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Citizens recognized during historic preservation commission reception

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Susan Vickery-Mercer, left, Teresa Kupecki, and Margaret Stanfield look at photos of historic buildings in Greenville during an event put on by the Greenville Historic Preservation Commission for Preservation Month at City Hall on May 28, 2019. (Molly Urbina/The Daily Reflector)

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Many local historic buildings, businesses, homes, farms and churches that once represented the 200-year history of Greenville have been demolished to make way for apartment buildings, big box retailers, shopping centers and other modern conveniences.  

Members of Greenville’s Historic Preservation Commission want to salvage what is left of the city’s architectural heritage, so that finding a home or building that’s older than 50 years does not seem like a tall task. 

Greenville has five districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places: one local historic district, and 21 local landmarks. The historic preservation program promotes the identification, evaluation, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the city's historic resources and honors those who help with the process.

On Tuesday night, the group’s annual awards reception celebrated community members who have worked to preserve the city’s past. 

Linda “Jef” Jefferson Glenn and her father, Graham Jefferson, were among the award winners, taking home the Sallie Southhall Cotton Award.   

Glenn and her father were recognized for their efforts to restore the Jefferson Blount Harvey Building. They also were recognized for economic revitalization efforts along in the Dickinson Avenue Arts District through the restoration of the Pitt Street Brewery, Pitt Street Lofts and the restored Ice House as the New Jefferson’s on Ninth Street. 

Also honored was the commission’s oldest member, 90-year-old Myron Caspar, who has served Greenville citizens for more than 50 years.

Casper had a medal named after him — the Myron Casper Sentinel Citizen Medal.

Fighting back tears, Caspar, a retired chemistry professor at East Carolina University, said he was elated and surprised to receive the honor. 

“I’m flattered and flabbergasted,” Caspar said.  “I do come to my meetings and I do help out when I can. Anyway, I’m very pleased.

“There’s no greater satisfaction when you see that you’ve saved some of the history in Greenville,” Caspar said. 

“There’s not a lot of Greenville left to save,” he said. “The commission has been here for a long time and we don’t succeed very often. The few houses that are still left reminds you there was a Greenville here for a long time.”

The first recipient of the Casper medal was Jeremy Jordan, who has co-owned restaurants on Evans Street and Fifth Street in historic properties. He also owns the Albion Dunn house on West Fourth Street, which he has restored for years.

Jordan joined the Historic Preservation Committee shortly after graduating from East Carolina University. 

“In my mind, HPC is part and parcel of living in this town,” he said.

The Stewardship Award for Preservation Commitment went to ECU alumna Tandi Mahn of Christy’s Euro Pub, who purchased the business from Mike Rivera. The pub, which used to be an old service station in the 1950s, is named after Rivera’s stepfather.

The pub is located in the historic College View neighborhood. Being part of the neighborhood is something Mahn enjoys. 

“We like to think of Christy’s as Cheers; it is the neighborhood pub where everybody comes and can talk and have a good time,” Mahn said. 

The Architectural Award for Restoration Excellence went to Albrecht McLawhorn with MHAworks and East Carolina University for their work on the Proctor-Yongue House and other projects with the city.

The house, located in the College View Historic District, was built in 1917 and has undergone an extensive restoration.

After the ceremony,  attendees mingled while looking over historic photographs.

Jermaine McNair, a community organizer with N.C. Civil said he wants to make sure history in west Greenville is preserved.  

“That is one if not one of our most historic communities and there’s a lot of wealth, and culture and history there,” McNair said. “And as we move forward with these growth plans of Greenville, I think we all want to ensure that as we grow economically, we want to preserve, promote and increase the culture and history.   

“As we shape our identity, I want to make sure the work in West Greenville plays a role in that identity,” McNair said.

Also in attendance was Trista Reis Porter, who serves as the interim director at the Greenville Museum of Art. 

“It’s been really great especially looking at some of these old photographs and everything,” Reis Porter said. “Even some of the photographs that are not super old that show you kind of the progression of certain buildings, especially in the Uptown area, that’s been really great.

More than 200 people came out to the event and Candace Pearce, chairwoman of the commission, said she was thrilled that so many residents were taking an interest in preservation.

The commission meets the fourth Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the City Hall.

For more information, visit greenvillenc.gov. 

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com or 252-329-9566.  Follow him on Twitter @Tylerstocks1987

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