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2023 Oil Region National Heritage Area Historic Preservation Award Winners

The following are the winners of the annual Oil Region National Heritage Area Historic Preservation Awards for 2023. The celebration and awards presentations will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at the Christ Episcopal Church, 16 Central Ave. in Oil City. If you plan on attending and RSVP is requested. Please email your RSVP to:

· Vintage Wings, Inc. for the Reconstruction of the Beach City Baby

The 1941 DC-3 was used in military service during WWII then as the official transport of the governor of Ohio. Abandoned since 1983, Vintage Wings President and Founder Jason Capra discovered the plane in Beach City, Ohio and set out to restore it. With the help of volunteers, donors, and a few corporate sponsors, the plane was restored in just more than three years. In 2022, the Beach City Baby visited several airshows with a mission of educating the public via living history re-enactments.

· Carole Hall for Preservation Education/Initiative: Carole Hall was nominated by the Titusville Historical Society for her commitment to the historic education of the region including work as the Education Coordinator at Drake Well Museum and Park where she began their Docent Program with Titusville schools, developed History Camps for kids and adults, and planned the March Lecture Series. She has portrayed Ida Tarbell on numerous occasions and initiated and continues to be active in awarding the Ida Tarbell Award given to a graduating Titusville High School girl. She is an energetic, optimistic, and encouraging volunteer who exemplifies dedication to education, civic duty, and investment in future generations through her work with the Titusville Historical Society, the Oil Region Alliance, Drake Well, and other organizations and efforts.

· Deep Harbour Properties for the Enhancement of the Lamberton Building in Franklin

Deep Harbour Properties repaired and painted the main entrance to the Lamberton Building that faces 13th Street in Franklin with a nod to the style of the past.

· PennDOT and PA DCNR for the Messerall Bridge in the Structure Category

Titusville Renaissance, Inc. nominated the Messerall Bridge for a Historic Preservation Award because PennDOT and DCNR moved the long-abandoned bridge from Oil Creek Township, Crawford County, rehabilitated it using about 75% of the original materials, and relocated it to Pymatuning State Park in Western Crawford County to close a trail gap.

· Gregory Rock & Aimé Sposato Rock for the Reconstruction of the Rocsato Conservatory of Music at Hillhurst in Titusville. Titusville Renaissance, Inc. nominated the Reconstruction of the Rocsato Conservatory of Music, which included repairs to the roof and windows, cosmetic changes to floors and wall coverings, and adapting the first floor to create teaching and performance spaces as well as the residential space above.

· Chris and Jenn Morrison for their Enhancement of the Former Salvation Army Building in Franklin. Franklin Preservation nominated the Enhancement of the Former Salvation Army Building in Franklin. Owners Chris and Jenn Morrison had the masonry cleaned and repointed, replaced the roof, rebuilt the garage, and added awnings to the building where they have relocated their business Vino and Vibes in the building.

· Reconstruction of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Oil City.

Nominated by parishioner Debbie Sobina, the Reconstruction of St. Joseph’s Church is recognized for work completed between January and October 2022 that included heating and cooling updates, new light fixtures, new marble flooring, new wainscotting, and repair of columns, stained glass windows, and pews. Eight medallion murals were fabricated, hand-painted, and installed on the transept to recapture the original design in the sanctuary.

· Robert Billingsley and Carolee Michener for Historic Appreciation of the World War I Memorial in Franklin.

Nominated by the Venango County Historical Society, the World War I Memorial outside the Venango County Courthouse is recognized for Historic Appreciation. The project was led by Robert Billingsley and the late Carolee Michener who researched newspapers, enlistment and medical records, public input to compile the names that Franklin Granite and several contractors would engrave on this monument. The two walls create a trench symbolic of those dug by soldiers on the frontline during the war. The monument was dedicated Veteran’s Day 2018.

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