Preservationists’ Achievements Honored at Long Beach Heritage 2015 Awards Benefit

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Jenny Reeve-Townsend home

Jenny Reeve-Townsend home

Please join Long Beach Heritage as it celebrates the 2015 Award winners for excellence in the Preservation and Restoration of several of the city’s most notable buildings, as well as the friends of preservation whose efforts are instrumental in maintaining the city’s heritage. The Gala will take place, Thursday, February 26th at 5:30 p.m., in the Grand Salon on the historic Queen Mary, a landmark Art Moderne ocean liner.

A silent auction of antique objects d’ art, vacation getaways, restaurant certificates, theater performances and much more will occur during the social hour prior to dinner. Come early to bid on your favorite items and enjoy time with friends at the no host bar. The auction is the primary fund-raiser for Long Beach Heritage in support of its preservation activities.

Guests will also enjoy a delicious sit down dinner at the salon’s beautifully decorated tables in the ambience and elegance of the Art Deco era.


Preservationist of the Year:
Karen Highberger for her many years of dedication to historic preservation in Long Beach. Karen was instrumental to the revival of Cal Heights and the Atlantic Avenue corridor. This included letter writing campaigns to entice new area businesses, holiday decoration contests, and organizing the California Heights Home tour in conjunction with Long Beach Heritage. For the last twelve years, she has overseen the Cal Heights award winning project to restore original streetlights to the neighborhood. There are now 284 lampposts. Since 2004, she has been an invaluable member of the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Commission and was elected chair in 2010. During her tenure, she was responsible for the approval of many important projects including the Historical Preservation Element and the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance. Continuing as a member, she promoted the reinstatement of the Mills Act and the City Landmark program. Karen is also an active member of the Long Beach Heritage Advocacy committee in her role as Historic District and Cultural Heritage Commission liaison. She has been the motivating force behind the recent city-wide Historic District meetings. She further demonstrates her dedication to preservation in her business, Karen Highberger Design and Omnicrafts, Inc which specializes in home renovation.

Preservation Award:
Rancho Los Alamitos for the refurbished girls’ bedroom and back hallway of the historic ranch house built in 1834 by Juan Jose Nieto. The room and hallway are located where visitors first enter the home and provide the ambience essential to the historic atmosphere of the house,

Preservation Award:
Leslie and Randy Arrington for their renovation of a 1923 six unit Spanish Revival court, retaining its rich history and charm. All interior details have been meticulously restored and period appropriate hardware added.

Preservation Award
Marsha Naify for the restoration of her Streamline Moderne 1938 apartment house in the Bluff Park Historic District. Following years of updates which eliminated many of the original features and changed the exterior’s façade, the building went into decline. The façade has been restored to its original appearance and the interior structure now features doors, floors, moldings, and fixtures characteristic of the 1930s.

Preservation/ Restoration Award:
Ted Wells for the restoration of the California Craftsman Jenny Reeve-Townsend home designed by notable architects Greene and Greene in 1904. Multiple prior owners had twice moved the house and removed many of the original elements and furniture. He and his team recreated and restored lost elements including interior doors, paneling, and light fixtures using the same materials the Greenes would have used 100 years ago. The grounds and garden have also been landscaped to recreate their original appearance.

Preservation/Rehabilitation Award:
Kurt Schneiter and Scott Hamilton for the Masonic Temple restoration. Designed by Henry Fletcher Starbuck in 1903, the building had Gothic and Panel Brick style elements characteristic of turn of the century architecture. Over the century many alterations and additions to the building occurred. Working with architect Jonathan Glasgow, project manager Jan Van Dijs and contractor Jason Stewart, they returned the building to its original form.

Preservation/ Rehabilitation Award:
Larry Black for the refurbishing of the Dolly Varden Hotel and sign. As legend has it, the hotel was built in 1929 by L.F. Dolly for Dolly Varden, a circus performer, who was to reside for years on the top floor. The neon sign advertising a bathroom in every room, a luxury at the time, was added in 1935. The building now serves as a European boutique style hotel.

Restoration/Rehabilitation Award
Michele and John Molina for the restoration to the Press Telegram building. The building, designed by W. Horace Austin in 1925 to house the merged Press and Daily Telegram newspapers, was eventually sold for development in 2005. After remaining empty for a number of years, it was purchased by the Molinas as office space. During construction, louvers and paint were removed revealing original marble floors, ceilings and fixtures. These were restored and a black border was recreated in the lobby, restoring the area to its natural elegance.

Interpretive Exhibit Award
The Paloma Avenue neighborhood in the Bluff Park Historic District. Most of the homes in the three block area were, built in the teens and nineteen twenties and many retain their original details. In honor of the neighborhoods 100th birthday, the homeowners researched their homes, prepared an illustrated pamphlet of the findings and held a celebration with former owners and tenants which included a home tour and a historical lecture by Maureen Neeley.

The 27th Annual Long Beach Heritage Preservation Awards, Gala and Fund-raiser is Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at The Grand Salon on the RMS Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach 90802.

Cost for the event is $ 120.00 per a person; $ 1,200.00 for tables of 10. Parking is hosted. (Please bring your parking ticket). To order tickets or obtain additional information, call 562-493-7019 or visit There is a link to PayPal whereby tickets can also be purchased

Long Beach Heritage is a non profit education and advocacy group promoting public knowledge and preservation of significant historic and architectural resources and the cultural heritage of Long Beach.

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