North Carolina historic preservation awards land in Winston-Salem

Local historic resources officer Michelle McCullough won the highest honor that Preservation North Carolina bestows on working professionals during the group’s annual historic preservation conference, held Oct. 26 in Winston-Salem.

Awards were also made recognizing historic preservation efforts by city government, the Friends of Odd Fellows Cemetery and Reynolda House. GBX Group LLC of Cleveland, Ohio was awarded for historic preservation efforts at a number of locations here and in other North Carolina cities.

McCullough won the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award for what Preservation North Carolina called exceptional leadership and outstanding commitment to preservation as part of her job responsibilities. McCullough has been historic resources officer for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Planning and Development Services Department for the last 20 years.

McCullough was cited for her work in support of the Forsyth County Historic Resources Commission, which oversees Winston-Salem’s two historic districts and one historic overlay district as well as Forsyth County’s 140 local historic landmarks. The group said McCullough speaks to clubs, develops and conducts trolley, bus and walking tours, and is involved in training.

Architectural historian and planner, Langdon Oppermann called McCullough “fun, and a pleasure to work with, even in the most difficult of circumstances,” and credited her for helping to instill a widespread preservation ethic in the city.

The Friends of Odd Fellows Cemetery here won the Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award, which is the highest highest honor given for the preservation, restoration or maintenance of landscapes, gardens, streetscapes and the like.

The cemetery friends’ group works to manage and keep up what was known as the city’s premier burial site for Black residents for decades after the establishment of the cemetery in 1907. The group organizes regular service days with volunteer groups who spend time cutting back brush and removing trash. Walkways are being established to provide descendants with access to family graves, and grass and bulbs have been planted.

The group is also honoring more than 100 military veterans buried at the cemetery including Buffalo Soldiers like Private First-Class John Hickman who belonged to the 10th Calvary of the United States Army, and Tuskegee Airman First Lieutenant Spurgeon N. Ellington.

The city of Winston-Salem won a Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit, for the restoration of Union Station. The group said the 1926 building was an iconic transportation landmark that had become an auto repair shop after rail service ended in 1970, but that the city acquired the property in 2010 and in 2017 began the effort to restore it to its former glory.

Reynolda House also won one of the Carraway awards for its roof and gardens restoration. In 2020-21, the green tile roof on Reynolda House was restored for long-term preservation in a project that included the use of new but similar tiles made by the original manufacturer, Ludowici Tile Co.

Reynolda House also carried out a garden restoration that included replacing drainage pipes, repainting stucco walls, repairing roofs and planting new cherry trees to replace ones that had aged out.

It’s not a local company, but GBX Group LLC of Cleveland won the L. Vincent Lowe Jr., Business Award presented annually by Preservation North Carolina, for work that has included historic preservation at Winston-Salem locations including the Pepper Building, Southbound Railway Freight Warehouse & Office, Efird Building, Twin-City Motors Building, and several smaller buildings on North Trade Street.

The award is Preservation North Carolina’s highest honor presented to a business that assists or promotes historic preservation. GBX partners with property owners, developers and local preservation organizations to acquire, redevelop and preserve historic real estate. It uses rehabilitation historic tax credits and preservation easements.

Click here to view the article in the Winston-Salem Journal.