CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A pre-Civil War house, a 100-year-old mule path and a recycled department store were among the honorees Thursday at the annual "We Love Our Community" Awards.
About 200 people crammed into Daniel Boone Room at 405 Capitol St. to see the Charleston Area Alliance recognize a dozen individuals, groups and projects during a 90-minute ceremony and reception.
For the awards this year, area musician Ron Sowell composed an original song, aptly named "We Love Our Community." Sowell and Julie Adams traded off singing brief verses dedicated to each winner, with the Appalachian Children's Chorus chiming in on the chorus.
The West Virginia Humanities Council won the Outstanding Preservation Award, for its efforts in preserving the MacFarland-Hubbard House on Kanawha Boulevard.
"The best way to preserve a historic property is keep it in daily, productive use," council director Ken Sullivan said in a prepared statement, "and that is certainly the case with the MacFarland-Hubbard House. This property works hard every day as state headquarters for the Humanities Council."
Norris Whitteker built the house in 1836 on property he bought from Isaac Noyes, Sullivan said. It's last resident, Elizabeth Hubbard, left the property to First Presbyterian Church when she died in 1997. The council bought it a year later and moved in after extensive renovations in 2000.
BrickStreet Insurance won the Best Re-development Award, for giving an existing structure new life through redesign and refurbishment. BrickStreet spent at least $10 million to gut and rehab the former Montgomery Ward store space at Charleston Town Center, which it bought in 2006. The department store closed in 2001.
The city of Charleston and Friends of the Carriage Trail won the Jeff Miller Sustainable Development Award, for their work in maintaining and improving what used to be called the Sunrise Carriage trail.
The city acquired the trail and the dozen or so surrounding acres in 2003 after a law firm bought the Sunrise mansion at the top of the hill for its offices. Former Gov. William A. MacCorkle built the trail as a means to help mules haul stone and other materials to his house, Sunrise.
Other honorees were:
Taylor Books owner Ann Saville -- the Kanawha Heritage Award for a business or organization that keeps the heritage of the valley alive.
Appalachian Power Park and the city of Charleston -- the Best Development Award, for reusing a former building or site for a new, sustainable use.