Official website for the City of Aurora, Illinois. Mayor Robert J. O'Connor

The 2009 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Historic Preservation

163 S. Fourth St. - before 163 S. Fourth St. - after

163 S. Fourth St. - Marcellina and Dan Stuart

When Marcellina and Dan Stuart bought their home at 163 S. Fourth Street they saw past the gray asphalt shingles that covered it top to bottom and the bizarre orange and purple paint that once made their home look more like a haunted house than an elegant Queen Ann. The Stuarts were able to see the potential they lay beneath all of these inappropriate alterations. They removed the asphalt shingles, repaired the original wood siding, restored windows, installed new storm windows, repaired a water damaged porch ceiling, and painted their home in a gorgeous historic color scheme which highlights the lovely Queen Ann details. Today the home is completely transformed.

540 Garfield - before 540 Garfield - after

540 Garfield - Lindsey and Steve Donley

Steve and Lindsey Donley’s home was built and possibly designed by Perkins Richardson, who also designed the original city hall. Mr. Richardson’s quaint pre-Civil War era home was also recently restored and it is among the other award recipients tonight. This home was painted in a historic color scheme which highlights the historic details. The entire cornice was once painted white, and the new paint scheme highlights the brackets and Italianate detailing. The front porch was a picture perfect restoration. A historic photograph showed the original front porch with the original porch components which had been stashed away in the carriage house by a previous owner.

503 W. Downer Place - before 503 W. Downer Place - after

503 W. Downer Place - John and Nancy O’Neil

This beautifully maintained Queen Anne style home sits in the Near Westside National Register Historic District. Homeowners John and Nancy O’Neil have enhanced the home’s beauty with their most recent project. Repainting this home in this color scheme has drawn attention to the home’s historic details and charm. Unique patterned shingles in the front gable and the modillions in the home’s cornice were once lost in solid gray. This paint job highlights everything people love about historic homes great details and craftsmanship.

830 Charles St. - before 830 Charles St. - after

830 Charles St. - Mary and Kathy Dahl

The before and after photos do not do justice to all of the hard work that has gone into this property. Shingles on the side and rear of the home had deteriorated beyond repair and needed replacement. The historic shingles on the front of the home were still in excellent shape. So the homeowners worked to find shingles that matched the historic to replace the deteriorated ones. The replacement shingles blend seamlessly making it nearly impossible to tell the new from the historic. Mary Dahl with the help of her daughter Kathy is now exploring the option of restoring the original rear porch detailing. This is also the only individually landmarked Sears Home. This home was built using the Sears Barrington Plan, and it still looks just as pretty as the catalog picture.

461 West Park Ave. - before 461 West Park Ave. - after

461 West Park Ave. - Fabiola Montano

This home was built by carpenter and architect Perkins Richardson, the architect of the original city hall and 540 Garfield Avenue. This pre-Civil War era home had fallen into a state of disrepair and it has been brought back by owner Fabiola Montano. Situated right at the northwest entrance to the Tanner Historic District this home is a gateway into the neighborhood and stands as a testament to all that restoration makes possible. Three layers of non-original siding were removed from the home. Original wood siding was repaired and painted in a historic color scheme. The original window fenestration was restored. Repairs were made to the front and side porches, and a new roof was added. The garage, although not historic, was also repaired. There was once a large hole in the side of the garage and the garage door was damaged. New siding was installed on the garage as well as a new garage door, along with countless other interior improvements. The homeowner has also done an excellent job adding those finishing touches that really make a home sparkle. She has installed new landscaping, added new exterior lighting, and repaired and painted her picket fence.

463 Oak Ave. - before 463 Oak Ave. - after

463 Oak Ave. - Michelle and Todd Reaska

Michelle and Todd Reaska found a gem. They began their project with the intent of removing some damaged aluminum soffits. In the process of removing the non-original aluminum soffits and restoring the original wood soffits they uncovered half- timbering and stucco detailing in the front gable of their front porch. The styling of these details was typical of local architect Eugene Malmer who designed many of Aurora’s most notable structures, including several downtown buildings and many of Aurora’s Prairie style homes. The original stucco was repaired and painted to in a color that contrasted the white trim highlighting the detailing.

377-379 W. New York St. - before 377-379 W. New York St. - after

377-379 W. New York St. - JAC Ventures

Too often when homes are bought as an investment only the bare minimum is invested in the home’s maintenance, and little to no money is invested in improving the home’s curb appeal. The investors with JAC Ventures have held themselves to a much higher standard than the typical investor. The exterior of this home was completely restored, non-original fiber cement siding was removed and replaced with wood clapboards and painted in a historic color scheme, original trim features were restored, windows were repaired, new storms and screens were installed, new landscaping was installed, new period front doors, storm doors, exterior lighting, and landscaping. This long list of improvements has resulted in a complete transformation of this home, and a tremendous improvement to the streetscape.

169 S. Lincoln Ave. - before 169 S. Lincoln Ave. - after

169 S. Lincoln Ave. - Mary Ann Cummings

The carriage house on this property was severely deteriorated, and seemed ready to cave in at any moment. But the determination of owner Mary Anne Cummings saved this unique building from obsolescence. The first task was to raise the carriage house and construct a full foundation for stabilization. Patterned concrete forms were used to mimic a period stone foundation. The sagging roof was then repaired, new shingles installed, and the building painted to coordinate with the color of the main house. Originally used to store a horse and carriage with a hayloft, the building now serves as a beautiful two car garage with finished storage space.

516 E. Galena Blvd. - before 516 E. Galena Blvd. - after

516 E. Galena Blvd. - Simon and Maria Munoz

This stunning Queen Anne style house has been brought back from near ruin to the most beautiful home in the neighborhood. Previously it was overrun by cats, had structural problems, porch deterioration and fire damage. The current owners, Simon and Maria Munoz, purchased the property and restored it completely to its original grandeur both inside and out. It is painted in a three color period paint scheme that highlights the decorative features of the house. They applied for historic designation, and the house was annexed the house into the Near Eastside Historic district. This will assure that their hard work will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Kicking off Aurora's 2009 National Preservation Month activities was the 30th Annual Mayor’s Awards celebration for excellence in historic preservation.

This year, nine property owners were recognized for the excellent restoration work that they completed in Aurora. The nine preservation restoration award projects are shown in the interactive slideshow above.