Grapevine hands out historic preservation awards

Men and women who have worked to preserve and protect the historic side of Grapevine earned accolades from the City Council this month.

Winners included Mary Cal Yates Johnson, Eric F. Legge, Aaron and Rachel Lucht, Jay Balding and Howard and Nancy Walfield.

Johnson's award, the city's Advocacy Award, came from what Mayor William D. Tate called "her foresight and dedication in conserving Grapevine's Artifacts and sharing with her community the value of historic preservation." Some of Johnson's contributions included donations of goods from the Yates Dry Goods Store on Main Street and the Yates family home.

She called it a great honor for her and her family.

"My family came to Grapevine in a covered wagon in 1855," Johnson said. "How lucky am I to still have some of the furniture and belongings that they brought with them? My heart belongs to Grapevine and the history of Grapevine."

Legge earned the Preservation Conservation Project Award for sustaining the existing form, integrity and materials of a historic property—the HH Yancy Farmhouse, circa 1898, at 1331 W. Wall St.

Tate called it a must-see in the community.

"You need to go by," Tate said. "It's almost like a Christmas card at Christmas time."

Legge said the project was a dream of his during his time in the Marines in Iraq—a topic of conversation with his fellow soldiers during quiet moments.

"My goal was to find a building in Grapevine to be my office and the Toys for Tots office so we would never have to move again," Legge said. "This old building came up. It was boarded up and looked like it had one breath left in it. I thought 'This is the building I need.'"

The year spent restoring the property was a source of "incredible pleasure," he said.

"The fact I'm now a part of Grapevine means more to me than you will ever, ever imagine," Legge said. "There's nothing like Grapevine. For me to be part of this and to get an award for it—what a pleasure."

The Restoration Projects Award went to the Luchts for their work maintaining a restoration accurate to the period of significance at 204 S. Dooley St., a home from 1915.

Aaron Lucht said the couple knew the house was "the one" when they were house-hunting six years ago.

"We drove around the neighborhood around 100 times and found a "For Sale" sign in the yard and knew it was ours," he said. "We definitely found our home, our place to lay roots here. Now we have two little boys who can call this home, too. It's our pleasure to be a part of historic Grapevine."

Balding snagged the Infill New Construction Award for new work to reflect the community's historic past with the 2012 Balding House at the former site of the 1953 Willingham House at 840 E. Worth St.

"It's an honor to receive this award," Balding said. "Thank you to the city, the City Council, the mayor and especially (Historic Preservation Officer) David Klempin. Grapevine is a wonderful place to live. It's a great community."

The Walfields earned their Rehabilitation Project Award for work at the historic Lucas-Deacon-Walfield House, circa 1939, at 512 W. College St.

Howard Walfield said it was a point of pride for the couple to take on the project.

"Both Nancy and I grew up in small communities," he said. "We're loving living downtown and loving living in this old home, and loving living in the city of Grapevine."


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