Introduction to the interview series… Behind the Preservation Award Program

A decade after it was first established in 1985, the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission initiated an annual Preservation Awards Program in

1995 to publicly honor local owners who have completed exterior improvements in keeping with the historical character of their property. Typically the Commission gives out 12 awards to owners of historically designated (6 “Preservation Awards”) as well as to non-designated older properties (an additional 6 “Director Awards”). This year, 2014, was the 19th annual celebration. The Award ceremony was held in the grand hall of the Somerville Armory. Following a reception with contributions from local businesses, each property owner received a unique representation of their property by SHS students in the Art Dept or CAD Program, plus a certificate from the City and a citation from the Massachusetts State Legislature arranged by Senator Jehlen.
To delve behind the award winning projects Marion Berkowitz meets with many of the owners to learn more about what they did, why, and what lessons were learned. Marian herself is a freelance writer, Somerville parent, and homeowner, who after several years of interviewing, has become increasingly inspired by the City’s beautiful architecture and owners’ care for their older buildings. Among the 12 houses being recognized this year she shares photos and her personal interviews with many of the owners.
Editor’s note: This is the”x” article of a series of profiles written about Somerville residents who have won 2014 Historic Preservation Commission awards for worthy home restorations]

Nominations for 2015 Preservation Awards are due by Tuesday, Nov. 7th, 2014. Download a brief application at 2015 Preservation Award Nomination-form

Your Name: _________________________ Owner’s Name (if known): ________________ Telephone #: (day) (eve):_________________E-mail: _______________________________ Address of property being nominated and judged: ___________________________________ _________________ _________________________________________________________
1. Describe the property briefly (e.g. single-family house, commercial property, date and style to the best of your knowledge).
2. Do you own this property? If so, for how long? If not, relationship to property (e.g. neighbor, passerby, contractor…)
3. Has the building had recent work done on it? When?
4. Describe the work that was done (if known) to restore the architectural quality or maintain the historic fabric of this building. What is most wonderful about this work? Include photographs if available – “before” and “after” shots are especially effective.
Note: We are not likely to return application materials, including photographs, so please include copies, not originals. Digital photos are ideal and may be included on disk.
5. If new work was not done, but repair and replacement work was recently undertaken to maintain the property’s distinctive architectural character, please describe the historic elements, materials and/or workmanship that were preserved or restored (e.g. porch features, stained glass work, clapboard or shingle re-cladding).
6. Describe what you believe are the best features of the building. Does it reflect an important quality or character prevalent in its neighborhood (e.g. workingman’s housing, large lot preservation, garage or carriage house)? What is special or distinctive about it (e.g. adaptive reuse of structure, owner sweat equity, turnaround of long-term neglect)? Is it an especially good example of a particular architectural style (e.g. Greek Revival, Mansard, Queen Anne)?
7. Please share any information on the history of the house or its owners that would be of general interest.
Additional comments & visuals are welcome & may be attached on a separate piece of paper.

Here is the link for the Nomination Form on our website. 2015 Preservation Award Nomination-form

Click to access hpc-awards-nomination-form-2015.pdf

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