Historic Preservation Award winners announced by ORA

From staff reports

The Oil Region Alliance has announced the winners of this year’s Oil Region Historic Preservation Awards.

The ORA will celebrate the winners at an in-person event Thursday, May 18, at Christ Episcopal Church on Central Avenue in Oil City.

The winners are:

Vintage Wings Inc. for the reconstruction of the Beach City Baby

The 1941 DC-3 was used in military service during World War II, then as the official transport of the governor of Ohio.

Abandoned since 1983, Vintage Wings president and founder Jason Capra discovered the plane in Beach City, Ohio, and spearheaded its restoration in a little more than three years.

Carole Hall for preservation education/initiative

Hall was nominated by the Titusville Historical Society for her commitment to the historic education of the region, including work as the education coordinator at Drake Well Museum and Park where she began their docent program with Titusville schools, developed history camps for kids and adults, and planned the March lecture series.

She has portrayed Ida Tarbell on numerous occasions.

Deep Harbour Properties for the enhancement of the Lamberton Building in Franklin

Deep Harbour repaired and painted the main entrance to the Lamberton Building that faces 13th Street with a nod to the style of the past.

PennDOT and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the Messerall Bridge in the structure category

Titusville Renaissance Inc. nominated the Messerall Bridge for the award because PennDOT and DCNR moved the long-abandoned bridge from Oil Creek Township in Crawford County, rehabilitated it using about 75% of the original materials, and relocated it to Pymatuning State Park in western Crawford County to close a trail gap.

Gregory Rock & Aimé Sposato Rock for the reconstruction of the Rocsato Conservatory of Music at Hillhurst in Titusville

Titusville Renaissance also nominated this project, which included repairs to the roof and windows, cosmetic changes to floors and wall coverings, and adapting the first floor to create teaching and performance spaces as well as the residential space above.

Chris and Jenn Morrison for their enhancement of the former Salvation Army Building in Franklin

Franklin Preservation nominated this project as owners Chris and Jenn Morrison had the masonry cleaned and repointed, replaced the roof, rebuilt the garage, and added awnings to the building where they have relocated their business Vino and Vibes.

Reconstruction of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Oil City

Nominated by parishioner Debbie Sobina, this project was recognized for work completed between January and October 2022 that included heating and cooling updates, new light fixtures, new marble flooring, new wainscotting and repair of columns, stained glass windows and pews.

Eight medallion murals were fabricated, hand-painted and installed on the transept to recapture the original design in the sanctuary.

Robert Billingsley and the late Carolee Michener for historic appreciation of the World War I Memorial in Franklin

Billingsley and Michener researched newspapers, enlistment and medical records and public input to compile the names that Franklin Granite and several contractors would engrave on the monument.

“I’m pleased with the variety of nominations this year,” said event organizer Jennifer Burden, the ORA Heritage Program manager. “It’s great to see so many different types of historic preservation projects in the Oil Region National Heritage Area.”

Nominations were accepted in March and voted on by a panel of judges representing sponsor organizations.

The Oil Region National Heritage Area includes all of Venango County, the borough of Hydetown, the city of Titusville, and Oil Creek Township in Crawford County.

Eligible resources must be within the Oil Region and at least 50 years old.

The May 18 awards event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6 p.m. and will include hors d’oeuvres, a tour of Christ Episcopal Church and presentation of certificates to the winners.

Pre-registration is appreciated. Register by emailing jgorman@oilregion.org

The program has presented more than 150 awards since 1997.