Mike Schwartz - 260-368-9333

Portland’s John Jay Center wins Statewide Restoration Award
Limberlost Contruction, General Contractor

September 17, 2008, Historic Landmarks Foundation presents THE COOK CUP

Pictured L - R: Mike Schwartz, Trent Paxson, Rob Weaver, Cindy Strietelmeier,
Doug Milligan and Barry Hudson.

INDIANAPOLIS—The John Jay Center for Learning, Inc., won THE COOK CUP for Outstanding Restoration of an Indiana Landmark on Saturday (September 13). The award, a large engraved silver cup, was presented by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana in recognition of the center’s superb restoration of the Weiler Building in downtown Portland.

Rob Weaver, the center’s executive director, accepted the award from Historic Landmarks Foundation’s Chairman Jerry Fuhs at a preservation honors event at The Athenaeum in Indianapolis. “The group took what many would have regarded as a ‘tear-down’ building and turned it into a state-of-the-art educational facility and community center,” Fuhs declared.

As before-and-after images appeared on a large screen, Fuhs cataloged the Weiler Building’s transformation from a vacant structure plagued with a bad roof, broken windows, and water damage throughout. “Some walls were unstable, and passers-by faced jeopardy from falling masonry. The interior was moldy, filled with rodents, pigeon guano, debris, rotted wood and standing water. Pedestrians noticed the smell,” he related. “Beyond this point, there be demons,” Fuhs quoted George Ridgway, an architect on THE COOK CUP panel of judges.

“The restoration first cleaned and dried the place out and attended to the failing structural elements and the exterior---the windows, doors, canopies, and decorative terra cotta details. In Phase II, interior restoration respected the significant features while adapting the building for its new use,” Fuhs said.

In a final touch, the John Jay Center recreated the long-gone historic pole lamps that lined the roof until the 1940s, an elegant feature that the judges likened to the icing on the cake. The judges were also impressed that the project drew upon more than 300 contributors and many grant sources. In determining the winner, the panel of judges also considered the positive economic and aesthetic impact of the project on the community as a whole. Fuhs asked all those associated with the John Jay Center project to stand and receive applause for their accomplishment.

Historic Landmarks Foundation created the annual award last year as a “thank you” to the Cook family for role in rescuing the West Baden Springs Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, and their subsequent complete transformation of the ruin. “It occurred to us that Historic Landmarks did not give an annual award for restoration, so we created one and named it after these inspiring people. Historic Landmarks hopes the great preservationists who receive this award for decades to come will understand themselves as commended in the Cooks’ honor, and be honored themselves to share in such company,” said Jerry Fuhs.

The inaugural COOK CUP for Outstanding Restoration of an Indiana Landmark went to the to Bill, Gayle and Carl Cook in June 2007 at the grand opening gala Historic Landmarks sponsored at the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana. The Cook family was in Denmark for corporate meetings related to their medical device business and asked Fuhs to let Weaver and the John Jay Center supporters know that they’re very sorry they couldn’t be present to recognize an organization that and made the Weiler Building a sparkling, useful jewel in the community.

THE COOK CUP panel of judges included Jerry Fuhs, Historic Landmarks Vice Chairman Michael Rodman and President Marsh Davis, Carl Cook, and George Ridgway.

THE COOK CUP recognizes an owner who transformed a seriously dilapidated landmark within the past two years, using the highest standards of restoration, placed the structure in service, and positively impacted the immediate neighborhood or community. The winner may be an individual, nonprofit organization, corporation, or government and the structure may be restored for its original use or adapted to a new purpose.

We see positive reminders of Limberlost Construction every day. Geneva Town Hall Historic Renovation

Our office, as clerk-treasurer of the Town of Geneva, Indiana, is located in the historic Pyle Building in downtown Geneva. A building completely renovated by Limberlost Construction in 2003, the “new” Pyle Building includes town hall, police department and a community center. After more than three years occupying the building, we couldn’t be more pleased with every aspect of the renovated facility.

After work, we go to our new home on Rainbow Lake, also built by Limberlost Construction. During construction in 2005, we were impressed with the attention to detail and the positive, and constant, communication with Limberlost Construction.

Doug Milligan, Clerk-Treasurer, Town of Geneva, Indiana