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Restoration group honors longtime Franklin mason

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At 82 years old, one mason can still be found on the job site working on historic buildings in Franklin.

If a building is made of brick or block in downtown Franklin, Jim Drake of Drake Construction has probably had his hands on it at some point, Franklin Heritage executive director Rob Shilts said. It’s why the historic preservation organization chose to award him with a Lifetime Achievement for Meritorious Preservation award, which isn’t given out every year.


Drake Construction is working on several Franklin projects, including T-Shirt Express and the new Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks lodge in the former G.C. Murphy building. The company also has worked on the Artcraft Theatre, Franklin Window and Door, the building that houses CJ’s Consignments and the former Madison Hotel at 48 E. Madison St., as well as numerous buildings in other Johnson County communities, Shilts said.

“Any project where we have masonry, they’re involved,” Shilts said.

Franklin Heritage handed out nine other awards during National Preservation Week to honor local contractors and residents for their work in restoring and maintaining historic homes and buildings in the city.

“To do that every year for well over a decade, that means we’re very steadily improving this community,” Shilts said.

The other recipients include:

The Restorer of Old Franklin Award: DuKate Fine Remodeling

Best continued use of an existing historic structure: 100 S. Jackson St., Enoch-Reeves law firm

Kathleen Van Nuys historic farmstead award: 86 E. State Road 144, John and Sandy Ditmars

Little Charmer Award: 249 N. Home Ave., Mike and Mary Riley

Natural Beauty award: 245 E. Monroe St., Gabe and Ashley Huddleston

Best new construction in existing historic neighborhood: 250 W. Adams St., Habitat for Humanity

Best new addition to an existing historic structure: 291 E. Monroe St., Scott and Michelle Graham

Best adaptive reuse of an existing historic structure: 25 N. Main St., Geek in Pink Computer and Cell Phone Repair

Best renovation project of existing historic structure: 14 Martin Place, Doug and Amy Heavilin

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