Efforts to revitalize several century-old downtown structures and residential properties within Bristol, Tennessee’s historic districts were recognized Thursday for their positive impact on the community.
Spearheaded by the City’s Department of Development Services and hosted by local businessman Joseph R. Gregory at the E.W. King building on Shelby Street, the 2nd annual Historic Preservation Awards program recognized property owners in five categories. Gregory received the prestigious Stewardship Award for his careful attention to detail in preserving the King building, now known as The Bristol Renaissance Center, and the adjacent Bristol Post Office and Custom House.
Built in 1899 by architect James Knox Taylor, the Bristol Post Office and Custom House at 620 Shelby Street features brick quoining, elaborate cut-stone cornices at the roof line, original cold-steel wrought iron pieces, and finely detailed leaded-glass windows. The building served as Bristol, Tennessee’s main postal facility until 1983 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Gregory purchased it in 1999 and began restoration efforts, preserving the unique historic features while adapting the building for modern uses. Today it houses the Gregory family offices.
Next door, the 636 Shelby Street building inscribed with “E.W. King Co.” over the door now houses retail shops and professional space. When the 75,000 square-foot building originally opened a century ago, it was used by King to display merchandise and provide sample rooms for his nearby retail business. Gregory purchased the building in 2003 and took great care to preserve the unique exterior features, which include a recessed entrance to an arched vestibule and concrete wall buttresses with Gothic influences and arched inset panels.
The City-Wide Award was presented to local businessman J. Allen Hurley II for his work to restore City Centre, the 100 5th Street building that was the original site of the Bristol YMCA. Hurley purchased the building in 2011 and, after carefully cleaning and restoring the exterior features of the 1888 building, created modern office suites within the building to attract business to downtown Bristol.
Hurley also received the Downtown Historic District Award for restoration of the 620 State Street structure that originally served as the H.P. King Department Store. Built in 1898, the 43,000-square-foot building was a shopping mecca for generations of visitors who traveled to Bristol by train in days past. Hurley purchased it in 2011, then transformed it into a showplace through a $4.3 million renovation project. The building now has all the modern touches needed for the restaurant and event space within, but careful attention was taken to restore original touches like the 19-foot tin ceilings, original staircase, and building support timbers that were cut in Steele Creek Park and brought downtown by horse and buggy more than 100 years ago.
Phil and Nedra Hartley were presented with the Holston Avenue Historic District Award for their restoration of the Strauss/Hartley House at 700 Holston Avenue. Built in 1910 by Josef and Ester Strauss, the Victorian Queen Anne style home features a red brick exterior with a wrap-around porch, attic turret, and stained glass windows. Since purchasing the home in 1993, the Hartleys have worked closely with an architectural historian to choose appropriate colors for the exterior and install steel roofing that resembles the clay tiles originally used. Additionally, the Hartley took great care to construct an addition to the home and created a period-correct formal garden with a fountain, greenhouse, garden shed and brick pathway on an adjacent property.
The restoration of Lynwood Cottage, an American Arts & Crafts style home that originally served as a summer resort home, earned owner Christa McClellan the Fairmount Historic District Award. Built in 1917, the home at 312 Lynwood Street features the original cedar shake siding, large timber corbels, glass sleeping porch with pocket windows, and hand-blown glass windows. The original carriage house/potting shed still stands on the property, which also features antique flowering shrubs and old-growth trees.
Nominations were accepted from community members and organizations, and award winners were chosen by the Historic Preservation Award Committee. Committee members are Linda Kirk, Becky Wilkerson, Susan Tanner, Kelly Moran, Gray Stothart, Maggie Bishop, and Joel Staton.
For additional information on the Historic Preservation Awards, please contact City Planner Cherith Young at (423) 989-5500, ext. 2082, or [email protected].