Heroes of Preservation recognized

Heroes of Preservation recognized
Scott Daniels

Davis Chrisman, a senior at Buckeye Career Center, received the first Jeff Miller Memorial Tradesman Award.


In keeping with May as Historic Preservation Month, the Heritage Home Association of Tuscarawas County honored 11 Heroes of Preservation at an annual awards presentation held Thursday, May 5 at Geib Funeral Center in Dover.

Numerous people were recognized for their efforts to preserve the historic structures in their care. Three homes, three businesses, a Pullman rail car and an old government building have all been saved or enhanced by the honorees.

Also recognized were three Heroes of History for their efforts to improve their communities, and a Buckeye Career Center student was presented with the inaugural Jeff Miller Memorial Tradesman Award.

The evening was hosted by Heritage Home Association President Tom Strickling.

Beth and Louis Catola are continuing restoration work on their Victorian era home on North Broadway in New Philadelphia and were honored for their work so far.

“It was just a few years ago when we were able to start serious work on the outside of the house,” Beth Catola said.

The freshly painted structure is now a dark color with white trim. “There is still much yet to be done,” Catola said.

Brooke and Keith Riddle recently had their 1884 house on Cornet Street in Port Washington stripped and repainted.

“We walked into it with our realtor and fell in love with it. It was very much a project,” Keith Riddle said.

The house has 11-foot-high lower story ceilings. “But I can thankfully say no ghosts,” Riddle said.

Next to be honored was Steve Gray, the exterior of whose home on East High Avenue in New Philadelphia took three months to scrape, repair and paint, with lots more yet to do.

Asked if there were any surprises in taking on the job, he said, “Just about everything we found was a surprise.”

Moving in in 2003, he said he really had no idea how much he was getting into.

Renovations to the Alexander building in downtown New Philadelphia also were recognized. The old structure is home to Rodriguez’s House of Stones jewelry store.

Miller’s Clothing and Shoes, also in downtown New Philadelphia, saw extensive preservation work on the upper exterior, and owners Marty and Rosette Miller were honored for the work. The couple shared the stage and credit with their contractor, Alan Page.

“We worked from a photo. That was the best we could do,” Marty Miller said. “Alan and I went up and measured everything ourselves.”

“All the work was done old school, laid out on graph paper,” Page said.

Old Town Tavern is now a functioning tavern and restaurant in the village of Tuscarawas, but it was a long ride for honorees Nicole and Dale Douglass, Jr. to get there. They had never tackled such a project before.

“There was a water main break while the building lay dormant,” Nicole Douglass said. “All the floors had to be removed and replaced.”

The restaurant is now open Wednesday through Saturday from 4-9 p.m.

Wendy Zucal was on hand from the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum to accept the Heroes of Preservation Award for the museum’s restoration of a Pullman rail car, now open for guests as a bed and breakfast.

Dennison Mayor Greg DiDonato accepted an award for the village for work to restore the upper floor of the village hall, the Railroad Room.

DiDonato also was one of three recognized as Heroes of History, honored for his contributions to save and preserve Dennison history and its structures.

Also named Heroes of History were Don and Susie Whittingham of New Philadelphia, who were introduced by New Philadelphia Mayor Joel Day.

“They were the major contributors to the restoration of the Welcome to Our City sign atop the Alexander building when it blew down,” Day said. “If you look at downtown New Philadelphia and the revitalization efforts going on their, Don and Susie are responsible for a lot of that.”

Don Whittingham spoke of ongoing plans for other projects in the city’s downtown.

Davis P. Chrisman, a senior at Buckeye Career Center studying electrical systems technology, was awarded the Jeff Miller Memorial Tradesman Award. Miller was active in local historic preservation until his sudden passing in 2019.

Chrisman has been accepted to Pittsburgh Technical College to further his education in electrician technology. He will take over his grandfather’s electrical business after graduation from Pittsburgh and credits the elder man with his own interest in the electrical trades. The award carries a $1,000 scholarship.

Learn more about the Heritage Home Association of Tuscarawas County at www.tuschha.org.

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