Best of Maryland Awards

Preservation Maryland’s annual awards celebrate the best of Maryland! For honoring legislative champions and municipal stewards to talented craftspeople and community grassroots efforts, it’s also one of Maryland preservation’s best events to mingle and network. Let’s celebrate what makes Maryland our home, together.

Photo: Awardees in the Artisan category for their work on the Ivy Hotel in Baltimore, 2016.

Submit An Award Nomination

Since 1985, Preservation Maryland has presented awards to individuals and organizations for their contribution to preserving and telling our State’s rich, authentic, and diverse history.

Preservation Maryland will once again showcase our Best of Maryland Awards at our Phoenix Rising Event on October 7th, 2021! The Best of Maryland awards show us what is possible when we work together to preserve Maryland’s rich history.

The Best of Maryland Award nomination period is now open for 2021. Nominations are due July 16, 2021. 

If you have not filled out an application through Preservation Maryland since June of 2021, you will be asked to either sign in using your Google account or create an account through the system. This will allow you to save your application and return to it later.

ELIGIBILITY

Chances are, you’re eligible! We seek to make the nomination process efficient for all involved; the application process is a single online form. We encourage you to apply!

Individuals, non-profit and for-profit organizations and businesses, and government agencies are eligible. You may nominate yourself. You may submit multiple nominations. You may re-nominate projects that were not selected previously.

Awards are granted upon the sole discretion of Preservation Maryland; an award from each category may or may not be awarded each year, multiple awards in a single category may or may not be awarded. Please select the award category that best fits your nominee. We understand that some nominations may be eligible for multiple categories and will evaluate nominations across categories.

Materials submitted will be used in digital and print materials by Preservation Maryland.

Nomination InstructioNS

We suggest reviewing the Award Categories first as they are outlined below, reviewing the online nomination form and then preparing your responses in a separate document before entering them into the online form for submission. You cannot save your nomination form. If you cannot complete your nomination as instructed, please contact Jessica Feldt jfeldt@presmd.org.

We currently present the following awards:

LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD

Presented to an elected official in Maryland that champions historic preservation policy, programs, and supporting funding, and recognizes the importance of preserving Maryland heritage. Nominations will be evaluated based on the impact of the officials’ support on preservation in Maryland.

PRESIDENT’S LEADERSHIP AWARD

Presented to individuals or organizations to recognize exceptional leadership and commitment to preserving Maryland’s rich and diverse heritage. Nominations will be evaluated based on the length and nature of service or project, record of achievement, and the nominee’s overall impact on the statewide preservation movement.

 

GEARHART PROFESSIONAL SERVICE AWARD

Presented to an individual who is employed as a professional by a historic preservation organization, agency, or academic institution and who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, knowledge, and creativity in the protection and preservation of Maryland’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archeological sites. Nominations will be evaluated based on the impact of the person’s achievements and their contributions to the preservation of Maryland’s history and culture.

 

THE PHOENIX AWARD

Presented to individuals or organizations to recognize projects demonstrating excellence in the revitalization of threatened or abandoned historic resources. Nominations will be evaluated based on the project’s impact on historic preservation and community revitalization.

 

SMART GROWTH EXCELLENCE AWARD

An award honoring an individual, organization, or project that best exemplifies the core tenets of smart growth. Smart growth is a broad and diverse movement which embraces environmentally and economically sustainable development patterns to create better opportunities for all citizens.

STEWARDSHIP AWARD

Presented to individuals or organizations to recognize exemplary stewardship of Maryland’s historic buildings, collections, landscapes, and archaeological sites. Nominations will be evaluated based on the degree to which the project conforms to applicable professional standards, such as the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties, and the degree to which the project has successfully protected a historic resource from harm. Nominated projects should have been completed within the last two years.

 

GEORGE T. HARRISON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER CONTRIBUTIONS

The Harrison Volunteer Awards has been presented by Preservation Maryland semi-annually since 1985 and is the organization’s oldest award. This award goes to individuals or organizations to recognize outstanding volunteer contributions to historic preservation in Maryland. Nominations will be evaluated based on the extent to which the individual or group’s preservation project made a substantial contribution to saving historic resources in Maryland

 

PRESERVATION ARTISAN AWARD

Presented to an individual or group of individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the art and artistry of a craft or trade that is used in the preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, or archaeological sites in Maryland. Nominations will be evaluated based on the person’s demonstrated excellence in the practice of their craft as well as their ability to inspire and willingness to teach others the skills needed to perform their trade.

Our Awards Event

Preservation Maryland invites you to a very special evening event at Bengies Drive-In on Thursday, October 7, 2021 – the safe and celebratory event will reimagine two of our favorite events of the year – Phoenix Rising and the Best of Maryland Awards!

LEARN MORE

The “preview” will be a video update about Preservation Maryland, our major programs and projects, and this year’s Best of Maryland Awards – and our feature presentation will include a film screening on the big screen!

All proceeds support Preservation Maryland.

Recent & Past Awardees

2020 Award Winners

LAST YEAR’S BEST OF MARYLAND AWARDEES 

Expert House Movers

EXPERT HOUSE MOVERS
EASTERN SHORE, STATEWIDE, NATIONWIDE
PRESIDENT’S AWARD 

Did you see the Galloway mansion floating across the Chesapeake Bay on the local news or a viral video clip online? That was the work of Sharptown, Maryland-based, Expert House Movers, a national leader in structural lifting and transport. The third-generation family-owned company’s portfolio includes the relocation of six lighthouses, several historic theatres, two covered bridges, an airport terminal, and countless historic residential structures of every shape and size across the country. For their expertise and commitment in the Old Line State, Preservation Maryland is honored to present Expert House Movers with this year’s Best of Maryland President’s Award. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT EXPERT HOUSE MOVERS 

 

Delegate Stephanie Smith 

DELEGATE STEPHANIE SMITH
BALTIMORE CITY
LEGISLATIVE CHAMPION 

Delegate Stephanie Smith of District 45 in Baltimore City was the House sponsor for the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020. Despite the shortened session due to COVID-19, the legislation passed and includes a provision that allows for the large commercial tax credits can be transferred, allowing more money to go toward the projects themselves and not to transactional costs. Delegate Smith understands the transformative potential an historic tax credit project can have on a community as a whole and is a voice for revitalization in her role as Assistant Director of Equity, Engagement and Communications in Baltimore City’s Department of Planning. We look forward to continuing to work for change with Delegate Smith at the intersection of planning, equity, and preservation. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT DEL. SMITH 

 

Senator Katie Fry Hester

SENATOR KATIE FRY HESTER
LEGISLATIVE CHAMPION 

Senator Katie Fry Hester’s role as a legislative champion can actually be traced to her sponsorship of a bill in the 2019 session of the Maryland General Assembly that called for a study of the preservation and reuse of the state’s historic government complexes, such as Warfields hospital which falls in the Senator’s District 9. The Senator served on the steering committee for that study, which was released in January of 2020. Senator Hester’s passion to help such complex historic preservation projects move forward led to her to champion a number of pieces of legislation in the 2020 Session to address the recommendations of the historic government complexes report, including the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020 and the expansion of a successful clean energy loan program to include environmental remediation for adaptive reuse projects. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT SEN. HESTER 

 

  

PETE LESHER
CHESAPEAKE BAY MARITIME MUSEUM
GEARHART PROFESSIONAL AWARD 

Pete has been working full-time at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for nearly 30 years and before then was a common sight as a dockhand the waterfront complex. But that’s nothing compared to Pete’s origin-story; his grandfather took him to the Museum as toddler with duck decoy in tow. Now, as Chief Curator, Pete develops interpretive exhibitions and public programs that highlight the Bay’s maritime history and culture, including Native American life, seventeenth- and eighteenth-century trans-Atlantic trade, naval history, the Bay’s unique watercraft and boat building traditions, navigation, waterfowling, boating, seafood harvesting, and recreation. Moreover, Pete is a committed advocate in support of Maryland’s museums and cultural sites and is often in Annapolis testifying or speaking passionately in support of Maryland’s heritage tourism. For his distinguished and unique work at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and his long-established dedication to Maryland history, Preservation Maryland is honored to present Pete Lesher with this year’s Gearhart Professional Service Award. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT PETE LESHER 

 

JAMES CASTLE
BRUNSWICK HERITAGE MUSEUM
HARRISON VOLUNTEER AWARD 

A native of Brunswick, Maryland in Frederick County, James Castle is a model citizen, dedicated volunteers, skilled historian, and stalwart preservationist…sometimes known as Brakeman Jim, while giving free tours to heritage tourists or local senior citizens. In 2015, James Castle became President of the Brunswick Potomac Foundation almost 20 years from the day he first started to volunteer for the organization. He has held the position ever since. In his tenure, Castle has led a note-worthy fundraising effort, supported the creation of a protective conservation district and the relocation of the historic WB Railroad Tower, and reinvigorated the organization’s online presence during Covid-19. Preservation Maryland is pleased to recognize Jim Castle with this year’s Harrison Volunteer Award. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT BRUNSWICK 

 

ENOCH PRATT FREE LIBRARY CENTRAL LIBRARY
RENOVATION & MODERNIZATION
BALTIMORE CITY
PRESERVATION ARTISAN AWARD 

Baltimore City’s ca. 1933 Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Library is the flagship location of one of the oldest public library systems in the United States, and through the work and skills of many hands during an extraordinary renovation and modernization project, the Library shines bright as a beacon of community, knowledge, and betterment. Like the work of innumerable authors housed in the Library, the renovation project itself was the collective work of dozens of skilled artisans led by EverGreene Architectural Arts and F.G. Vogt Company to revive this Temple of Learning. 

Conservators conducted in-situ investigations on painted and adorned surfaces, and historians referenced archival photographs for design guidance. Touching just about every surface of the 300,000 square foot library the artisan team worked throughout the building on historic materials and finishes such as plaster, millwork, and terrazzo were restored; decorative metal and painting were brought back to their original state and preserved; and historic lighting was restored or replicated. Even the custom-designed furniture original to the building was restored for reuse. 

For their individual skill and stunning collective achievement, Preservation Maryland and the Campaign for Historic Trades is proud to recognize the Pratt Library project team with the 2020 Preservation Artisan Award. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PRATT PROJECT 

 

interior-open-hebrew-orphan-asylum-baltimore-md-CREDIT-southway-builders

CENTER FOR HEALTH CARE AND HEALTHY LIVING AT THE BALTIMORE HEBREW ORPHAN ASYLUM
BALTIMORE CITY
THE PHOENIX AWARD 

The nation’s oldest standing Jewish Orphanage, a stately 1876 Romanesque Structure in Baltimore City, was once slated for demolition and suffered decades of abandonment, but thanks to the hard work of community advocates and preservation professionals, the building has been reimagined into a much-needed health care center. 

The combination of a signature vacant building and the desperate need for medical options created a powerful opportunity for reuse of the Asylum. Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation and Cross Street Partners came up with the winning partnership to change the course of history for the Hebrew Orphan Asylum – a commitment of 100% occupancy of the structure by Baltimore Health Department and Behavioral Health System Baltimore specifically for an opioid stabilization clinic. 

The successful $17 million restorations of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum stretched out over 16 years and utilized competitive Maryland state tax credits along with other incentives. For achieving this awe-inspiring rehabilitation, the Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation, Baltimore Heritage, Inc., and Waldon Studio Architects are recognized with this year’s Phoenix Award. 

LEARN MORE THE HOA PROJECT 

 

View of the rural and maritime landscape of Kent County, MD. Photo from Lands of America.

View of the rural and maritime landscape of Kent County, MD. Photo from Lands of America.

CULTURAL LANDSCAPE ASSESSMENT REPORT
KENT CONSERVATION & PRESERVATION ALLIANCE
KENT COUNTY, EASTERN SHORE
SMART GROWTH EXCELLENCE AWARD 

Kent County, Maryland’s picturesque historic and natural resources were the subject of a model report which confirmed the unique and unparalleled opportunities for preservation in this eastern shore county. For their inspired and innovative undertaking of the Preliminary Cultural Landscape Assessment of Kent County, Maryland, the project team comprised of the Kent Conservation & Preservation AllianceBarton Ross & Associates, McGinnis Landscape (now Kennon Williams Landscape Studio), Heritage Strategies, and Washington College Center for Environment and Society, will receive the Smart Growth Excellence Award from Preservation Maryland and Smart Growth Maryland. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE REPORT 

 

the Belnord Theatre

The restored canopy of CASA de Maryland at the Belnord, 2020.

CASA DE MARYLAND
HISTORIC BELNORD THEATRE
STEWARDSHIP AWARD 

CASA de Maryland is a Latino and immigration advocacy and assistance organization with satellite offices in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Here in Maryland, the non-profit organization had been serving the community for several years from East Fayette Street, a few blocks from the Belnord Theatre building. After a purchase in 2017, CASA created bold plans for the historic theatre. Selective demolition removed a non-historic ceiling revealing beautiful architectural details and a space large enough to create a series of modern pods for different uses – all while respecting those design elements and achieving ADA compliance and LEED Gold Certification. Even during Covid-19, CASA has been able to utilize the extra space of the Belnord Theatre renovation to host large-scale and socially-distanced grocery pick-ups. CASA is eager to return to full-strength – supporting the community – and the restored Belnord will take center stage. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BELNORD 

 

MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES
ANNAPOLIS POST OFFICE
STEWARDSHIP AWARD 

Under the direction of the Maryland Department of General Services, one of Annapolis’s historic post offices just underwent a world-class comprehensive adaptive reuse program to restore the deteriorated Georgian Revival architecture and to convert its interior space into new state government offices for the governor’s office of community initiatives and the governor’s legal office. DGS selected to work with industry leaders Consigli Construction, Ziger/Snead Architects, and Wagner Roofing to complete the work on the 1901 structure – and Gold Leaf Studios even gilded the historic pineapple cupola adornment with 23.5 karat double-weight gold. This Best of Maryland Stewardship Award goes to the Maryland Department of General Services for envisioning and financing this over iconic $15 million project on Annapolis’ Church Circle. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT DGS 

 

EVERGREEN HERITAGE CENTER FOUNDATION
WESTERN MARYLAND
STEWARDSHIP AWARD 

The Evergreen barn in Allegany County is believed to be the last remaining 18th-century barn in Western Maryland and was the site of a concerted preservation and reuse effort to reimagine the future of this stunning barn. Kickstarted by a feasibility study in 2015, major repairs in 2018, and the grand opening of the barn as an architectural museum complete with an exhibit called, “Living Off The Land,” the Evergreen Foundation has exemplified careful and creative stewardship and are well-deserving of this Preservation Maryland Stewardship Award. You don’t have to take our word for it; just ask the over 9,000 Western Maryland kids who are edutained on-site each year. 

 


BEST OF MARYLAND AWARDS 2018

BEST OF MARYLAND AWARDS 2017

BEST OF MARYLAND AWARDS 2016

 

Our Story Donate Press & Media Resources Contact Us Site by Younts Design Inc. © Preservation Maryland, 2021.