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2023 East Tennessee Preservation Awards

Nationally, May is recognized as Preservation Month and is a great opportunity to celebrate the diverse and unique heritage of our country’s cities and states. The 2023 Preservation Month theme is “People Saving Places”, and our recent East Tennessee Preservation Awards highlighted some of our region’s historic place-savers who pour their time, energy, and resources into protecting places for future generations. On May 18, 2023, Mayor Indya Kincannon, Mayor Glenn Jacobs, and over one hundred preservationists from Knoxville and surrounding counties celebrated this year’s winners. Congratulations – and thank you for your passion and commitment to preserving our history and heritage!

View photos from the event here.

City of Knoxville Mayor’s Award Winner: 2539 Jefferson Avenue

2539 Jefferson Avenue, located in Parkridge, had been vacant and blighted for well over a decade. Numerous developers had considered restoring it but most backed away from the project until Reagan Design & Construction (RDC) took it on in 2020 and saved it from demo. RDC received a zero percent interest loan via the City’s of Knoxville’s Blighted Properties Redevelopment Program which made the complicated and extensive restoration more feasible. This circa 1920s craftsman style home underwent extensive exterior and interior renovations, including all new HVAC, plumbing, electrical, windows, insulation, flooring, and fixtures.

A few years prior to completing the home at 2539 Jefferson Avenue, RDC also restored the home right next door and they are proud to help save and protect the rich architectural details that help weave the fabric of the Parkridge Neighborhood. Reagan Design & Construction cares about Knoxville and they find few things more satisfying than saving a blighted or condemned property, taking a house that was an eyesore and transforming it into a beautiful, functional home or giving a vacant commercial building a second life through adaptive reuse.

Knox County Mayor’s Award Winner: Dogan-Gaither Flats

The Men of Valor’s Dogan-Gaither Flats located at 211 Jessamine Street in East Knoxville is an adaptive reuse of a distinctive mid-century motel once listed in the Green Book, an annual guidebook for African American travelers that was published between 1936 until 1966. The new housing facility will provide housing, counseling, work placement, and other society reentry skills to 30 formerly incarcerated men.

The facility is owned by the Knoxville-based criminal justice reform nonprofit Fourth Purpose Foundation with Men of Valor managing the property. Special thanks to the many professionals that helped with this impressive project – Sanders Pace Architecture, Will Robinson & Associates, Hedstrom Landscape Architecture, Mallia Engineering, Engineering Service Group, and Elite Diversified Construction.

Volunteer of the Year: L. Caesar Stair, IV

Caesar Stair, IV of Bernstein, Stair & McAdams generously provides time, dedication, and exceptional volunteer service to Knox Heritage. Caesar serves as volunteer general counsel for the organization and has provided years of legal expertise to the staff and board. He leads with patience, clarity, and logic and we are so grateful for his longtime support of historic preservation!

Spirit of Kristopher Award Winner: Michael Pizzolongo

Named for one of Knoxville’s most well-known preservationists, Kristopher Kendrick, this award recognizes an individual who has made significant achievements in the support of historic preservation.

Michael Pizzolongo, affectionately known within the historic preservation and real estate community as “Pizza Man”, is an expert plaster and stucco artisan has provided his services to projects in East Tennessee for over 25 years.

He has worked on nearly 100 historic and commercial projects, including specialty projects at the Tennessee Theatre, the Bijou Theatre, Blount Mansion, and Historic Westwood – the home of Knox Heritage. His work further expands to residential projects where he has completed countless restoration projects on private homes. We congratulate Michael on his impressive 25-year career and commend his significant dedication and contribution to the historic preservation community.

Greystone Award Winner: Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center

The Greystone Award is presented to a company or organization that has made significant achievements in the support of historic preservation.

The 2023 Greystone Award was awarded to the staff and board of directors of the Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center located in Townsend, Tennessee. A non-profit museum near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, its mission is to preserve the heritage and culture of the inhabitants of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Along with a comprehensive museum, the center has also moved, saved, and preserved 18 historic structures dating from 1802 to 1960. Most of these structures were in danger of collapse or demolition for new development, including 6 log homes and 3 cantilever barns.

Preservation Stewardship Award Winners (2)

Taylor & Son Building

The 1890 Taylor & Son Building is owned by Clay Good and located in the Downtown Clinton Historic District. Clay, who owns many historic buildings in Clinton, has owned this iconic building for 25 years and has worked continuously to maintain and restore it, ensuring ongoing preservation through his long-term care of the structure.

Just recently, in partnership with the Historic Downtown Clinton association, the building received a grant from the State of Tennessee for a façade restoration to be completed later this year. The project will include repair of the brick and installing new historically appropriate windows on the second floor. We thank Clay for his continued commitment to the continued stewardship of this iconic building.

Home Federal Bank

Home Federal Bank has owned the building at 517 Market Street, which houses administrative offices, since 1960. To provide excellent services to its clients, the building underwent an extensive restoration including updates to the interior and the exterior façade.

The restoration also included an extensive structural analysis and new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems were implemented. We thank Home Federal Bank for their continued stewardship of this downtown Knoxville building, and offer a special thanks to the team at McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects for their thoughtful design.

Preservation Merit Award Winners (4)

631 Scenic Drive

Located in the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood, this 1926 Baumann & Baumann-designed home recently underwent extensive interior and exterior renovations. Careful consideration was paid to selecting materials that would complement the existing historic features of the home. For example, a distinct and irregular plaster wall finish was restored and replicated throughout the home (completed by fellow 2023 award recipient, “Pizza Man”!).

The unfinished attic was enclosed and all the electrical was replaced, as well as most of the plumbing. Special thanks to Johnson Architecture, F.E. Trainer Construction, Studio H Design, and Bender & Associates for their dedicated work in this thoughtful restoration.


Ingleside, an 1884 dwelling located in Historic Rugby, an unincorporated community in Morgan and Scott counties. Ingleside has been carefully restored by the owner, Steve Logan, along with an expert team of contractors.

The project included foundation and support beam repairs, as well as replacement of the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems. An extensive exterior restoration included repair of all siding and exterior details and a new roof. Special thanks to Rick Murphy who served as the pro-bono general contractor and to project manager and George Zepp who provided technical support.

Historic Tanner Store

This once-empty 100-year-old building in the heart of downtown Wartburg was saved by a dedicated group of preservationists, who turned it into a popular café for citizens and visitors to enjoy. It was headed to auction – and certain destruction – until the Morgan County Tourism Alliance purchased the iconic building in 2019 and carefully restored this building throughout 2021 and 2022.

Special thanks to all of the volunteers who spent hundreds of hours committed to the preservation of this building, and to the professionals who helped in the efforts – including architect Michael Hoeff, electrician Wade Brown, and project developer Tom Aslinger.

Stonecipher-Kelly House

The Stonecipher-Kelly House, built in 1814, is an important historic landmark located in Frozen Head State Park, and it is one of the very first European homesteads in the area. Today, it is the oldest standing settlement home in Morgan County.

In partnership with Tennessee State Parks, the State of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Historical Commission this $1.5 million dollar state capitol restoration project included thoughtful exterior and interior updates, as well as landscaping and site improvements. Special thanks to the many professionals that helped with this impressive project, including staff from the Tennessee Historical Commission, Elizabeth Eason Architecture, and King Construction.