Aiken is an area rich in history and tradition; a number of Aiken residents have made a difference by helping to preserve those homes and buildings, and they have contributed to the existing architecture’s previous use and history.
The Historic Aiken Foundation held its preservation awards ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Aiken County Historical Museum, and recognized those who have made a difference with their efforts in several categories including stewardship, leadership, adaptive use, president, wild’s-lipe and commercial preservation.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions served as the title sponsor for the awards ceremony for the third consecutive year. The award winners had to go through a nominating process and meet the approval of the Historic Aiken Foundation board.
The award recipients provided a description of the restoration projects they undertook, in some cases going into great detail, each sharing how, through their efforts, they were able to preserve the powerful natural beauty of each building, or make improvements through a series of adjustments to the taste and temperament of the existing architecture.
The projects were examples of remarkable success, in each case lovingly assembled with renovations complementing a historic view. The architectural character and integrity of the historical sites, buildings and residences demonstrate the civilized relationships between people and space.
Betsy Simons, owner of Betsy’s on the Corner, said receiving the Adaptive Use Award was quite unexpected. Simons began working as a soda jerk when she was 12 years old and thought Aiken was in need of a soda shop that included a little diner.
“It was such a fun experience,” said Simons. “I thought it would create a lot of memories for the younger people in Aiken.”
The efforts of William and Simmie Moore were recognized, and they received of the President’s Award for their work on Kershaw Square. The Moores purchased the eight properties in November 2011, and several of the buildings seemed to be past their useful life, but the Moores accepted the challenge of restoring them. The houses were built in the late 19th century.
“The houses were very old, but the original construction was surprisingly good,” said Moore.
All of the ceilings in the houses were basically collapsed, but through their efforts they were able to raise the interior ceilings in some cases up to 12½ feet, said Moore.
Bob and Marylee McQuinn received the Leadership Award for their Garden House, a multipurpose building constructed on an undeveloped piece of property immediately adjacent to their historic home on Florence Street.
Staff photo by Ben Baugh Charles Leopold provides the audience with a narrative description in reference to the Thistle Cottage Garden, winner of the Historic Aiken Foundation’s Claudia Phelps Award.×
Staff photo by Ben Baugh Betsy Simons, the recipient of the Historic Aiken Foundation Adaptive Use Award, looks at the plaque, as Robert Stack looks on.×
Staff photo by Ben Baugh Robert Stack presents Aiken City Manager Richard Pearce with the Historic Aiken Foundation Facade Grant Program Award in recognition to the City of Aiken’s contributions.×
Staff photo by Ben Baugh William and Simmie Moore are presented with the President’s Award for their restoration efforts of Kershaw Square at the Historic Aiken Foundation Award ceremony.×
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