Couple awarded preservation award for renovation
The Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit are named in honor of the late Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist. Presented since 1974, a maximum of 12 awards are given each year. The Awards of Merit give deserved recognition to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion, and/or significant participation in preservation.
Built in 1935, Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Lenoir was one of the few buildings constructed during the immediate post-Depression era in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It retains architectural and historic integrity and is representative of a typical 1930s downtown retail building. Stine’s closed in the 1950s and the building was home to a variety of businesses over the decades.
By 2019, the building had been vacant for at least 15 years. The roof had fallen in and the interior was rapidly deteriorating. The distressed condition of this corner building was beginning to affect neighboring properties when the city’s planning director, code enforcement officer, and Main Street director stepped in to help. After months of discussions, the Brakefield family who owned the building decided that the best way to save it would be to sell to buyers who had the skills and the enthusiasm to take on the project and bring the building back to life. The Brakefields had fond memories of growing up in their father’s ice cream shop. They didn’t want to see the building go, but they weren’t sure how to resolve the code issues.
Fortunately, Maurer, a preservation architect, had been participating in downtown revitalization discussions and was looking for a new project. David and his wife, Allison Gray, purchased the property and began renovations in 2019. The second-floor residential unit is already occupied and a millennial veteran opened a modern barber shop in the first-floor retail space.
The project was the second property in Lenoir’s Historic District to utilize both State and Federal Historic Preservation tax credits, and spurred a snowball effect of downtown reinvestment in four neighboring buildings. David and Allison’s renovation leveraged $228,000 in private investment, a new business, and a new apartment for the historic district. Private investment in the rehabilitation of the adjacent properties is anticipated to exceed $1 million.