Van Buren County Presents Its 2024 Annual Preservation Awards


On May 17 the Van Buren County Historic Preservation Commission held its 6th annual preservation award ceremony. This year there were five recipients honored for their work is preserving our county’s architectural heritage.

The first award went to Bill and Betty Printy, creative blacksmith and potter in Bentonsport for five decades. They have also been conscientious stewards of two houses that are at the heart of the National Historic District that embraces most of the village.

The second award went to Van Buren Conservation, which owns and manages many of the county’s historic properties. They were honored for their painstaking restoration of the 1851 IOOF Building in Bentonsport. Executive Director Richard Daugherty accepted the award.

The third award went to the Bentonsport Improvement Association, which has been the backbone of the village’s cooperative preservation efforts for many years. Most recently, they replaced the cedar shingle roof of the 1855 Presbyterian Church with close fidelity to historic guidelines. Bob Whitaker and Ted Kralicek accepted the award.

The fourth award went to Van Buren County Historical Society, another owner of several historic properties, for their rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the ca. 1876 Twombly Building, Keosauqua’s oldest extant commercial building. Sheila Parsons and Suzy Pool accepted the award.

The fifth award went to Chris and Felicia Pope, who purchased the iconic 1846 Mason House in Bentonsport last year and immediately set about planning a restoration of it to its former glory. This award is not for a job accomplished but for one begun with courage and tenacity.

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