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Historic Annapolis recognizes local preservationists at annual awards ceremony


Source: Capital Gazette, Brooks DuBose

When Mike Halbig and Jan Thorman bought their house at 32 Maryland Ave. in July 1979, they planned to raise a family and live a life typical of any Annapolitan.

More than 40 years later, Halbig and Thorman are being recognized for their efforts to preserve their historic home which dates back to the late 19th century at Historic Annapolis’ Preservation Awards Tuesday night at the Annapolis Westin Hotel.

The other awardees included PreserveCast, a podcast about preservation, the Naval Academy for the restoration of its Gate 3 guardhouses, Michael Justin Dowling, an architect and urban designer for nearly 40 years, and Rodney Little for his lifetime achievement in preservation.

Halbig said he and Thorman were “pleased and thrilled and surprised” by the award. Their home was built in 1879 by former Annapolis Mayor John Thomas.

Over the years, Halbig and Thorman have made significant restorations to the house, which include fixing the windows, front doors and chimney and replacing the roof, among other items.

“I guess we’ve been working on the house for such a long time … It needed to be done so we did it,” Thorman said. “It wasn’t that we felt we were going to be recognized for it.”

The PreserveCast podcast has over 100 episodes on subjects such as drone photography and GIS mapping. Preservation Maryland’s Executive Director Nick Redding hosts the podcast. He accepted the award with Meagan Baco Preservation Maryland’s communications director and recording producer Ben Giroux.

Beginning in 2016, the Naval Academy’s facilities division restored its Gate 3 guardhouses and this year built 1845 Coffee Shop in one of the buildings. Deputy Director of Business Services Division Phil Allison and Capt. Homer Denius, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity Annapolis accepted their award.

Dowling was recognized for his efforts in helping historic property owners in Annapolis restore their buildings. Little received his award for four decades of work as a Maryland State Historic Preservation officer. He also aided the city’s Urban Land Institute panel in 2018 and served on the City Dock Action Committee among other contributions.