The awardees included Jon Monson and Matt Mithun for the Dock Cinema on 26 Water Street, Scott Klein for 370 Water Street and Tom Zahn, who assisted the Heritage Preservation Commission in creating the commission’s preservation design manual.
The winners were drawn from a list of properties whose owners appeared before the preservation commission for site alternation permits in the last year. The recognition was based on the building owner’s work to preserve the historic design of the property and to restore its original fixtures.
Monson, Mithun and Klein were honored for their simple but effective improvements to their businesses.
“The Heritage Preservation Commission gave this award because both are good examples on how simple improvements can make a big difference,” said Planning Director Pat Smith. “It’s bringing it back to what it looked like originally.”
Monson co-owns the Dock Cinema with Matt Mithun. They made updates last fall that brought back the building closer to its 1940s art deco style. Monson said that they stripped back a lot of the 1980s facade.
“The updates were very simple,” Monson said. “We repainted the building a neutral gray and then we reworked the wood facade to remove some of the old wood and simplify it. We wanted to freshen it up and bring it closer to its art deco roots.”
Monson has been an advocate for historical preservation, having renovated the Jake O’Connor’s building in 2005 after it was badly damaged in 1999 in the Hance Building fire.
“I’ve been a strong advocate of Excelsior maintaining it’s small-town feel and vintage character,” Monson said. “The theater provides a small town service that adds to the quality of life. What we’re trying to do is keep that little theater alive so we’ve freshened up the exterior and will later do the interior to make it an enjoyable experience for the customer.”
Klein was honored for the updates he made to his stucco building on 370 Water St. Two businesses, E-Cig Vape Lounge and Empower Chiropractic and Wellness Center, rent space in the building.
The building was built in 1930 and is one of the only stucco buildings in Excelsior.
Klein’s family has owned the building for nearly its entire history. The building has seen many purposes, including a gas station and an antique store. It originally was painted white with fire engine red trim.
Klein made simple repairs including repairing the stucco, removing the 1980s awnings, replacing the light fixtures and painting the building with earth tones to blend in to the surrounding area.
“It was very dated and we brought it closer to what it originally looked like in the 1930s,” Klein said. “Aesthetically these updates have made a huge difference.”
His goal was to repair the building to display its historical charm while at the same time
creating a business with curb appeal. “This award means a lot,” Klein said. “The Heritage Preservation Commission helped guide the process and it’s nice to be recognized.”
Klein said it’s important for businesses and residents to help preserve the historic parts of the city.
He said, “The historical charm is what draws people to Excelsior.”