Lincoln University hit the nail on the head with the restoration of the President's House and was awarded the first Golden Hammer Award of 2022.
The Golden Hammer Award was presented to Lincoln University on May 17. This is the second time it has received this award for the restoration of the President's House.
"I'm very proud," said Jeff Turner, director of facilities and planning at Lincoln University.
Presented by the Historic City of Jefferson, Golden Hammer Awards are given to individuals in Jefferson City who have restored historic buildings, showing they are committed to preserving the history and life of these structures in town.
Lincoln University first won the award in 2017, but nearly two years later the house was directly hit by an EF-3 tornado. The university again committed time and effort to restore the historic home.
The four-bedroom, six-bathroom, French-style home's exterior is made of limestone that was mined in Carthage. The main level has two half-baths, a living room, a stunning white kitchen and a dining room. The second floor has three bedrooms -- including the main suite -- and two bathrooms. The top floor has one bedroom and one bathroom, and the basement has one bathroom and another family space.
There are many unique features of the house that makes it stand out. The green slate on the outside of the house came from a mine in New Hampshire, and the copper that is a part of the lintels around the windows had to be special-ordered. The windows and the doors also had to be custom-built, as they are all different sizes and shapes.
During the renovation, two fireplaces and a window that had previously been covered up were found.
"That was really surprising and disappointing all at once," Turner said. "It added to a beautiful design that was being covered up from the original concept."
Now, the main suite has a remarkable white marble fireplace and a sitting area that used to be occupied by a very large walk-in closet.
"For a master suite, I don't think anybody would complain," Turner said. "It's very nice."
The second fireplace was discovered in what Turner calls the den -- a smaller, single-level room off the house that was used as a family room. Integrating the fireplace back into the area gives the space a cozier feel.
"Adding those two (fireplaces) back into the three felt like it brought the house back to where it had some of its original intent," Turner said.
During demolition, Turner received a call from those working on the house saying, "You've got to come see this."
When he arrived, he saw a beautiful arched window facing the back of the house that wasn't there before. It was found while tearing the plaster walls down to fix studs in the wall.
"We were surprised," Turner admitted.
Several dozen people were involved in the construction of the house, Turner said.
"We had contractors on every trade involved, including electrical, mechanical, plumbing, data and cabling, flooring, drywall demolition, stonemasons."
They also had help from experts with landscaping, drainage and irrigation systems.
"It was dozens of contractors," he said.
The renovation took two years to complete, but Turner said normally a project like this would not take that long.
"We did this during COVID, so we had shortages of materials, and then the customization and the specialization of the materials we had to order made it even more complicated," he said.
For the past several months, the building has been used for entertainment and events for the university, but it will soon transition back to its original intent: a private residence for Lincoln's president.
"I've very proud of the project," Turner said. "I'm very proud of having the opportunity to reset this historic facility, and hopefully it'll be here for another 100-plus years."