necessary, this is not considered a full restoration.  However important exterior architectural features, especially the beautiful stone walls, were repaired and restored to maintain the appearance of Augustana’s historic campus on 7th Avenue.



Alan Carmen, Planning & Redevelopment Administrator, City of Rock Island

RIPS honors Alan Carmen for his recent successful advocacy in finding a purchaser for the historic Schriver-Nettles house, a mission that was accomplished within the past year.   We also recognize him for his continued commitment to preservation activities, dating back to his earliest years in Rock Island.  Shortly after the Rock Island Preservation Society was organized in 1981, Alan, then a newly hired city planner, initiated the first meeting between the fledgling organization and the city.   That developed into the city’s long term relationship with RIPS that has extended to other groups who now work to restore and rebuild our city.

He was the city liaison for the committee that developed the Rock Island Preservation Ordinance, and today continues as liaison with the Preservation Commission.  He has been a key player in restoring and revitalizing our older historic neighborhoods.   Under his leadership, several of our historic areas have developed plans with both short and long term goals, intended to stabilize neighborhoods.   Many of these plans have a strong historic preservation component, which is correctly seen as a way to attract and keep new residents.  The success is demonstrated in the significant private investment that has been made in these neighborhoods.  The Carmen family lives in a neighborhood once thought to be at risk.

Today as Planning & Redevelopment Administrator in the Community and Economic Development Department, Alan has continued his strong presence in preservation activities.  His personal interest and hard work succeeded in finding new owners for old properties in serious need of restoration, most recently the Schriver-Nettles House.   He is playing a key role in the adaptive reuse plans for Old Lincoln School and securing funding for the current feasibility study.  He was instrumental in delaying a pending demolition for the Case-Mitchell House nearly 20 years ago and finding the new owners, who are receiving a RIPS Historic Preservation Award this year.   His work with neighborhood revitalization and preservation has resulted in a better quality of life and a more stable tax base. Alan’s professionalism in all aspects of his work and his integration of the principles of historic preservation whenever relevant have caused preservationists and city planners statewide to recognize Rock Island as the model for historic preservation at its best.


Rock Island Public Library, 401 19th Street,  Honoree:  Ava Ketter, Director  

The main entrance to the landmarked Rock Island Public Library has always been a grand place.  But the steps can be a major barrier to those with physical handicaps.  During the library restoration and expansion nearly twenty-five years go, an accessible entrance on the ground floor was opened for public use, with an elevator available for transport to other floors.   But this entrance provided no shelter from the weather.  When a decision to add a portico of some type was made, consultation with the Rock Island Preservation Commission led to the library retaining an architect who designed the complementary and very functional portico.  Its simple modern design does not compete with the classical style of the library, yet it is attractive in its own right.  Large enough to provide the needed shelter, it is constructed of materials that  should endure for years.  A skylight keeps the interior bright, even on dark days.  An added benefit – it is not actually attached to the historic building, so no holes in the historic stonework were necessary.