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City Looking for Historic Preservation Award Nominees

The City of St. Joseph is recognizing homeowners who have renovated, prepared and preserved homes in the city.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The Shakespeare Chateau has its own personality.

"She's an amazing part of history," said Christina Cassidy, who has put in hundreds of hours of work on renovations to the building.

"She is a grand old dame and I've always felt, since we got here, that she's glad we're here," she said.

The Shakespeare Chateau Bed & Breakfast on Hall Street was built in 1885. As the years passed, it fell into disrepair before being bought by Isobel McGowan almost two years ago.

"It was listed as a distressed property, a lot of water damage throughout," McGowan said.

It has been a labor of love, sweat and tears and about $400,000 in renovation costs that has brought the home back to life.

"To bring it back from that state to something that is welcoming and the public can come into and appreciate, that's really where my passion is," McGowan said.

McGowan has turned the Shakespeare Chateau into a bed and breakfast.

"I enjoy doing the projects here because when you're done there's such a difference," Cassidy said. "These doors were white. Now they're beautiful."

Cassidy has worked on the home since McGowan took ownership.

Some of the before and after visuals are dramatic. It's this kind of renovation work that is being appreciated and recognized by the City of St. Joseph. They are looking for nominations for the 2014 Historic Preservation Awards.

"The city has a vast wealth of historic architecture," said Stephen Hofferber, Associate Director for Inspections and Code Enforcement for the city. "There's a lot of historic tourism the city could be taking advantage of."

"Just like the 'if these walls could talk', our houses tell us a lot," said local preservationist Lisa Rock.

"Every single one of those buildings is an opportunity," said McGowan. "It's an opportunity for a young person or young couple to own a piece of history."

McGowan is especially proud of her kitchen.

"It's a wow kind of building," she said. "Sometimes I have to pinch myself to be convinced that yes, I'm living here in this fantastic place."

There's more work to do. McGowan wants to renovate the third floor of the Shakespeare Chateau and turn it into a ballroom, so she can host larger events.

"I can't express how proud I am to be a part of this project," said Cassidy.

Nominations for the Historic Preservation Awards will be accepted until April 11. For more information, contact (816) 271-4797.
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