Celebrating Roanoke’s History: Award Night

Ariel Clark photographs her mom, Susan, and award-winning dad, Mark Clark at the ceremony.

The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation gave its annual awards last night at the Culinary Institute, one of the recipients, and, as always, it was a lively and well-fed crowd that appreciated the work done in saving our local history.

Chloe Shelton

The even was capped with the showing of one of two films by young Chloe Shelton of the Grandin Theatre Laboratory.

Chloe was honored for Heritage Education. She is a home-schooled student who wrote and directed films based on local history. “Til I Come Home,” brings to life a collection of letters between Robert Whitescarver, a young World War I soldier, and his family. “Cotton Clouds: is a film about a girl who worked at Roanoke Cotton Mill in the Norwich section in 1912.

Other award winners include:

Mark Clark and Bob Clement chat.

Mark Clark: Lifetime Achievement in Historic Restoration. As the owner of Southwest Restoration, Clark has a legacy of work on the Chaplain’s House and windows at VMI, store fronts in Bassett, historic building surveys for three Southwest Virginia towns, preservation planning for Marion, a log building at Elliston and a current project on a building at Monterey in Salem. He had a long career of restoration in Northern Virginia before he came to Roanoke 17 years ago. (His daughter, Ariel, is working with him on the Monterey building.)

Kay Dunkley of the Higher Education Center.

Culinary Institute: Heritage Education. The Roanoke Higher Education Center worked with Virginia Western Community College to expand the Culinary Institute on Henry Street in 2016. They asked the community to help develop interpretive pieces for Henry Street and the historic Strand Theater nearby. Gainsboro History Panels on Wells Avenue were developed by a History Walk Committee to tell the story of Henry Street, once a cultural and business center for African-Americans.

Roanoke College’s LBGTQ research, led by Dr. Gregory Rosenthal, was honored.

Stone House: Preservation. Michael Grosso and his son, Joseph Grosso, used stone from the old Roanoke post office to build a big house on 13th Street. After it was purchased in 2003 by Black Dog Salvage Properties, next door, it was rehabilitated into a guest house.

Southwest Virginia LGBTQ History Project: Heritage Education: Students at Roanoke College, led by Dr. Gregory Rosenthal, established an archive of regional material, developed a digital website, conducted 33 oral histories, developed free walking tours and published online exhibitions, all on the LGBTQ community

Bob Clement.

Bob Clement: Historic Neighborhood Advocacy. Clement is the retired neighborhood coordinator for Roanoke, widely credited with changing the way neighborhoods relate to city government, building relationships and engaging citizens in information about issues.

David Perry, executive director, and Megan Cupka, assistant director, of Blue Ridge Land Conservancy: Environmental Preservation. Perry and Cupka led the Conservancy in protecting over 1,100 acres through 10 conservation easements in Southwest Virginia in the past year, making a total of 20,000 acres of land, 60 miles of streams covered by easements held by the Conservancy.

Nelson Harris: Publications and Speaking. Former Roanoke Mayor Harris, president of the Historical Society of Western Virginia, has written 10 books, mainly focused on early photographs of Roanoke Valley and the region.

Historian/Writer Nelson Harris.

Light Well Lofts: Adaptive Reuse. The 1910-era Renaissance Revival building at 105 Campbell Ave., (damaged in the flood of 1985) was vacant for nearly 30 years. In 2015, ACR Investments purchased the building to renovate as apartments.

Alam Design provided architectural and engineering services and Family Builders was the contractor for the $1 million project. The building has 12 apartments and a new store front, based on historic photographs.

Will Heron of Alum Design.

David Perry.

Huff-Rutrough House: Bulldozer Award. Robert A. Gilmer and his family lived there until it was rented, then abandoned and razed this past spring. The Greek Revival building was one of only two left in Southeast Roanoke.

Anne Beckett (left) took over the Preservation Foundation’s presidency last night from Allison Blanton.

Whitney Leeson, Ruth Doan, Kay Dunkley enjoy the festivities.

Mark Clark and his proud daughter, Ariel.

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