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Wes Murry, Lucian Parker, Alison Parker, Patti Cross, Al Cross, Robert Kirkman and Bill Cull pose for a picture after receiving the Franklin County Trust for Historic Preservation's Martha Moore Awards for Historic Preservation. (Photo submitted)

The Franklin County Trust for Historic Preservation presented its 2019 Martha Moore Awards for Historic Preservation last week.

This year’s projects demonstrated a wide breadth of successful preservation efforts in Frankfort and Franklin County. The honorees were a diverse group of investors, including families, a business partnership and a nonprofit organization. 

The property types ranged from historic houses and downtown commercial buildings to a bourbon distillery. Each recipient demonstrated a long-term commitment to preserving Frankfort and Franklin County’s built heritage. 

Originally a vaudeville house, which expanded in the 1940s to a "modern" movie theater, Frankfort’s Grand Theatre reopened in the fall of 2009 after many years of fundraising and support building. Today, the Grand Theatre is a $5 million, 428-seat performing and visual arts theatre that is state of the art in every way.

Lucian Parker and his daughter, Alison, longtime South Frankfort residents, purchased their neighboring house, a Victorian cottage, on Steele Street after helping mow the yard for years. Lucian and Alison refinished the original floors, painted inside and out, repaired the weathered front porch and areas of the original wood siding. Alison now lives in the cottage.

Robert Kirkman is a woodworker by trade and has operated Three Elements design on St. Clair Street for almost 10 years. He and his wife, Risa Yost, undertook the renovation of the muddled corner building at West Main and St. Clair streets, hoping to attract tourists and residents beyond Broadway.

Though they were knowledgeable at the outset, Robert and Risa learned a lot from the project — pouring in many hours of their own labor, having difficult conversations with the bank and enduring a messy four-month ordeal with the sewer department. Ultimately, their vision was realized and now the building houses Hoggy's Ice Cream.

Al and Patti Cross bought their South Frankfort home in a handshake deal on the front porch of their American Foursquare in 1997. They loved the historic house and walkable neighborhood. 

As a bonus, the house had room in the basement for Al’s collection of Flynn’s restaurant memorabilia, including the bar, lots of political signs and the booth where House Speaker Don Blandford would drink his Miller Lite and cut deals. 

Castle and Key Distillery stands on the grounds of the Old Taylor Distillery with 18 buildings and 28 landscape features. Purchased in 2014 after sitting fallow for almost 50 years, the buildings were heavily overgrown with vegetation and many had leaking or missing roofs, with some close to the point of collapse. 

Owners Wes Murry and Will Arvin have approached the rehabilitation of the site with a desire to keep the heritage of the historic buildings intact. As they brought spirit distillation back into to the buildings, they discovered that in most cases, the historic distilling processes inherent in the complex were easier to make functional again, rather than insert new production facilities into the shells of historic buildings. 

Letting the facility guide them, they retained and preserved as much of the production facility and its systems as possible. 

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