Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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City honors two property owners for bringing historic buildings back from the brink


The city of Burlington has bestowed a special recognition on two sets of property owners who’ve managed to inject new life into a couple of historic buildings that had survived the ravages of time a bit worse for wear.

Named after the late Minetree Pyne, who is regarded as Burlington’s first modern preservationist, this annual award is routinely extended to property owners whose efforts help to preserve the city’s historic character.

This year, the recipients of Pyne’s eponymous honor included Kristina Meinking and Jason Husser, who were recognized for the renovation of the century-old Fogleman-Jeffries House at 420 West Front Street.

Brian Pennington, left, presenting to Jason Husser
420 West Front Street

In a recent appearance before Burlington’s city council, Husser credited his wife Kristina with the inspiration to refurbish this Neo-Georgian/Colonial manor, which is situated in the heart of the city’s largest historic district.

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“My wife is a runner,” Husser recalled. “She had been running by this house for years and said that when it comes up for sale we should by it.”

Husser added that, when the old home finally came on the market in 2020, the couple decided to take on this project despite the peeling plaster, slump in the floor, and the vintage electrical work that they encountered within.

In the end, Husser said that their labors gave him and his wife a greater appreciation for historic preservation as well as Burlington’s architectural history. He went on to accept a commemorative plaque from Brian Pennington, the chairman of Burlington’s Historic Preservation Commission, on behalf of himself and his wife, a classics professor at Elon University who is also a member of the same appointed advisory board.

Pennington also presented a similar plaque to Jeff Wilkins for his work on a derelict office building at 1048 South Church Street. Wilkins acknowledged that it was no easy task to refurbish this structure, which is currently home to his business – the Wilkins Design Group.

Brian Pennington, left, presenting to Jeff Wilkins
Wilkins Design Group 1048 South Church Street

“The only thing that’s still there [from the original] is the brick and the bar joist,” he added. “Everything else was pretty much replaced.”

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