In 2016, Scott and Emily Durand recognized that a 130-year old building located on a prominent corner of Wabasha’s Main Street had great potential for revival. Built in 1880 for Henry Holmes Jewell’s hardware store, the H.H. Jewell building retains much of its historic façade after being host to numerous businesses including a longstanding hardware store, a bowling alley, and a pharmacy. After the pharmacy that occupied the space most recently vacated the building, the Durands jumped at the opportunity to rehabilitate this important corner building. Recently, the project was awarded a Minnesota Preservation Award. The project addressed water infiltration issues on the roof, stabilized the buildings, and adaptively reused the first level as a dental office. On October 3, the Minnesota Preservation Awards were hosted by Rethos: Places Reimagined (formerly the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota).
Among many individuals and projects recognized was the rehabilitation of Wabasha’s historic H.H. Jewell Building (Wabasha Dentistry). Owners Scott and Emily Durand were present to receive the award and were accompanied by Linda and Bob Mann and Casie Radford, AIA, LEED APAIA. Linda Mann is Chair of the Wabasha Heritage Preservation Commission which made the nomination. Bob Mann is the President of the Wabasha-Kellogg Community Foundation and practices with Scott Durand at Wabasha Dentistry which occupies the building as the current sole tenant. Casie Radford is an historic architect and director at New History, a firm the Durands consulted with on the federal and state historic tax credit process.
In the evening’s remarks, Rethos Board of Directors Vice President Vanessa Matiski remarked, “This project provides an excellent example for a thoughtful, incremental, and successful adaptive reuse project. As a project under $1,000,000 in total project costs, the difficulty of obtaining federal and state historic tax credits was high, however, the project’s success serves as encouragement to other small building owners to pursue historic tax credits. Stakeholders on the project include Bank of America, City of Wabasha, Hygge Properties, JB Developments (Wabasha), Live Oak Bank, Primus Inc., PVN, New History, Select Structural, the MN State Historic Preservation Office, and West Plains Engineering.
Gary Schmitt, owner of Gambles in Wabasha, MN, has won the Heritage Preservation Award for ‘Incremental Investments to his building on Main Street. His father, James Schmitt, and Gary had to make a decision in 2007 when the roof of the hardware store was condemned. “We’re gonna fix her!”, was the mindset of the father/son team. The property first appears on the 1955 “Wabashaw” abstract. The existing building structure was built in 1913, then sold to Universal Motor Co. in 1921. It was at first a Chevrolet garage, then Ford garage in 1925. Gary estimates in the 1920’s the rear of the building received a new stone addition.
Through 2 generations, including decades of downtown building ownership, with thoughtful design and repair the Schmitt family has maintained the integrity of a now Mid-Century gem in the Wabasha Historic District. The Wabasha HPC and City of Wabasha recognized Gary at a recent award creemony. Gary Schmitt and Gambles received a Minnesota Preservation Award at the 2018 Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Benefit Gala.