Fox Theatre/Spokane, WA

Another winner is Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Worcester, MA.

Targeted News Service

October 19, 2010 Tuesday

Fox Theater in Spokane, Wash., to Receive Preservation Honor Award


The National Trust for Historic Preservation issued the following news release:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation will present its Preservation Honor Award for the renovation of the Fox Theater in Spokane, Wash. The project is one of 23 award winners to be honored by the National Trust during its 2010 National Preservation Conference ( next week in Austin, Texas.

At its grand opening in 1931, the sleek Art Deco Fox Theater was the pride of Spokane, Wash. Built during the dark days of the Great Depression for a whopping $1 million, the Fox – at 2,300 seats – was the largest and only air-conditioned performance space in the city. Known for its decorative, eye-popping murals, the Fox hosted both films and live stage performances featuring a parade of Hollywood celebrities.

For more than four decades, the Fox held its own as a first-run movie house in a bustling downtown entertainment and shopping district. But as suburban malls and multiplexes began to lure moviegoers away from downtown, the theater began a period of decline. By 2000, the Fox was slated for demolition to make way for a parking lot.

When Spokane resident Myrtle Woldson provided a $3 million gift to jumpstart the theater’s restoration, a unique public-private partnership was born. Reopened in 2007 after years of diligent fundraising and a meticulous $31 million restoration, the Fox is today a multi-use performing arts facility and the home of the Spokane Symphony Orchestra. The painstaking project included the removal of years of dirt, grime and popcorn grease and restoring the theater’s original murals, marquees, light fixtures and interior finishes.

"The Fox Theater is a community treasure and is a key part of the ongoing economic revitalization of Spokane’s historic downtown," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "Even when the Fox’s stage is bare, the building’s murals, plasterwork and light fixtures put on a show worthy of a standing ovation."

The 2010 National Preservation Awards are sponsored by American Express. Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation, said, "Congratulations to all 23 award recipients for their extraordinary work in protecting America’s heritage. As American Express expands its commitment to historic preservation, we’re honored to recognize the dedicated individuals who are saving places that matter across the nation."

The award will be presented to Brenda Nienhouse, Executive Director of the Fox Theatre, at the National Preservation Awards ceremony in Austin, Texas, on Friday, October 29, at 6PM CST. Co-recipients are: Keith Comes, AIA, NAC Architecture; Charles Cosler, Charles Cosler Theatre Design; Jeff Greene EverGreene Architectural Arts, Inc.; Mark Holden, JaffeHolden Acoustics; Ed Walker, Walker Construction, Inc.; David Green, The Fox Board of Directors; Ronald Stanley, Spokane Symphony Board of Trustees; and Kelly Lordan, Spokane Preservation Advocates.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation. The winners of the National Preservation Awards will appear in the January/February issue of Preservation Magazine ( and online at

To download high-resolution images of this year’s National Preservation Award winners, visit

The 2010 National Preservation Award Winners:

Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award: Tony Goldman, New York, N.Y.–In a four-decade career, developer Tony Goldman has transformed declining historic districts–like Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood and Miami’s South Beach–into thriving global destinations.

John H. Chafee Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy: Susan Brandt-Hawley, Glen Allen, Calif.–One of America’s most dynamic preservation advocates, California attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley has dedicated her career to saving places that matter in the Golden State.

Peter H. Brink Award for Individual Achievement in Historic Preservation: Lyda Ann Thomas, Former Mayor, Galveston, Texas–After Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston in September of 2008, then-Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas took decisive actions to preserve her city’s irreplaceable heritage, including reserving substantial recovery funds to restore distinctive cast-iron facades.

Trustees Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites: Newport Restoration Foundation, Newport, R.I.–Founded in 1968 by philanthropist Doris Duke, the Newport Restoration Foundation has helped save the city’s colonial heritage, restoring 83 buildings and turning Newport into a world-class preservation showcase.

Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence: Preservation Trust of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.–In just three decades, the Preservation Trust of Vermont has helped communities across the Green Mountain State save more than 1,000 buildings – village stores, post offices, schools, barns – and return them to productive use.

National Trust/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation: Crown Square Development, St. Louis, Mo.–In a once blighted section of Old North St. Louis, two nonprofit groups have successfully engaged local residents in an ambitious effort to rehabilitate historic buildings, provide affordable housing and encourage economic revitalization.

National Trust/Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation: Moton Field, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, Tuskegee, Ala.–Thanks to an ambitious public/private partnership, Moton Field, the small Alabama airfield where the famed Tuskegee Airmen learned to fly, has been thoughtfully revitalized and preserved.

National Trust Board of Advisors Award: White Stag Block, Portland, Ore.–In one of America’s greenest cities, three long-vacant historic commercial buildings have been brought back to life in a textbook example of sustainable development.


Eastern Market, Washington, D.C.–Opened in 1873, Eastern Market, the oldest fresh-food and farmers market in the nation’s capital and a beloved community landmark, was gutted by fire in 2007 and then raised from the ashes and gloriously restored.

Empire State Building Lobby, New York, N.Y.–The lobby of the world’s most famous office building has been restored to its original Art Deco grandeur and outfitted with the latest in tenant services and security technology.

Fox Theater, Spokane, Wash.–Once the pride of Spokane, the sleek Art Deco Fox Theater was slated for demolition until a meticulous $31 million restoration re-opened this beloved community landmark.

The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Worcester, Mass. – A mainstay of community life for more than a century, the lavish 3,500-seat theatre, once abandoned for a decade, has been gloriously reborn.

Historic Fifth Street School, Las Vegas, Nev.–In a sea of high rises, the Historic Fifth Street School, one of the only intact Mission style buildings in the city, has been elegantly restored and is today home to several local arts and architectural organizations.

King Edward Hotel Revitalization Project, Jackson, Miss.–Vacant for 40 years, the neoclassical hotel that was once the city’s social hub is again dominating Jackson’s skyline after a lavish restoration.

The Land Trust for Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn.–In the brief decade since its founding, The Land Trust for Tennessee has protected over 52,000 acres and become a leading force for preservation across the Volunteer State.

Main Street Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa–Since 1986, Main Street Iowa, a preservation powerhouse, has partnered with 64 cities and towns, rehabbing 8,000 historic buildings, creating 10,000 jobs and investing $971 million to revitalize the Hawkeye State.

Milwaukee City Hall, Milwaukee, Wis.–One of the most distinctive and iconic elements of Milwaukee’s skyline, City Hall had been battered by a century of weathering, hard use and insensitive alterations until Mayor Tom Barrett embarked on an ambitious, historically-accurate exterior renovation project that included workforce development.

Montana Legislature House Appropriations Committee, Montana Legislature Senate Finance and Claims Committee, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, and the Montana Preservation Alliance, Butte, Mont.–When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year, Montana legislators seized a golden opportunity to set aside $4 million in stimulus funds for preservation projects.

Nemours Mansion and Gardens, Wilmington, Del.–The 102-room Beaux Arts Nemours chateau, a bit of Versailles in Delaware’s historic Brandywine Valley, has been returned to glittering splendor after a four-year, $27.5 million restoration.

Initiative to Save Rosenwald Schools, southern United States–In the early 1900s, the unique collaboration between Booker T. Washington and Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald resulted in the construction of 5,000 schools for African Americans. After desegregation ended, most Rosenwald schools were closed and many were demolished or forgotten. Thanks to the support of the Rosenwald Family, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation and grassroots activists across the South, Rosenwald schools are being preserved and returned to active roles in community life.

Royalton, Miami, Fla.–Built in 1923 in the Classic Revival style, the Royalton Hotel was a rundown, faded eyesore until a local developer teamed with a nonprofit housing group to painstakingly renovate the building, creating affordable housing units for the city’s neediest citizens.

Save Our Bridge, St. Augustine, Fla.–St. Augustine’s iconic and graceful Bridge of Lions, built in 1927, was threatened with demolition and replacement when a tenacious group of local citizens mounted a massive lobbying campaign, resulting in the restoration of the quarter-mile span.

Sengelmann Hall, Schulenburg, Texas–Once the crowning glory of a small town, the ornate red brick dance hall on Main Street had been closed for decades until a descendant of one of the town’s founding fathers restored the beloved local icon of Schulenburg, Tex.

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