May is designated as National Historic Preservation Month and Mayor Anna Peterson officially opened Salem's celebration by declaration at the Historic Landmarks Commission meeting where she also presented the HLC's annual preservation merit awards, reported Kimberli Fitzgerald, our co-host and the Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Salem. In her summary of the special events of the month, she reported that the Ben Maxwell Award, named for a historic local photographer to recognize a residential and/or a commercial project that best exemplifies historic preservation in Salem, was presented to Heidi & Scott Grewe (residential) and Gayle & Doug Doty (commercial-Roth/McGilchrist Building). The Virginia Green Award for exemplary individual efforts in historic preservation went to Ross Sutherland, the curator of the Bush House Museum. A new award, the Chairman's Award, was instituted to recognize individual efforts on behalf of a specific program, with the first recipient being David Fox of Fox Blueprinting who worked with the Salem Heritage Neighborhood program and was integral in producing the Grant Neighborhood's fundraising calendar.
Additionally, a photographic contest was held with the winners being on display in the Capitol Building until mid-June. Citizens were asked to submit photos of places in Salem that mattered to them which were judged by the HLC. This contest will be held again, so start snapping photos of those places in our area important to you. Also, a program about repairing historic windows was held at Willamette Heritage Center in which the participants learned techniques by actually rehabilitating the windows of one of the historic buildings on that campus.
Kimberli also described the various interactive tools available to users of the City of Salem's Salem Heritage Portal website, including an interactive story map of the Downtown Historic District in which you can click on a specific building and a story of that building pops us for you to read. Check out the many pages of this website to learn more about Salem's historic preservation program, heritage tourism, and available research tools.