On Thursday, May 27, the cities of Bellevue, Newport and Covington hosted the 2010 River Cities Preservation Awards at the Artisan Enterprise Center in Covington. The cities collectively recognized the commitment that the residents and business owners have to reserving the historic quality of their cities. Thirteen awards were given out at the ceremony ranging in purpose from new construction to residential rehabilitation.

Beth Johnson, the Preservation and Planning Specialist for the City of Covington, commends the spirit of collaboration that the awards ceremony breeds.

“The River Cities Preservation Awards are such a wonderful thing for all three cities that participate as it gives us a chance to thank and recognize the hard work, dedication, and investment to those that are saving our historic treasures,” said Beth Johnson, Preservation & Planning Specialist for the City of Covington.  “People from all over the nation comment on the amazing historic resources that we have.  All of us, Covington, Newport, and Bellevue, are lucky to have building owners that agree and therefore work really hard to rehabilitation and preserve those resources.”

Dan and Jessica Krebs won the award for rehabilitation of a residential structure for their home at 618 11th Street in Covington. This category recognizes successful rehabilitation of historic residential structures. These projects offer a creative solution for rehabilitating a building inside and out when much of the historic material is either too deteriorated to save or is missing altogether.

The Krebs’s two and a half story Italianate home was originally built in 1863 by H.H. Hellman, who owned and operated “Hellman Feed and Grain” on Madison Avenue. In 2001 when Dan Krebs bought the house it had sat vacant for over two years and was in a severely deteriorated condition. While the brick building was still solid, the entire interior of the building had to be gutted and updated, the exterior needed lots of maintenance from years of neglect.

According to Ms. Johnson, the Krebs “are a really hard working and dedicated couple. They did all of the work themselves and Dan is very talented as he has built and handcrafted so much in their house.”

Dan created a modern kitchen by handcrafting the cabinets, but kept the historic feel by framing an original piece of the tin ceiling. On the rest of the first floor Dan and Jess were able to save the original hard wood floor, and to rebuild the original mantle and fireplace.

While working in the back yard, they found and old cistern. Instead of filling it with gravel, they decided to use it for its original use, to catch rainwater. By adding a pump, they have created an natural supply of water for their lawn and plants.

Dan and Jess Krebs have shown amazing dedication to rehabilitating their house to the grander that it deserves. They have a great eye for detail and the hands of craftsman. Their commitment to historic preservation embodies the spirit that the cities of Covington, Bellevue, and Newport sought to highlight in their award ceremony.