2023 Preservation Award | 1813 Main Street
Friday, May 12th 2023
WINNER | Preservation, Rehabilitation, or Restoration
(Commercial, Institutional, Rental, or Municipal)
The Klondike Building
1813 Main Street
Harris Cohn & Frank Cason — Property Owners
Cohn Corporation — Contractor
Davis Architecture — Architect
Rogers Lewis — Preservation Consultant
Standing within the Columbia Commercial Historic District, the Klondike Building was constructed in 1961 following a design by the notable architectural firm of Lafaye, Fair, Lafaye and Associates. The former office building’s design exemplified the tenets of Modernism. Functional in floorplan, minimal in ornamentation, and juxtaposing dark and light colors with a polished granite storefront and three-story white brick panel and vertical granite pilastered tower, the Klondike building became a hallmark of futuristic thinking on upper Main Street.
Despite the building’s notable design pedigree, when owners Harris Cohn and Frank Cason purchased the property in 2019, it differed drastically in appearance from its original aesthetic. The three-story masonry building had been covered in stucco and featured numerous punched window openings featuring six-over-six double hung windows. This 1983-era renovation prevented the building from being included in an expansion of the then-existing National Register district, prompting the business partners to carefully peel back layers and reveal the original white brick and green granite exterior beneath. After removing the stucco, the owners located original white brick on the site and in-filled the six windows on the upper levels of the façade, thus allowing the building to be included in the National Register of Historic Places and making it eligible for historic tax credits.
In realizing their goals, Cohn and Cason assembled Cohn Construction Services, Davis Architecture, and Rogers Lewis for preservation consultation to develop a full rehabilitation plan that would allow them to harness historic tax credits to return the façade to its original appearance while altering the interior to become upscale apartment units. Remnants of the green granite façade were used in sourcing replacement stone to recreate the original appearance. Historic photographs informed the replacement of existing openings along the north and south elevations with appropriate two-over-two double hung windows. A vertical ribbon window, visible in historic images, was also restored adjacent to the granite elevator tower on the façade, illuminating the stairwell inside. The original storefront design was restored to the first floor of the east façade. The interior, completely altered in the 1983 renovation, now features a central corridor flanked by apartments. While no extant historic materials remain, the interior reflects a minimalist aesthetic consistent with a Modern design. A rooftop addition with a courtyard was carefully designed to minimize its visibility and incorporate the existing elevator tower while providing an outdoor amenity for the tenants. The Klondike Building’s sensitive rehabilitation that simultaneously returned a 1961 Modern building to its original appearance while revitalizing a section of Main Street through the addition of twenty-eight apartments serves as a testament to the vision and capacity that Cason Development and the Cohn Corporation wield in creatively adapting historic buildings for a new use.
Preservation Award Plaque
While May is Preservation Month, Historic Columbia would like to encourage the community to recognize the significance of these award-winning projects all year. To that end, we have established a Preservation Plaque program. These plaques are designed for and available to past Preservation Award recipients.