13 Historic Sites Win $1M in Preservation Grants

In addition to the Basilica of Saint Mary, which won the popular vote in a grant contest, 12 other local historic sites also won a portion of $1 million that's being distributed as part of a national preservation program.

Several weeks after the Basilica of Saint Mary won the popular vote-and a $110,000 grant-through the national Partners in Preservation program, 12 other historic Twin Cities sites also have been selected to receive a portion of a $1 million funding pot.

Partners in Preservation is put on by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation-a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focused on preservation initiatives. The Minneapolis-St. Paul region is the sixth metro area to be selected for it.

Local historic sites were required to complete grant applications in order to be considered for the program, which distributes money for restoration and preservation projects. Applications were reviewed based on each site's historic significance and accessibility to the public, demonstration of community support and organizational excellence, and evidence of a coherent and sustainable preservation plan.

Between September 20 and October 12, voting was open on Facebook, and Twin Citians could vote online daily for the site of their choosing. As the winner, the Basilica was guaranteed its full $110,000 grant request. But another $890,000 in grants was more recently determined by an advisory committee comprised of civic and preservation leaders-which was co-chaired by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

The just-announced funding winners-along with the cities in which they are located, the amount awarded to each, and what the money will be used for-are:

Emerge Career and Technology Center, Minneapolis: $110,000 to restore the library's ornate interior, including surviving 1893 interior woodwork, flooring and plaster walls, and distinctive wood windows.  Waterford Iron Bridge, Waterford Township: $95,000 to remove and replace the cracked southeast wing wall. 
American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis: $90,000 to restore the historic first-floor kitchen, dry storage room, and butler's pantry to their original condition. 
Pilgrim Baptist Church, St. Paul: $86,000 to repair heavily damaged sections of brick masonry on the exterior of the building.
Harriet Tubman Center East, Maplewood: $84,000 to update the center's public restroom facilities on the first floor. 
C.S.P.S. Sokol Hall, St. Paul: $80,000 to install an air conditioning system in the second-floor auditorium, which will allow the space to be used for public events year-round. 
Historic Pilot Knob, Mendota Heights: $75,000 to bury existing power lines that currently disrupt the natural landscape. 
The Soap Factory, Minneapolis: $70,000 toward the repair of the failing roof of the main building. 
Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill, St. Paul: $50,000 for brick masonry repair and the repair of the church's prominent concrete columns that define the main entrance of the church. 
Fort Snelling Upper Post, Building 67, Minneapolis: $40,000 to restore the rare historic Seth Thomas/Hotchkiss model clock in the clock tower. 
Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, St. Paul: $30,000 to achieve the original architectural vision for the historic ramp with the installation of tower lights and new fencing that is in character with the 1937 structure. 
Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery, Minneapolis: $20,000 toward the removal, cleaning, repair, and reinstallation of the cemetery's historic fence.

Twelve additional sites that submitted an application and participated in the contest will each receive $5,000 in funding.