Photo by Mike Lawrence
By RON JENKINS, Gleaner correspondent
Friday, January 26, 2007
A family that lives and works in downtown Henderson was honored Thursday as recipient of the Downtown Henderson Project’s “Heart of Henderson” award, marking the first time in in the award’s 13-year history that it has gone to a family.
Norris Priest, his wife Mary Elizabeth and their son Nibby were lauded by presenter Bill Rideout as a family involved in a wide range of “in-depth opportunities” that promote Henderson and its downtown.
The Priest family owns the Vaughn Insurance Agency at 315 N. Main St. and the L&N Bed and Breakfast at 327 N. Main as well as downtown rental property.
“We always like to say we’ve come a long way,” Mrs. Priest said, smiling. “Our first home was across the street from where we are now.” In a more serious vein, Mrs. Priest told the audience, “You don’t know what a delight it has been” to manage the bed and breakfast, which has attracted visitors to Henderson from afar.
Rideout described the bed and breakfast as “a great public relations vehicle” for Henderson and outlined several civic endeavors by the family, including Nibby Priest’s organizational efforts for the Pickin’ n Pedalin’ biking event related to Bluegrass in the Park, Mrs. Priest’s volunteer role as a swimming instructor for young schoolchildren and Norris Priest’s entertainment contribution as an amateur magician.
“This is a great community to be from,” Norris Priest said. “It’s really been good to us. We love you and may God bless you in a special way.”
The other key awards presented by DHP Executive Director Julie Martin at Thursday’s breakfast event in the Wolf’s Convention Center:
– The Commercial Design Award to Park Machine & Supply Co. at 426 First St., and The Pear Tree at 324 N. Elm St. Jewell Coursey, son Marty Coursey and Marty’s cousin Bob Lilly accepted the award for Park Machine & Supply, a third generation family operation that was praised for their “significant interior and exterior renovations” at the business that traces its origins to 1938 as part of the old Delker Bros. Furniture complex.
Marty Coursey, who related that a grandfather he never knew came from Detroit and opened the Park Machine business in 1938, said the owners invested in a renovation that took the building the “back to where it was in the 1940s.”
Brenda Spencer and husband Ron, owners of The Pear Tree, which opened originally on the ground floor of the old Soaper Hotel, were honored for their “beautiful new building” at 324 N. Elm. Ms. Spencer credited her “sidekick” for his support and he in turn expressed his gratitude to “a lot of support from the citizens.”
– The Residential Preservation Award went to Ron and Connie Bosler for major renovations to the home at 638 N. Main Street dating to 1871 that once was sold for $4,500 at the courthouse in 1898.
Martin noted that the Boslers purchased the house without every seeing the interior.
Connie Bosler said the house represents “one of the greatest choices” that she and her husband have made in several business ventures. Her husband undertook many of the improvements in the former residence of Dr. Julian Cole and his family, she said.