COLUMBUS–Outstanding historic preservation achievements in communities throughout Ohio were honored at the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office Awards at the Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Avenue in Columbus on Saturday, October 24.
 Celebrating 33 years of recognizing special accomplishments in historic preservation, the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office Awards have been presented annually since 1983 on the basis of nominations submitted from throughout the state.
“I am delighted that Belmont County has been recognized for its effort to preserve one of our county’s important historical sites,” said Commissioner Ginny Favede. “Our county has a proud history and I am pleased to see that leaders in the preservation community recognize that our area is hard at work preserving its history and telling our story.”
Awards are presented in two categories: Public Education and Awareness, and Preservation Merit. The Belmont County Commissioners along with Belmont College, and the architectural firm Chambers, Murphy and Burge were recognized for their work on the Belmont County Sheriff’s Residence with a Preservation Merit Award. The Preservation Merit Award is for preserving Ohio’s prehistory, history, architecture or culture. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, restoring, rehabilitating or otherwise preserving an important building or site, longtime stewardship of a property, promoting protective legislation, funding preservation projects, offering leadership, support or service and furthering preservation at the local, regional or state level.
Following the restoration, Belmont County Tourism and the Commissioners assembled a team of historians from the area to create a new county history museum that would showcase the unique history of Belmont County’s communities. The museum operates Thursday through Saturday 10 – 4 and Sunday 1-4.
“The Belmont County Commissioners and Belmont County Tourism are pleased and honored to receive this distinguished award from the Ohio History Connections’ State Preservation Office,” said Favede.
The restoration of the building was a unique collaboration between the City of St. Clairsville, Belmont County Commissioners, Belmont County Tourism and the Belmont College’s Building Preservation Restoration (BPR) Program. City of St. Clairsville Service Director, Dennis Bigler wrote the initial ODOT Transportation Enhancement Grant, which ultimately coupled with funds from Belmont County Tourism and Ohio Department of Development that funded the restoration work. Mr. Bigler’s vision was to utilize the building to spur historical tourism in Belmont County. The new historical museum has been a catalyst for the entire county drawing visitors from throughout the region and throughout the country. “In today’s society many believe progress is tearing down old buildings and old neighborhoods to make room for new,” said Favede when accepting the award, “I believe progress is teaching that history matters and this award is acknowledgement that in Belmont County we have been successful in that mission.”
This year’s honors went to recipients from nine communities across Ohio:
 Public Education and Awareness Awards:
Cincinnati Preservation Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center for the exhibit Saving Buildings Together: 50 Years of Cincinnati Preservation, Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation for its Take a Hike downtown Cleveland walking tours and Ball State University’s Applied Anthropology Laboratories for increasing public awareness and interest in the preservation and protection of the battlefield at Fort Recovery.
Preservation Merit Awards: City of Cleveland and City Architecture for preserving and interpreting the 1891 League Park site at 6601 Lexington Avenue in Cleveland, Sustainable Communities Associates, Dimit Architects, Naylor Wellman, LLC, Lewin & Associates, and Turner Construction Company for rehabilitation of the 1930 Fairmont Creamery Ice Cream Building for mixed commercial use, Famicos Foundation, City Architecture, Marous Brother Construction and Ted Sande, AIA Emeritus for rehabilitation of the 1922 Sovereign Hotel at 1575 East Boulevard in Cleveland as University Tower Apartments, Thomas Gillespie for the rehabilitation of historic buildings on West 25th Street, Detroit Avenue and Jay Avenue in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, New Village Corporation, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and Noble Preservation Services, Inc. for the rehabilitation of St. Luke’s Hospital at 11311 Shaker Boulevard in Cleveland as St. Luke’s Manor, Association of College and University Housing Officers – International, ROI Realty Services, Inc. and M. Warner Construction for rehabilitation of Orton Memorial Laboratory at 1445 Summit Street in Columbus, Cristo Rey Columbus High School, Schooley Caldwell Associates, Benjamin D. Rickey & Company and Corna Kokosing Construction Company for rehabilitation of the former Ohio Institution for the Education of the Deaf building at 400 East Town Street in Columbus as Cristo Rey High School, Friends of the Flagpole Association and Ravenna Township Trustees for the restoration of the 1893 flagpole in Ravenna, Belmont County Commissioners; Chambers, Murphy & Burge and Belmont College’s Building Preservation/Restoration Program for rehabilitation of the 1890 Belmont County Sheriff’s Residence at 101 East Main Street in St. Clairsville, Scioto County Engineer, Otway Historical Society, Jones-Stuckey, Ltd, JA Barker Engineering and The Righter Company, Inc. for rehabilitation of the Otway Covered Bridge in Otway, St. Raphael Catholic Church and Millennium Preservation Group for the exterior restoration of St. Raphael Catholic Church at 225 East High Street in Springfield, Community Action Commission of Fayette County, The Woda Group and Chambers, Murphy & Burge Restoration Architects for rehabilitation of the 1913 Washington School at 318 N. North Street in Washington Court House as Washington School Apartments
 The Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office is Ohio’s official historic preservation agency. It identifies historic places in Ohio; nominates properties to the National Register of Historic Places; reviews federally-assisted projects for effects on historic, architectural, and archaeological resources in Ohio; qualifies communities for the Certified Local Governments program and administers a program of matching grants to them; consults on the conservation of older buildings and sites; and offers educational programs and publications.