The Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award is the highest honor given for the preservation, restoration or maintenance of landscapes, gardens, streetscapes, or grounds related to historic structures.
MACON COUNTY – Mainspring Conservation Trust (Franklin, NC) has been named the 2021 winner of the Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award presented annually by Preservation North Carolina. The award was presented to Mainspring Conservation Trust at Preservation North Carolina’s virtual Annual Conference on Friday, October 22nd. The recording of the awards ceremony can be viewed on their website.
The Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award is the highest honor given for the preservation, restoration or maintenance of landscapes, gardens, streetscapes, or grounds related to historic structures. This award recognizes the importance of the landscape in the preservation of historic structures. First presented in 1987, the award is made possible by the family of the late Minnette Chapman Duffy of New Bern, whose leadership contributed to the reconstruction of Tryon Palace.
When it comes to holistic restoration of historic architectural structures and the surrounding landscape, Mainspring Conservation Trust of Franklin represents the total package. Their grassroots approach to the restoration of historic landscapes and sensitive ecosystems showcases their mission to address the big picture.
In 1995, a group of visionaries began meeting informally in Franklin to discuss the rapid pace of development in Western North Carolina. Over coffee, they discussed the impact that growth could have on the mountains, streams and farmlands. By 1997, the nonprofit that is now Mainspring Conservation Trust was formed.
With a modest budget and a strategic plan that encouraged thoughtful conservation within positive economic development, the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee took off. The nonprofit originally focused on promoting conservation and stewardship of private lands, first in the upper Little Tennessee Watershed, then expanding into the Tuckasegee and Hiwassee watersheds. In 2016, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee changed its name to Mainspring Conservation Trust to reflect what the organization had grown to be: the motivating force for conservation, restoration and connection in the heart of the Southern Blue Ridge.
In 2013, Mainspring purchased the historic Vonnie West House and the old West’s Mill Post Office in the heart of the Cowee-West’s Mill Historic District, downhill from the Rickman General Store and historic Cowee School. Aunt Vonnie, as she was known, taught for 35 years in counties across the state, spending her lifetime strengthening communities. The house sold in 2015 through Preservation North Carolina to private buyers, who restored the property.
The preservation of a historic log cabin, the Morrison House represents another successful project and partnership with Preservation North Carolina. Built in 1832, it is the oldest standing structure in north Macon County. The soon-to-be preserved McCoy Cottage, situated along the banks of the Little Tennessee River, is one of the few remaining turn-of-the-century farmhouses still standing in the area.
Most recently, Mainspring and Preservation North Carolina partnered with the purpose to protect the historic character of the T.M. Rickman Store, located in the Cowee Community of Macon County. Built in 1895, this structure operated as a personal residence and general store from 1925-1992. The Cowee-West’s Mill Historic District was a diplomatic and commercial hub of the 18th -century Middle Town Cherokees. Preservation North Carolina is thrilled about their partnership with Mainspring on this property which will help to preserve Cowee’s community history.
An accredited land trust, Mainspring’s focus on collaboration and building partnerships, demonstrates their commitment to protecting North Carolina’s historic landscapes. Preservation North Carolina is thrilled to recognize Mainspring Conservation Trust’s influence on the protection of Western North Carolina’s historic landscapes with the Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award.
2021 Preservation North Carolina Honor Awards Winners:
Ruth Coltrane Cannon Award
Anne Faircloth, Clinton
Robert E. Stipe Professional Award
Jennifer Cathey, Asheville
Stedman Incentive Grant
The R.O.C.K. Foundation, Wilson
L. Vincent Lowe, Jr. Business Award
David Hoggard/Double Hung LLC, Greensboro
Minnette C. Duffy Landscape Preservation Award
Mainspring Conservation Trust, Franklin
Gertrude S. Carraway Awards of Merit
Allied DevCorps LLC for The Colonial Inn, Hillsborough
Gig East Exchange, Wilson
Michael D. Hill for Granite Mill, Haw River
Harry and Nancy Smith for the McNair-Kay House, Wilmington
Montfort Hall/Heights House Hotel, Raleigh
Alexander Company for Printworks Mill, Greensboro
James Goodnight for the Solomon Buildings, Wilmington
Sites of Memory: Documenting the Northeast Community in Wake Forest
Thornwell Properties for the Burke Garage Company Building, Morganton
David Maurer and Allison Gray for the Stine’s Ice Cream Parlor Building, Lenoir
Stuart Paynter for the Orpheum Theater, Oxford
Town of Warrenton for the Warrenton Town Hall Building
Founded in 1939, Preservation North Carolina (PNC) is North Carolina’s only private nonprofit statewide historic preservation organization. Its mission is to protect and promote buildings, landscapes and sites important to the diverse people of North Carolina. Through its award-winning Endangered Properties Program, Preservation North Carolina acquires endangered historic properties and then finds purchasers to rehabilitate them. PNC has protected more than 800 historic properties statewide.