9-1-2022 – PNC awards Blue Bell for renovations

Posted on: September 2nd, 2022 by admin No Comments


September 1 2022




Sep 1, 2022


LENOIR — Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills has been honored for their historic preservation efforts with the Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit presented by Preservation North Carolina (PNC).


Recognition will be given to 17 winners across the state in each of the following categories: Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit (up to 12 given each year); the Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award; the L. Vincent Lowe, Jr. Business Award; the Stedman Incentive Grant; the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award; and the Ruth Coltrane Cannon Award.


To view descriptions of these awards, please visit www.presnc.org/awards.


The 2022 Preservation North Carolina Honor Awards winners include the Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit for the Blue Bell (Lenoir Cotton) Mill in Lenoir.


“Tom and I, our objectives and intentions are about preservation and community development,” said Yorke Lawson, one of the owners of Blue Bell along with Tom Niemann. “That’s what brought us here. Preservation NC sent us to Lenoir in 2016, so it’s kind of come full circle.”


According to the Preservation NC website, the Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit are named in honor of the late Dr. Gertrude S. Carraway, a noted New Bern historian and preservationist. Presented since 1974, a maximum of 12 awards are given each year. The Awards of Merit give deserved recognition to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a genuine commitment to historic preservation through extraordinary leadership, research, philanthropy, promotion, and/or significant participation in preservation.


In 2021, Allison Gray and David Maurer of Raleigh were recipients of the Gertrude S. Carraway award for the restoration of the Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Lenoir, now the location of Mandem Syndicate Barbershop, a modern barbershop with a residential unit on the second floor.


“We’re just thrilled and overwhelmed with these recognitions,” said Kaylynn Horn, director of Downtown Economic Development. “With our Main Street programs, our mission and charge is economic development through historical preservation, so to see our projects receive such prestigious awards is an honor for us. All of the projects downtown are award-winning. We’re looking forward to seeing more of them.”


Lawson and Niemann began developing the Blue Bell Plant, Steele Cotton Mill, and the freight depot several years ago.


Blue Bell apartments offer residents spacious loft living in downtown Lenoir. Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills was originally built in 1901, later expanded in 1948, and reconstructed according to National Park Service Historic Standards in 2021. The conversion of the former Lenoir Cotton Mill, once the largest mill in Lenoir, Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills is a significant representation of late nineteenth century textile mill architecture. The masonry façade, timber-intensive interior, large wooden columns, and 12-foot-tall windows with segmental arched tops which wrap the building, are among the original details preserved. Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills has been reimagined into 46 one- and two-bedroom loft-style apartments and is located within walking distance of historic downtown Lenoir.


“We were particularly happy to include a number of local businesses as subcontractors on the project,” said Lawson. “That will continue in our second phase. The number one need, ever since Tom and I have been coming here, has been market-rate housing. The employers are here, but the employees have very few places to live. The 46 units in the Blue Bell filled very quickly; we’re full and there’s a waiting list.”


Each year, the honor awards recognize outstanding people, projects, businesses, and organizations in the field of historic preservation across the state. The 17 winners will be honored in Winston-Salem on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. as part of PNC’s annual historic preservation conference. The award ceremony will feature a presentation followed by a reception at the Historic Brookstown Inn.


Tickets to this event are open to the public and available for purchase online at PreservationNC.org/awards.


“It’s a wonderful thing,” said Lenoir Mayor Joe Gibbons. “We work closely with Preservation NC and Senator Ted Alexander, who was behind bringing Yorke and Tom here a number of years ago now. These apartments are a wonderful thing that we needed in Lenoir and Caldwell County. We’re thankful for Yorke and Tom for coming to our community and investing in our community … We’re honored that we work so well with Preservation NC and all those who have been involved in these projects. I can’t say enough about how great a project this is. We hope it continues to be successful and continues to grow.”


Visit www.bluebellatlenoirmills.com for more information about the apartments at Blue Bell at Lenoir Mills.


Founded in 1939, Preservation North Carolina (PNC) is North Carolina’s only private nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization. Its mission is to protect and promote buildings, landscapes, and sites important to the diverse people of North Carolina. Through its award-winning Endangered Properties Program, Preservation North Carolina acquires endangered historic properties and then finds purchasers to rehabilitate them. PNC has protected more than 800 historic properties statewide.

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