2014 David Gebhard Award for best book and article on Minnesota’s built environment

The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (MNSAH) announced winners of the tenth biennial David Stanley Gebhard Award, for best book and article on historical aspects of Minnesota’s built environment, at its annual meeting at the Minnesota Humanities Center in St. Paul March 19, 2014.

The winning book is St. Paul Union Depot, by John W. Diers, published in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press. Diers worked in management in the transit industry for thirty-five years, including twenty-five years at the Twin Cities Metropolitan Transit Commission and is now a now a consultant on transit operations and writer and researcher on transportation history. Judges cited the book as “More than a book for train buffs—the author’s sense of passion comes through. It’s a solid combination of reference book and a good read, with excellent illustrations. It’s not just about the depot building, it’s about the whole cultural context of the depot and the people who worked there and used it.”

The winning article is “Downsizing the Public Realm: Building and Razing Winona’s Grand Post Office,” by Greg Gaut and Marsha Neff, Minnesota History Quarterly, Volume 63, Issue 6, Spring 2013. Gaut and Neff write about history from their home in Winona. The judges said the Winona post office story was an important story that should be recounted. Readers learn about the social, political, and functional assumption behind the decision to raze the post office.

The award period was for works published July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013. Judges were Jo Davison, senior vice president–creative, Larsen Design; Will Stark, historic preservation consultant, Stark Preservation Planning LLC; and Robert Ferguson, Ph.D., architectural historian and past MNSAH board member.

The Gebhard Award honors David Gebhard, the late Minnesota-born Society of Architectural Historians president and nationally renowned writer.

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