Riverside Avondale Preservation Annual Meeting & Preservation Awards 2024
Riverside Avondale Preservation is pleased to honor individuals, organizations and businesses within our historic district that exemplify outstanding achievement in historic preservation and the welcoming and inclusive nature of our neighborhoods.
There are two award categories: Design & Construction Awards and Services Awards.
Design & Construction Awards
Design Awards are open to built projects of all sizes and classifications, including new construction, historic preservation, additions, remodeling, renovations, adaptive reuse, landscaping, and interiors.
The purpose is to celebrate the excellent work of builders, designers, craftsmen, and homeowners who preserve and enhance the beauty and integrity of our district.
Service Awards are presented to projects, programs, or people that have improved our neighborhood in 2022. This award recognizes acts of service and philanthropy by individuals, businesses, and organizations. We recognize a range of activities from a small act of neighborliness to large programs of stewardship and patronage.
Judges reviewed each nomination this year with an eye toward how the nominee reflected RAP's Core Principles:
- Preserving and promoting the historic fabric.
- Supporting vibrant, independent, local businesses.
- Supporting quality of life improvements.
- Honoring our community.
- Promoting respectful, mutually beneficial relationships.
Architecture and Design Awards
Restoration & Rehabilitation Awards
Architectural Rehabilitation - Residential 2023
2532 Park Street
Michael Rowan, Celtic Construction Solutions, Inc.
This project is a good example of the diligence and patience needed to restore the older buildings in our historic district. Contractor, Michael Rowan, of Celtic Construction Solutions started work on this rehabilitation before the pandemic began. The structure had been used as both an office and a home during different periods of its history, but there had never been any upgrades to the major systems in the house. So, when Michael acquired the structure, everything needed to be done. It had the original knob and tube wiring, galvanized and cast-iron plumbing, and an old roof. The interior was also in poor condition with lath and plaster falling off the walls. Their work addressed those issues and much more. The exterior restoration included repairing the existing cedar siding, wood trim and wood windows. Michael’s team removed existing “un-historic” aluminum windows and replaced them with appropriate, matching new windows. They restored all the original wood windows by stripping the paint, sanding and repairing the sashes, and reglazing the windows. He is proud they were able to accomplish this with their own forces. The interior needed a complete rebuild. They installed new drywall, insulation, and trim milled to match the original trim. They replaced the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and refinished the existing floors. The kitchen and dining area were expanded, and they were able to include a laundry room, pantry, and additional closets. All in all, this project is an example of the extensive effort rehabilitation requires. It took a considerable amount of time, money, and hard work, but the result is a quality project worthy of recognition. The jury commented that the owner took this classic prairie-style home and maintained and enhanced its character. It was a thorough restoration that preserved the street presence and protected the original appeal. According to Michael, “This [project] was a labor of love, and the more we dug into the home, the more we were determined not to let it beat us. Our goal was to keep everything as it was, insofar as we could.” As we can see from the photos, they accomplished their goal.
Congratulations to Michael Rowan and Celtic Construction Solutions.
Architectural Rehabilitation - Residential 2023
3730 Richmond Street - The Hove Hall
The Lane Group
John J. Hove
The rehabilitation of the house and grounds at 3730 Richmond Street is likely the most significant residential rehabilitation project since the designation of the historic district in 1996. The house, designed by Marsh and Saxelby in 1928, has long been known as the Lane House, after its original owners Edward and Anna Lane. According to architectural historian Wayne Wood, “this outstanding riverfront mansion is the epitome of Tudor revival design in Jacksonville” and “the exterior of the house is a compendium of Tudor revival architectural detail.” The house and grounds were placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places by Betsey Towers in 1982 who had lived in the home at one time. The home is a celebration of craftsmanship in carpentry, stone, and masonry. It incorporates Tudor half-timbering, leaded glass windows, a slate roof, ornamental cast stone, and intricate brick masonry construction which is both structural and decorative. This exceptional property was fortunate to come under the stewardship of John and Yvonne Hove in 2012 who lovingly renamed it Hove Hall. They enlisted Doug Lane of The Lane Group to guide a complete restoration of the property. The first step was to remove and safely store all existing materials and trim which could be restored and reused. The house was then completely gutted to allow for a total rehabilitation. The work started from the ground up with new foundation waterproofing on both the interior and exterior of the house. The house was reinforced throughout with extensive improvements to the structural system and all new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were installed. The original slate roofing was removed piece by piece, cleaned and stored. New waterproofing was installed, and the original slate tiles were replaced. The original leaded glass windows and brass hardware were completely restored by Mr. Hove’s own forces. New windows required for the project were purchased from the original English manufacturer, Crittall, and were fabricated to perfectly match the original products. The cast stone detailing, both interior and exterior, was also restored. Where new stone was necessary, exact replicas were fabricated. This included a total reconstruction of the riverfront bulkhead and balustrades. A complete reconstruction of the garden wall and cast-iron railings was also undertaken. The interior finishes were restored, and new finishes were thoughtfully selected to enhance the architecture. Additions were also made to the structure including a porte cochere, garden folly, conservatory, garage expansion, and pool pavilion. All new work used materials and products replicating the original design. We are pleased to present an Award of Distinction for Rehabilitation to John Hove, his late wife, Yvonne, The Lane Group, and their entire team for their excellent and tireless work on this exceptional rehabilitation:
Tamara Baker, Baker Engineering
Joe Madden, Madden Millworks
James Malenfant, Precast and Restoration Services
Daniel Boone, Boone Flooring
Mike Bergeron, Mike's Marble Inc.
Kevin Dougherty, Southeastern Subcontractors, Inc.
Howard Stalls, EAC – Environmental Air Conditioning Systems
Suzanne Berglind, Berglind Interior Design
Peter Laughlin, Copperworx Gutters
Bill Badger, Cash Builders
Crittall Windows (UK)
Interior Design 2023
2665 Park Street
Don Eduardo Cocina Mexicana
This lively interior remodel is very well done; it’s charming and vibrant, but also cleverly adds intimacy to what could have been a cavernous space. The most noticeable element is the hanging garland ceiling installation. It adds color and scale to the room while preserving views of the original roof structure of the building. The garland is complemented by festive lighting and well-crafted “Day of the Dead” chandeliers. The restaurant incorporates many art installations which add to the cultural variety of the neighborhood. They include murals and neon pieces that celebrate Mexican culture and cuisine. The furnishings and interior plants also make for a more intimate dining experience. The balance of the interior finishes, including nicely detailed wooden booths and tiled walls, add to the charm of the experience. The jury commented, “It’s wonderful to see a creative interior remodel at this important intersection in the neighborhood, and that the food is delicious too!” Congratulations to Don Eduardo Mexican Cocina.
New Construction Award
3841 Boone Park Ave
Glenn Chandler, Bold City Properties
Matthew Jarvis, Atomic Garden LLC
This newly built craftsman-style home does a good job of blending a relatively large home with its one-story neighbors on Boone Park Ave. The design utilizes traditional craftsman-style components and detailing, including an inviting front porch with tapered columns. The home sits high off-grade and incorporates an attractive brick skirt and cheek walls into the porch design which adds texture and scale. The home also uses dormers and a traditional window style to blend into the setting. The large side-facing gable is a traditional bungalow form and works well at this location. The home utilizes a simple, clean color palette, and the interior is open but maintains a traditional character, further contributing to the home’s quality. The jury also appreciated that the builder took care to preserve the mature live oak in the front yard, it’s very valuable to the streetscape. Congratulations to Bold City Properties and Atomic Garden LLC.
Good Neighbor Award
Community Impact Award
Small Business Advocate Award
This year’s Good Neighbor Award recognizes Ron Rothberg for his continued dedication to uplifting art, culture, and storytelling in Jacksonville. Ron Rothberg, a former Interactive Media Manager with more than two decades of marketing and digital storytelling experience, is now a small business owner with deep purpose and meaning. As owner of Art Bikes Jax, Ron operates a fleet of electric bikes available for guided and self-guided tours for residents and visitors to explore public art, historic neighborhoods, and beautiful parks in and around Jacksonville's urban core. The bikes are all unique works of art, customized by local artists. As a podcaster, Ron is host of Swan Dive, which shares pivotal moments in meaningful lives. As a co-producer of Amplified Avondale, Ron transformed his passion for live music into a highly anticipated monthly event that uplifts local musicians and brings new visitors to the Historic Avondale Merchant District. For his next project, Ron is developing a series of self-guided tours of the art, architecture, and history of our neighborhood in partnership with Riverside Avondale Preservation which will serve residents and visitors looking to learn more about our community – on demand. Thank you to Ron for his tireless work to make his neighborhood a better place for small business owners, artists, and musicians. We thank you!
Greg Corcoran, Manager, Community Involvement & Project Outreach
Being a local leader in community engagement is often a thankless task. For a major utility like JEA, it is also uncommon. For these reasons, the outstanding community involvement and outreach that Greg Corcoran with JEA provides to the Riverside Avondale Historic District is unparalleled. As the Manager of JEA’s Project Outreach, Greg Corcoran works closely with neighborhood organizations like Riverside Avondale Preservation to communicate planning timelines, project scope, overall goals, local impacts, legal requirements, and provides high-quality, quick responses to questions and considerations requested. For more than 25 years, Greg has been working with JEA utility crews and executives to ensure the utility’s water, sewer, and electric construction projects run smoothly, communicating early and often with neighbors, residents, and community groups. Projects in 2023 included the completion of a JEA electric substation in the alleyway behind Riverside Animal Hospital. Project designs were provided to RAP with an aim of matching colors and materials with nearby historic properties. Ongoing work to increase water capacity in underground pipes meant the resurfacing of the historic Oak Streetcar railway ties. Each intact tie was elevated and delivered to RAP offices for use in local projects where we might be able to tell that history. When utility crews began planning their annual storm-prevention maintenance and tree trimming, Greg and the JEA arborist worked with neighbors and residents to ensure minimized impacts to each tree. This was after JEA had created marketing that was mailed and digitally shared advertising the program and asked RAP to help get the word out as well, to minimize negative impacts.
The efforts of Greg Corcoran and JEA as a community engagement steward in the Riverside and Avondale neighborhoods have far-reaching impacts. Thank you for this effort.
Hooshang Harvesf, Hooshang Oriental Rug Gallery
Hooshang Harvesf first opened the doors of his retail shop to the public in September 1977 and excitement is still a part of his daily routine. Hooshang is recognized for his longstanding commitment to his shop, the Avondale Merchant Area, and the neighborhood. Hooshang Oriental Rug Gallery is the only store in the Shoppes of Historic Avondale that has retained the same business, name, and owner at the same location for a long time. Hooshang has seen tremendous change in the Avondale merchant area, from predominantly retail to restaurants, dining, and entertainment today. During that time, he has thrived on the enjoyment of customers walking past his shop window and noticing his collection of nutcrackers. This hobby began after an indulgent purchase in New Orleans in 1978. Hooshang’s passion is for the hand-knotted pieces of art, the natural fibers—wool, silk, and cotton. He spends time contemplating the yearslong labor of love that has gone into each design somewhere overseas, which drives him each day to operate his shop and pass his passion along to future customers. Hooshang announced his retirement in 2023 but will continue to operate the Rug Gallery to reduce inventory.
Small Business Advocate Award
Small Business Advocate Award
Riverside Arts Market Award
Mike Shad, Five Points Theatre Building
Mike Shad is a “trailblazer” and as owner of the 5 Points Theatre Building, is an anchor to the Five Points Merchant Area and neighborhood at large. In 2004, Mike and his son Jack spearheaded the renovation of the 5 Points Theater Building, located at 1018-1028 Park Street, originally built in 1927 by the Wade Investment Company and designed by Roy Benjamin. Covered in stucco from a 1970s design, the Mike Shad Company spent four years working with Ken Smith, one of the foremost preservation architects in the area, removing the exterior coating to once again expose the Gothic Revival exterior and brick veneer encased underneath. Once the stucco was removed, Mike had the building designated as a Local Landmark so it will remain protected in the future. The renovation invigorated business clients in the district and started the upscale refurbishing of many shops and restaurants. Mike’s involvement in the Merchant Association facilitated the new brick sidewalks and “Town Center” design of Five Points, funded in part by COJ and also other property owners. The Five Points Theatre Building is a small business incubator, maintaining relationships with businesses many see as fixtures like Brew 5 Points and Sun-Ray Cinema. Mike has always embraced the ethos of a "family business." His dedication to treating tenants as extended family members goes beyond the norm. During the challenging times brought on by the pandemic, Mike displayed unparalleled compassion and understanding. He demonstrated this by not only granting tenants the flexibility to break leases when necessary but also forgiving rent obligations when times were tough. His unwavering support allowed his "family" to navigate the storm and gradually repay what they could when conditions improved. Mike is not just a landlord; he's a true guardian of success and prosperity. Often called “special forces”, one wonders if Mike’s service as a Green Beret in the Vietnam War gave him the tactical skills to accomplish so much for our neighborhood with just one property. Thank you to Mike Shad.
Edge City, Gunnel Humpreys
As owner of Edge City, a women's boutique she's operated for 47 years, Gunnel Humphreys is being recognized for her impact on Five Points, Riverside, and Jacksonville. Edge City’s exotic atmosphere and upbeat vibe have infused Five Points with an energy that continues to define the district, showcasing to future merchants the direction and style of the neighborhood. Gunnel and her partner Tom McCleery were leaders in revitalizing the area, uplifting the Five Points Merchant Association with leadership and restlessness that is infectious to other merchants. With an eye to their community, the Edge City window display is public art. The care that Gunnel showed for sidewalks, trash cans, and bike racks drives the merchant association’s values even today. Gunnel was an original member of the group that founded RAP and her artwork, hand-drawn renderings of many of the most prominent homes in the neighborhood, defined the early outreach and appeal of the organization and the Home Tour. Further, Gunnel and Tom were early investors in music that would be made and recorded in Jacksonville. The couple would pay recording fees to musicians in exchange for several tapes that they would keep and resell at Edge City. This effort helped to fund and build the local music scene as artists worked to grow their following and sell their own music.
The new owners, mother-daughter duo Cheryl and Laura Croft began operating Edge City in January 2024. Cheryl and Laura, with their 16-year-old granddaughter, are Edge City customers and huge Gunnel fans. They look forward to continuing the legacy of Tom, Gunnel, and Edge City.
Special Recognition - 15th Anniversary
Donald Roy Peak
A visit to the Riverside Arts Market is not complete without taking a moment to enjoy performances on the River Stage, and every performance begins with one person: Roy Peak. Over the past 15 years, Roy has provided sound support for musicians, dance teams, DJs, and more- only missing 2 Saturdays between RAM's opening day and the 2020 COVID pandemic. Originally from Kentucky, Roy moved to Jacksonville's Murray Hill neighborhood after graduating high school and became immersed in the music scene. A talented musician, Roy has played and toured with several bands over the years as well as has released three solo albums, with a fourth due this year. In addition to running the River Stage, Roy runs his recording studio and has recorded nearly 100 albums for a diverse group of artists ranging from acoustic folk to blues to hardcore punk rock. Through his commitment to making River Stage programming a fun experience for audience and performers alike, Roy embodies RAM's mission to promote the performing arts.
Special Recognition - 15th Anniversary
Wayne Wood Award
It is not unusual to see "early" visitors to the Riverside Arts Market, who begin to shop ahead of the Market's 10 AM opening time. However, no one arrives earlier at RAM than Frank Widner. Setting up the Market is no simple task, and Frank arrives well before dawn every Saturday morning to ensure the space beneath the Fuller Warren Bridge is ready for the day's vendors and visitors. A lifelong Jacksonville resident, Frank has spent the past 60 years residing in Avondale and worked 30 years in the Title Insurance industry before becoming part of RAM's specialized support team. During the week, Frank can be found spending time with his family, bicycling through the neighborhood he loves, or taking a quick fishing trip. But on Saturday mornings, Frank diligently hangs banners, installs signage, places picnic tables, and transforms a mere parking lot into a place where small businesses thrive. Every afternoon, he expertly repeats the process in reverse, returning the space to parking lot status and storing all equipment to do it again the next week.
The dedication of Frank Widner and Roy Peak is a huge reason the Riverside Arts Market is the success it is today. The support they provide to the market is immeasurable, and their depth of knowledge of the market is invaluable. Without these two men, the Market would not be the same, and the Riverside Avondale Preservation team is honored to award them as the 2024 RAM Makers of the Year for their work in "Making" the Riverside Arts Market each week.
As Chair of the Riverside Avondale Preservation Governance Committee, Jeff Graf steers the direction of the organization in a critical and impactful way. Governance provides the type of consistent oversight, accountability, and checks and balances that ensure nonprofit organizations both reach their goals and remain sustainable for the long term, which is what Jeff Graf brings to the Riverside Avondale Preservation Board of Directors.
Before his current role on the RAP Board of Directors, Jeff Graf served as a RAP Director providing guidance and oversight during the hiring of Executive Director, Carmen Godwin, the creation of the Riverside Arts Market, and helping in creating the 2009 RAP strategic plan. Since that time, he went on to serve critical board services for the Jacksonville Historical Society. Once returned, over the last three years, Jeff Graf has worked to create a Board Member Handbook and new Board Member Orientation, streamlined the RAP Bylaws, and is working to create a framework for ensuring continual Board Cycle development. He is also refreshing our mission and vision and creating a stewardship model for this organization that is poised to direct our next 50 years. For that, Jeffrey Graf is presented with the 2024 Wayne Wood Award for his ongoing commitment to Governance and Board Development.