Indiana Landmarks awards prizes to winners in Indianapolis, Madison and Columbus

Honoring leaders in historic preservation

Indiana Landmarks will present its annual Servaas Memorial Awards for achievement in historic preservation and its new Williamson Prize for outstanding individual leadership on Sept. 11 in Indianapolis. Lori Efroymson-Aguilera will receive the Williamson Prize, and Servaas Awards will go to Historic Madison and the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

The Williamson Prize is named in honor of Reid Williamson, president of Indiana Landmarks from 1973 to 2005. Under his leadership, Indiana Landmarks created regional offices, and grew in membership, staff, and endowment. Williamson lives in Savannah, GA.

At Indiana Landmarks’ annual meeting on Sunday, Sept. 11, Lori Efroymson-Aguilera will receive the inaugural Williamson Prize. In 1998, she and her late husband Dan created the Efroymson Family Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) with preservation as a core mission.

Since 1999, Efroymson-Aguilera has chaired the fund, which has made over $3.5 million in grants to more than 250 preservation projects throughout Indiana. “As the fund’s leader, she directs grants to preservation projects in the early stage, when there is no guarantee of success. Efroymson Family Fund grants have been a transforming gift to preservation and Indiana,” says Marsh Davis, president of Indiana Landmarks since 2006.

“Her support has helped save historic places throughout the state, from the Prairie Preservation Guild’s restoration of the Fowler Theatre to the rescue of Lyles Station schoolhouse, a vestige of a historic African American settlement in Gibson County. The Efroymson Family Fund has made grants for 10 Most Endangered sites, always a risky proposition,” he adds. Since 2005, the Efroymson Family Fund also has provided $3 million to recapitalize Indiana Landmarks’ revolving loan and endangered places grant funds.

Davis will recognize Lori Efroymson-Aguilera’s leadership with the Williamson Prize. She will receive $1,000 and a walnut and cherry sculpture created to represent the award by Evansville artist John McNaughton.

Indiana Landmarks’ Honorary Chairman Randall Shepard, former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, will present the Servaas Memorial Awards at the same event. The winners will receive a cash prize and an original maple sculpture created by John McNaughton to represent the awards.

Historic Madison, Inc., will receive the Servaas Award in the youth-serving category for its participation in The Mayor’s Eagles, a community service partnership between the mayor’s office and local elementary students in the city’s National Historic Landmark District. John Staicer, president of Historic Madison, will accept the $1,000 award.

“Hundreds of fourth- and fifth-grade Mayor’s Eagles have participated in Historic Madison’s volunteer opportunities since 2000. For example, for four of those years, Mayor’s Eagles helped conduct Historic Madison’s Outbuilding Survey. The kids received training in field measurement, photography and documentation and recorded more than 80 structures, a project that led to a popular self-guided urban outbuilding tour,” notes Shepard, who chairs the Servaas & Williamson awards selection committee.

This year, Historic Madison guided Mayor’s Eagles in researching historic sites and downloading the information to Clio, an app for iPhones and Androids that connects users to a database of historic sites nationwide.

Mayor Damon Welch’s three adult offspring participated in The Mayor’s Eagles as children. He believes Historic Madison’s participation in the program has helped many students look at their community with a new appreciation for its architectural heritage. “As the future leaders of our city, students need a strong background in what makes Madison so special,” he noted in a letter of support.

The Columbus Area Visitors Center will receive the Servaas Memorial Award in the nonprofit category for its promotion and support of historic preservation. A $2,000 honorarium accompanies the award.

“The Visitors Center recognizes that the community’s architectural heritage is what sets it apart from other communities, and that preserving this legacy is integral to its mission and success,” says Shepard.

It markets Columbus far and wide to attract and educate tourists about the city’s unique heritage. The Visitors Center created a rigorous curriculum for the volunteer guides who lead thousands each year on tours—six days a week—highlighting the city’s nineteenth-century structures as well as more than 70 mid-century landmarks. The guides create a resident pool of local experts who also share the story with friends and neighbors.

To broadcast the story of Columbus’s world-class architecture, the Visitors Center promotes the city to state and national media and through social media, arranging journalists’ itineraries and hosting national professional organizations whose missions support preservation. It also hosts educational talks on Columbus’s unique architectural heritage for the local audience.

The Visitors Center also helps fund preservation projects, aiding the rehabilitation of Hamilton Center, a 1958 Harry Weese-designed ice skating rink, for example. To foster and strengthen preservation in the community, the Columbus Area Visitors Center was a founding partner of Landmark Columbus, a new preservation organization, and served as the parent for the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives, now a stand-alone 501c3 organization.


Media contacts: Tina Connor, Executive Vice President, Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534 or 317-946-3127, John Staicer, President, Historic Madison, Inc., 812-265-2967, Karen Niverson, Executive Director, Columbus Area Visitors Center, 812-378-2622,


Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. Join us.


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