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Santa Monica Conservancy Hands Out 2012 Preservation Awards  


By Jorge Casuso

January 30, 2012 -- The stately exchange building where Popeye may have been created, two Roaring Twenties apartment buildings and a small hardware store that seems to have defied time were among the buildings recognized by the Santa Monica Conservancy Sunday.

Also winning awards were local historian Ernie Marquez, who has helped preserve in a series of books the history of the families of the Rancho Boca de Santa Monica and the city it became, and Barbara Stinchfield, who resigned as the City's Director of Community and Cultural Services last month.

“Preservation is frequently an ongoing process representing dedication and investment over many years,” said Carol Lemlein, president of the board of the Conservancy. “We are delighted to showcase these accomplishments, some of which began a decade or more before the Conservancy was founded in 2002.”

The awards -- presented at the Conservancy's annual meeting at the historic John Byers-designed Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica -- recognized individuals, building owners and a local business who have made "exemplary contributions to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage."

Marquez, who won the President's Award, has written books about the rich history of Santa Monica Beach, renowned for Muscle Beach and the health craze it helped spawn, and about the gambling ships that operated in the bay, far from the reach of the law.

Stinchfield -- a leading force in shaping Santa Monica's public spaces -- received the Conservancy’s Outstanding Service Award for her leadership in efforts to preserve the Annenberg Community Beach House at 415 PCH, the strategic plan for Palisades Park as a landmark and the renovation of Miles Playhouse.

"Stinchfield’s leadership in balancing preservation values and other stakeholder interests has resulted in outstanding projects," Conservancy officials said.

The Restoration Award was given to the Spanish Colonial Revival Builders Exchange Building at the southeast corner of 4th and Broadway, which is known for its beautiful “ Churrigueresque” ornamentation. The building was restored by architect William Dale Brantley after the 1994 earthquake, and maintained and enhanced by the C. Belle Grischow Trust.

The building has a colorful past with tenants in the 1920s and 30s that included artists, architects, detectives and even cartoonist Elzie Crisler Segar, creator of Popeye, the popular cartoon character born in a typhoon off Santa Monica.

The Restoration Award was given to Vincent Landay and Cheryl Clark, owners of 2450 25th Street, for saving the 1907 American Foursquare Style home from the wrecking ball and moving it from its original location to Sunset Park.  

Susan Connally, owner of the Charmont and The Sovereign, received a Stewardship Award for her "exceptional dedication" to two of Santa Monica's "most iconic apartment buildings." Connally has spent two decades repairing, renovating, maintaining, and enhancing the two 1929 Spanish Colonial Revival-style buildings that have been designated as City Landmarks and listed on the National and California Registers of Historic Places.
Don Kidson, owner of Busy Bee Hardware at 1521 Santa Monica Boulevard, won the Stewardship Award for maintaining "the authentic, historic character" of a vintage hardware store that is one of the oldest commercial establishments in the rapidly changing city.

And Phyllis Conkle received the Outstanding Volunteer Service award for creating events in historic places that have "dazzled" with their beauty, grace and attention to period detail.


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