Sixteen 2021 Merit Awards Announced

The Tennessee Historical Commission celebrates National Preservation Month each May by presenting Merit Awards in recognition of exemplary work by individuals, groups, organizations, corporations, or governmental entities that further promote historic preservation or the study of history in Tennessee. Since 1975, THC’s Certificate of Merit Program has solicited Merit Award nominations from the public. All nominations are judged by category.

The Historic Preservation category recognizes excellence in the preservation, restoration, or rehabilitation of a historic or archaeological site, preservation leadership, preservation planning, publications related to historic preservation, public programming, or research.

2021 awards in this category go to:


Kemmons Wilson Companies, Bologna Consultants, Bounds and Gillespie Architects, and LRK Architects in Memphis, for using Historic Tax Credits to rehabilitate a 1914 railroad station with appropriately designed restaurant and gathering spaces.



Dunbar Rosenwald School Foundation in Loudon, for using a Historic Preservation Fund grant to restore the roof and siding on a 1923 African American school building. 



John H. Allen Company in Jackson, for rehabilitation of the neon-lit landmark Art Moderne Greyhound Bus Station using Historic Tax Credits. 



Timothy Henson in Adams, for the preservation publication, the Adams Enterprise, which has documented local history for a quarter-century. 



Camille Westmont, Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the University of the South in Sewanee, for archaeological research conducted at Grundy Lakes coke ovens in South Cumberland State Park and the site of the Lone Rock Stockade, where Lone Rock prisoners burned coal in the ovens to produce coke used in ironmaking. 



Sam Hall in Chattanooga, for the digital preservation publication,, which provides access to rarely accessible historic resources. The image above was photographed by William H. Stokes (1867-1922) and digitally donated to by Connie Cooper Jones.



Claiborne County Historical Society in Tazewell, for completing a multi-phased restoration of the 1819 Old Jail with a Historic Preservation Fund grant. 




Perry County in Perry County, for using a Historic Preservation Fund grant to clear invasive trees, vines, and lichen that threatened the structural integrity of the limestone battered walls that comprise the Historic Cedar Grove Furnace and Spring House. 



Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park in Elizabethton, for the historic paint finishes study, funded by a Historic Preservation Fund grant, that confirmed much of the Carter Mansion’s exposed interior surfaces are rare and irreplaceable original 18th century finishes.



Walk-Off Properties, LLC and LRK Architects in Memphis for the rehabilitation of the 100,000 square foot 1924 Medical Arts Building, now known as The Commonwealth, for use as retail space with apartment and office spaces above, using Historic Tax Credits. 



Friends of South Cumberland State Park near Tracy City, for creating a new interpretive area that tells the story of the village that housed nearly 200 members of the Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1475 at Grundy Forest. 



The Commissioners’ Special Commendation category recognizes achievements that relate to the promotion of historic preservation or history, but do not satisfy all the criteria for a Historic Preservation Award or a Book or Public Programming Award. 

2021 awards in this category go to:


Ann Toplovich in Nashville, for her role in preserving Tennessee history and service as Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Society from 1990 to 2020. 



Steven Smith in Soddy-Daisy, for authoring four books, establishing the Soddy, Daisy, and Montlake Historical Society and the Good Old Days Museum, and for his leadership in the annual Pioneers Day event at the reconstructed Poe’s Tavern.


Taylor Weiss THC Award Pic

Taylor Weiss in Dickson, for making the Governor Clement Centennial Birthday Celebration a public and financial success during the pandemic. 



The Mel Malone Family Historical Foundation in Cemetery, for their effort to preserve and restore the Cemetery Community, which includes the original Cemetery Elementary School and Malone Homestead.


The Book or Public Programming category recognizes notable achievements toward advancing the study of Tennessee history through certain types of books or public programming. 


The sole award recipient in this category is the Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park in Pall Mall, for restoring the York farm and creating “Living History” public programming that interprets the roles of agriculture, industry, isolation, and poverty on the residents of the Wolf River Valley. 


To learn more about the high level of achievement recognized by THC’s Merit Award program or download an application and submit a nomination for the 2022 competition, go to