ROCKLAND — The Delaware Preservation Fund announces 24 grant awards totaling $140,000 for sites in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties.
Funded projects for 2023 included 15 historic houses, four church buildings, three commercial structures, a historic school, and a lighthouse.
Several of the properties that received grants are museums owned by non-profit organizations and open to visitors.
A few of the notable projects to receive funding this year were the Harbor of Refuge Breakwater Lighthouse near Lewes, Barratt’s Chapel in Frederica, the Dairy Palace ice cream stand in New Castle, and the Parson Thorne Mansion in Milford.
Jeremy Rothwell, the president of the Fund’s Board of Directors, said the organization was able to make a larger impact this year due to a contribution of $100,000 from the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
Mr. Rothwell said, “Every year, we have to turn down strong applications for historic places that are deserving of support, but for which there is not enough funding. But this year, thanks to the DHCA’s support, we didn’t have to turn down very many.”
The Fund received 30 qualified applications for the 2023 grant program, the majority of which were selected for funding.
One of the managers of the program, Michael Emmons, Jr., of the Center for Historic Architecture and Design at the University of Delaware, said even small grants like those issued by the Delaware Preservation Fund can make a large and timely impact.
One of the projects funded this year was a roof replacement for the Buttonwood Mansion in New Castle, which was experiencing active water infiltration.
“The mansion was seriously threatened,” said Mr. Emmons, “but the grant allowed the owners to replace the roof immediately and bought it some critical time for full preservation work to be planned and executed.”
While the Delaware Preservation Fund has historically supported physical, bricks-and-mortar type projects, such as new roofs, porch restorations, and masonry repairs, it has also recently begun considering applications for preservation planning projects.
Cate Morrissey, also of the Center for Historic Architecture and Design, said this is an important new category of work for the Fund.
“Often times, an engineering assessment or a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places is a crucial first step toward saving a historic building,” said Ms. Morrissey.
The Fund also announced it is now accepting applications for its 2024 grant cycle, with a submission deadline of Feb. 9, 2024.
More information is available at preservationde.org/preservation-fund.