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William R. Huston House, Exterior Material Conservation & Restoration Award, 309 Benefit Street

Since it was built in 1867, the William R. Huston House at 309 Benefit Street has gone through several transformations. The elaborate, 2 ½ story, Second Empire house was converted into a funeral home with a third floor apartment in 1914. An elevator was introduced in 1941 and in the 1950s a 4-car garage was built underground on the house’s north side. In the mid-1990s, the house was converted into to a 2-family residence with minimal interior renovations. In 2006, new owners commissioned Modern Industries and Conerlis J. De Boer of Hayne/De Boer Associates to execute a detailed restoration of the exterior and completely reconfigure the interior.

The exterior work included restoring the brick and stone masonry, ornate front portico, original walnut entry doors, original windows, cast iron fence, and stone retaining wall. Careful attention was paid to repairing and reconstructing original exterior building fabric and historic materials while returning the structure to its documented historic form and appearance. The long-awaited completion of this project has not only restored the exterior of this individual house but also contributed materially to the parade of majestic intact and restored facades along the Benefit Street streetscape.